Meet Bette Mizer, our 94-year-old museum volunteer. But don't let her age fool you. Between her passion for sports, notorious jokes and her animated personality, Bette proves to be one-of-a-kind.
Name: Bette (pronounced Betty) Mizer
I was born near Steubenville, Ohio in a town called Bergholz, but have lived in Perry Heights, Ohio for 63 years so I'll call that my hometown.
Favorite NFL Team: Cleveland Browns
Favorite Current Player: Joshua Cribbs
Favorite Enshrinee: Dan Dierdorf (Class of 1996), even though he went to Michigan. I like him because he is a local boy, a graduate of Glenwood High School, who made good. He only lived one mile from the Pro Football Hall of Fame and while the Hall of Fame was being built, he came every day to watch the construction of the building with his father. He is very humble with his actions and is always pleased to sign autographs. He's just a regular guy.
Why did you decide to volunteer at the Hall of Fame?
I just have a passion for sports and football seemed to top the list. I had the time and the Hall of Fame was available. Back in 1923, when I was about eight-years-old, my grandpa took my brother and me to Old League Park in Cleveland to see my first pro sporting event. From that day on, I developed a passion for sports. The fact was just amazing because girls didn't do those types of things back then. (Editor's note: Bette was also a guard on her high school girls' basketball team).
How long have you been volunteering? Since June, 2008.
Your favorite artifact on display: The nine legendary Hall of Famers in the bench scene inside the Moments, Memories & Mementos Gallery. All of those men are super heroes of the NFL and have a reason for being in the HOF.
Your favorite memory of an NFL game:
It has to be the Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Colts in the championship game in Dec. 1964. The Browns won, 27-0, and it was the last championship game the Browns won. That team was great with Jim Brown
and Lou Groza
! It's the most memorable one for me, because it is the Browns' last championship. But, I hope to see another one (laughed)!
The most distant traveler you've greeted: It was a man from Japan last summer. Fawcett Stadium hosted the IFAF Jr. World Championship of American Football, and Japan just played USA. This father was a very, very happy dad and I had a terrible time trying to calm him down because of his excitement. His enthusiasm was so cute.
Most unusual question you've been asked by a guest? I want to know what that tube-like structure is at the top of the roof.
Most famous person you've met: Every person who enters the Hall of Fame is famous to me, because they're honored guests. They are the advocates of this prestigious establishment and truly love the game of football.
Most memorable moment as a volunteer:
A father and son came from Cape Canaveral, FL, and they were very excited and enthusiastic about visiting the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Jason, the young boy, was full of questions and was very bright. He was hanging on me throughout the entire tour. These two proved to be the most extraordinary twosome that I've ever had the privilege of guiding through the museum. After they visited, I found out Jim (dad) sent a letter of recommendation to the Hall of Fame because of my service. It was so complimentary that it brought tears to my eyes. It was such a humbling experience.
Bette's 15 minutes of fame: It was a Thursday in September 2008 when Joe Biden came to Canton to campaign. I was a greeter that day and knew I might see him. I looked up and saw all these people upstairs. The next thing I knew, Mr. Biden was walking down the rotunda towards me. He came up to me, gave me a big hug and asked how I was doing. He said, "my mother's 91 and she's feisty, are you?" I was in shock; I didn't know what to say. Then I told him ever since I was 21, I have never missed voting. He looked at me, got down on his hands and knees and kissed my hand. There were all sorts of media, like CNN, that captured that moment. Mr. Biden came to see a specific artifact—Tom Dempsey's kicking shoe. They were good friends.
Favorite joke to tell guests: Two silks worms were in a race and ended up in a tie.
Favorite summertime treat: Strawberry soda
Favorite musical artist: Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Reba McEntire, and the Canton Symphony Orchestra.
Did you know? At age 74 I went back to college. I attended Malone College for journalism and communications. I even took a sports writing class.
More about Bette: I write for the Perryite and am president of Perry Township's Senior Citizens. I keep busy by coordinating Bingo and luncheon events.
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