Bettye Anhaiser of Sugar Land will receive Fort Bend County’s 2012 Heritage Award for career achievements in local historical and cultural preservation.
The prestigious award, given annually by the Fort Bend County Historical Commission, will be presented to Anhaiser by County Judge Bob Hebert during a reception at Safari Texas Ranch in Richmond on Thursday, March 1. Festivities will begin at 7 p.m.
The award is granted annually to an individual or organization that has done outstanding work in historical and/or cultural preservation within the county. The 2011 recipients were Jack and Billie Wendt of Richmond.
Bettye was first appointed to the Commission in 1973 and has remained an active member except for the years she lived in Hawaii. She served as commission chair from 1977-1991 and currently chairs its Markers committee. She is also a trustee on the Friends of the Fort Bend County Historical Commission board.
Bettye researched and authored papers which produced key historical markers for the 1897 county jail and the 1909 county courthouse, the latter listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1980. She is recognized statewide both for her work and for her uncompromising standards.
Anhaiser also served in various positions with the Fort Bend Museum Association, including president during 1985-1987.
In 1984, the Board of Realtors in Fort Bend County chose Bettye to receive its Key Person Award in recognition of her volunteer achievements.
Bettye, a native Texan who also spent formative years in Louisiana, began her love affair with the county’s history almost by accident.
Following her marriage to fellow Louisiana State University student Leon Anhaiser, the couple in 1963 moved to his hometown of Sugar Land. A few years later, the young mother of two happened onto a book on Fort Bend history and realized she had found her passion. In 1972 Bettye assisted former Sugar Land Mayor Bill Little with Sesquicentennial celebrations for Sugar Land and Fort Bend County. That same year she was a leading force behind a publication documenting the history of the towns and communities in the county, the first comprehensive source of its kind.
In 1975 she became chair of the Sugar Land American Bicentennial Committee. A decade later she co-authored a pictorial history book on Sugar Land, and served as a member of the Sugar Land Texas Sesquicentennial Committee. She is currently on the board of the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation and is involved with the many aspects of its operation.
It hasn’t strictly been about history. Anhaiser in 1972 represented Sugar Land on the brand-new Friends of the Fort Bend County Library. She served on a curriculum committee for Fort Bend ISD, assisting with curriculum synchronization among schools, and was also secretary of the education department at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Sugar Land for 14 years.
A member of the Fort Bend Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) since 1967, she served as regent and as chair of various committees as well as the national vice chairmanship for the DAR history essay contest. She was a charter member of the Terry’s Texas Rangers chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) in 1979 and the Fort Settlement Chapter of Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT) in 1989, and currently serves as registrar for the DRT chapter.
She is the current president of the Fort Bend Chapter of the Czech Heritage Society of Texas. In addition, she is a member of Theresians International, a Christian women’s group.
The Fort Bend County Historical Commission was founded in 1956 under Texas governor Allan Shivers and has a statutory responsibility to initiate and conduct programs suggested by the county commissioners and the Texas Historical Commission (THC).