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Bettye Mae Raymer, cruising through a life of commitments

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By Carly Besser

Inspiration: Mother
Pets: One dog (Pepper) and one cat (Smoky)
Hobbies: Kayaking and Crusing in her classic car

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The fire-engine red 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle Supersport looked like it just rolled out of a showroom minutes before. Its reflective chrome bumper showed no signs of rust and the hardtop maintained its deep black finish, almost as if it never saw the elements. And it runs just as beautifully as it looks.

“This was the car we took on our first honeymoon in 1968,” said Bettye Mae Raymer, beaming at the timelessness of the classic muscle car. “We were going to pass it down one day, but (my husband) Dwight said he’s gonna be buried in this thing.”

Raymer, a lifelong Hardin County resident, is like her car in many ways. Despite being a retired mother of three and a grandmother, she still has the energy and longevity to stay highly involved in the community.

Raymer has been clerk of White Mills Baptist Church, a Sunday school teacher, member of the Child Evangelism Christian Fellowship Board, president of the White Mills Homemakers Club and secretary of the Hardin County Homemakers Club.

The White Mills club is deeply involved in organizing the upcoming White Mills Day on July 4 and 5. Raymer and other members took on the task of buying and preparing food, collecting donations and serving a chicken dinner that is described as the best in the county.

She's proud the club provides $500 scholarships to 10 students in the area. Working with children, she said, is one of many things that make her service worthwhile.

“I love working with children,” Raymer said. “They have such sweet spirits. You can mold their lives and I think that’s something that we need to really focus on doing. A lot of children don’t have that inspiration. When we can provide that inspiration, I think it’s great.”

When Raymer takes on a position, it is a long-term commitment. Besides four decades of active involvement with her church, she worked at Kroger for more than 40 years as a customer service manager. Raymer said there are things about her job that she still misses.

“I liked that people knew my face and I knew theirs,” Raymer said. “It’s one thing that I really miss. I can’t say I miss the working part much, but some of the people I worked with were a pleasure to work with. It’s a pleasure to go back in (Kroger) and see them. I go in to visit often.”

Raymer’s multiple positions and obligations consume large amounts of energy and time. Although technically retired, she has the same workload as a full-time employee. Raymer attributes much of her strong work ethic to her mother, who encouraged her to be as motivated as she remains today.

“My mother was a real go-getter,” Raymer said. “She really inspired me. She always helped me in anything I did. She passed away 16 years ago, but I still try to follow in her footsteps.”

When Raymer isn’t doing outreach work or visiting with friends and family, she enjoys kayaking down Nolin River and cruising in the cars her husband restores in their garage. The couple’s driveway leading to their riverside log cabin resembles a parking lot for their multiple cars – some ready to drive and some works in progress.

“We don’t care about (entering our cars) in shows,” Raymer said. “Dwight says he knows my car is prettier than the cars there anyway. We just love cruises. We cruise on Saturday nights quite a bit.”

Like the engine of their prized Chevelle, Raymer still works as hard as she did decades ago and she shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

Carly Besser can be reached at 270-505-1740 or cbesser@thenewsenterprise.com.

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