GREEN BAY – Marguerite “Mugs” Bachhuber didn’t know what to think when the letter first came in the mail.
The 87-year-old native of Tomahawk, Wis., wasn’t even aware her daughter, Jane Benson, had nominated her for the Packers FAN Hall of Fame until Bachhuber received world that she’d been selected as one of 10 finalists for the annual honor.
“I was in shock,” Bachhuber said. “Like what in the world is she doing?”
The unexpected letter turned into a dream come true for the proud mother of eight on Tuesday when Bachhuber was named the 20th member of the Packers FAN Hall of Fame, thanks in part to a massive groundswell of support from her family.
Bachhuber’s fandom is rooted in her 60-year marriage to Raymond Bachhuber. Sundays were sacred in their house. While they made an annual trip to Lambeau Field for the Bishop’s Charity Game, the Bachhubers’ Mayville home was a hub for family get-togethers.
“We always watched,” Bachhuber said. “My husband, if there was a Packers game on, anyone who walked into the room went down on all fours because you didn’t want to block the view when dad was watching football.”
Ray’s passion became Mugs’ passion all the way until his passing in October 2011. Mugs, often hoarse from cheering, now has been known to call any of her six sons after games to rehash highlights and review. A resident at Woodside Manor in Green Bay for the past 17 years, Bachhuber also ran the Packers pool for 10 years.
A Packers shareholder, Bachhuber collected tons of Packers memorabilia over the years, most of which now decorate her room at Woodside. She also wrote a song, “We are Packer-Backers,” which can be heard throughout Woodside during the tenants’ Friday Happy Hour Singalongs.
“She always has all the ideas and sings songs, the Packer pool,” said Hannah Ryczek, Woodside’s Life Enrichment Director. “She’s the life of Woodside. She’s like a grandma.”
Benson decided to nominate her mother at the behest of Bachhuber’s sister and after seeing family friend, 92-year-old LaNore Anderson of Thorp, selected as one of 10 finalists last year.
After Bachhuber was notified that she was a finalist, Benson and her siblings began posting Facebook messages and sending out mass email chains to help gain support.
As newspapers statewide helped spread word of Bachhuber’s story, Mugs’ great-niece, The X-Files star Gillian Anderson, offered her support on social media, providing links to vote online throughout the month of January.
“It was a total surprise,” said Benson of Anderson’s efforts. “Her mother was part of a family email distribution list. I sent it out to everybody in the family. She sent it to Gillian and said, ‘Here’s your 87-year-old aunt, I thought you’d get a kick out of this. … From there, it went crazy. It was so much fun.”
Ryczek would print off Anderson’s tweets and show them to Bachhuber, fueling the anticipation for Tuesday’s ceremony.
For her inductions, Bachhuber receives four club seats to a 2018 Packers home game; a $500 Packers Pro Shop gift certificate; a road trip for two to a 2018 Packers away game, including game tickets, air fare and hotel accommodations; and a one-year subscription to Packers Plus.
She’ll also have her name permanently displayed in a place of honor in the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, a destination that already has been popular in the family for years.
“I’ve loved the Green Bay Packers all my life. It’s astonishing to feel this is happening to me,” Bachhuber said. “My mother and dad would be so tickled with this. My husband would be, too. They’re smiling down. Because it’s something I really never expected.”
This year’s other finalists included: Felicia Reed from Milwaukee; Lloyd Wettstein from Appleton, Wis.; Sue “Stolty” Stoltenberg from Wausaukee, Wis.; Michael Sledz from Grayslake, Ill.; Mike Seavert from Greenfield, Wis.; John Kuziej from Burnsville, Minn.; Robert Retzlaff from Necedah, Wis.; Dave Lucero from Green Bay, Wis.; and Allie Healy from Franklin, Wis.