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Friday, November 23, 2007

Federico Sifuentes & St. Anthony Hotel celebrate 99 years

Federico Sifuentes & wife, Frances (photo-1934)

Who: Federico Sifuentes & the St. Anthony Wyndham Hotel

What: Announcing plans for century celebration
Where: St. Anthony Wyndham Hotel, 300 E. Travis St.
When: Monday, November 26th
Time: 11 a.m.

99-year-old Federico Sifuentes and the St. Anthony Wyndham Hotel will announce plans for a joint century celebration as both anticipate reaching the century mark in 2008. The press conference will begin at 11 a.m. at the St. Anthony Wyndham Hotel, Monday, November 26th. Coffee & Cake will be provided after the conference.

A birthday party will be held later in the evening from 6-8 p.m. with the Madrigal singers from Incarnate Word High School honoring Federico Sifuentes and the St. Anthony Hotel where he worked for sixteen years from 1936-1951.

The St. Anthony Director of Sales and Marketing John Rowe says, “99-years-old is a tremendous accomplishment. And since the hotel will celebrate the century mark next year, as will Mr. Federico Sifuentes, why wait to celebrate when we can start together now? The hotel invites Mr. Sifuentes to be our guest as he celebrates his 99th birthday."

The first born of 12, Ninety-nine year-old Federico Sifuentes was born November 26th, 1908, in Austin. Sifuentes did not attend school because he was out in the fields picking cotton in Travis County with his father. His eleven brothers and sisters were all able to attend school because of his sacrifice and belief in familia first.

In 1933, the 27-year-old met his future wife, Frances Rangel and married her in 1934. The Sifuentes were married for 45 years.

His daughter Mary Helen Cervantes & husband Rudy have three children. Sifuentes spends many hours with his grandchildren. A lifelong workaholic, Sifuentes insists on mowing his own lawn despite the protests of his grandkids who volunteer to help him with chores around the house. Sifuentes collects iron & aluminum and meticulously tends to his cotton bush.

As a tribute to his early days in the cotton fields, he planted the last seed from the fields he worked in Travis County. In 1936, he began a sixteen-year business relationship, working at the St. Anthony Hotel in downtown San Antonio, in the Silver polishing room in the basement of the building. Working a 12-hour night shift, he polished silver, preparing it for use for the following day.

In 1951, he changed jobs and took a job as a custodian in the San Antonio Independent School District until he retired in 1965. After his wife, Francis passed away; Sifuentes met his current sweetheart, Gloria Castro at a dance at Fraternal Latino Americana in 1986.

For the past 25 years, he and Gloria go to the local Panchitos for breakfast tacos. He still drives his own vehicle and recently renewed his driver’s license that will expire in 2011.

The St. Anthony Hotel and Federico Sifuentes share bonds by the fact that both the hotel and Sifuentes will celebrate their 100-year centennial in 2008.

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