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Monday, November 19, 2007

St. Anthony to celebrate birthday with former employee

L-R: Gloria Castro & Federico Sifuentes, Frances & Federico Sifuentes with daughter

Ninety-nine year-old Federico Sifuentes is the first born of twelve children. Born November 26th, 1908, in Austin, Sifuentes grew up without attending school because he was too busy 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, at the age of 27 he met his future wife, Frances Rangel and married her one year later.

Earning $3 a week while raising their son, Gilbert, and daughter, Mary Helen, the Sifuentes were married 45 years until Frances death.

His daughter Mary Helen Cervantes has three children with her husband Rudy. 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. It was then he decided it was time to change careers and work a day job. In 1951, began working in the San Antonio Independent School District as a custodian until his retirement 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.

Gloria and Sifuentes continue to go dancing. They served as the Honorary King and Queen of Fiesta recently for Sociedad Cruz Blanca. The couple belong to three organizations that allow them to travel often, and give to the community by raising funds for toys for those in need.

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.

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. 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."

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