Lifetime leader turns 100

DOWNTOWN GLENDALE — Having accumulated a century's worth of memories, longtime Glendale resident Genevieve Sultenfuss said her greatest one yet was turning 100.

Roughly 250 close friends and family members attended the centenarian's birthday bash Sunday at the Glendale Elks Lodge, which was decorated to reflect her many loves.

Sultenfuss, who wore a pink flower in her hair, beamed as friends and family showered her with birthday wishes.

"She was a great mentor for me, and she was so dedicated to the work that she did," said Lancaster resident Barbara Garrett, who has known Sultenfuss for more than 20 years.

Sultenfuss has served on numerous civic and business groups, paving the way for many women.

"She has always been a motivation for women," said her daughter, Julie Shermer.

And many of her accomplishments were on display during the bash.

Pins, photographs, awards and clothing were delicately placed on a memorabilia table. Partygoers watched a slideshow of snapshots of Sultenfuss' life.

Two birthday cakes decorated in pink and lavender and topped with 100 gold-colored candles took center stage at the bash.

On display was also a commemorative letter from Supervisor Mike Antonovich, praising her for turning 100.

"Congratulations on reaching the milestone of the centennial celebration on your birthday," the letter stated. "You have been a witness to dramatic historical events."

Sultenfuss was born in a homestead in Colorado, where she grew up with her mother, father, two sisters and brother. Her family moved from their farmhouse in 1923 to Burbank.

Throughout her many years of service, Sultenfuss has taken on numerous leadership roles. And in doing so, she has held the title of "being the first" several times.

She was most recently honored in June by the Soroptimist International of Glendale for being a member since 1961. Sultenfuss, who is a past Soroptimist president, received a 50-year pin for her service to the club.

She still attends the organization's bimonthly meetings at the Glendale Hilton, her daughter said.

"She is just very active," her daughter said. "That's what keeps her going."

Sultenfuss founded her own realty firm, Glendale Properties Inc., in 1955 and worked as a Realtor in Glendale for 30 years before retiring in 1985.

She was the first female president of the Glendale Assn. of Realtors in 1968 and the Glendale Chamber of Commerce in 1977.

She was named Realtor of the Year by the Realtors association in 1972, and Woman of Achievement by the Glendale News-Press in 1977.

Sultenfuss' main advice to young women looking to succeed in the business world is to never give up.

"Just keep plugging away," she said.

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