El Paso former mayor turns 97 years old

Sunday, January 13, 2013 - 11:01pm

Ralph Seitsinger, turned 97 years today surrounded by friends, family and people who admire him .

His daughter Carol Seitsinger-Ripley planned the party.

"There isn't a day that someone, no matter where we go, will stop him and say Mayor Seitsinger, how are you? You know you let me walk out of your store with a house full of furniture on a handshake," said Seitsinger-Ripley.

Ralph Seitsinger turned from successful business man to El Paso's mayor from 1961-1963.

"I feel fine for 97, so most of my family's here and so with all my friends from all over town,” said Ralph Seitsinger.

Hedwig Jacobs remembers when Mayor Seitsinger flew a group of people to Germany including herself and her Fort Bliss husband, just to visit their families.

"A whole plane full of soldiers with wives and all that and I thought that was so nice,” said Jacobs.

Manny Najera, a former State Representative, credits Seitsinger for much of his own success.

As mayor, Seitsinger awarded Najera, then a U.S. Customs Inspector, a scholarship to UTEP, which he says helped him make his way to a job in Washington D.C..

“He was a very lively person, outstanding type of guy, he was always there with the people," said Najera.

Mayor Seitsinger helped build Transmountain Road and the Border Highway.

City Rep Steve Ortega who now is running for mayor, asks Seitsinger for advice at times. He says the former has a lot to do with the Borderland's growth.

He was one of the first to really view our area as a region and try to look for El Paso and Juarez to work together," said Ortega.

Seitsinger's daughter says her father is proud of the direction El Paso is headed.

“There's not a thing that he doesn't love about El Paso, but the people are the big thing," said Seitsinger-Ripley.

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