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Fath celebrates 100th birthday

Tuesday, January 12, 2016 by Jo Clifton

We might call her Austin’s oldest and best-loved volunteer. Monday was Shudde Fath’s 100th birthday, and she celebrated with about 75 of her closest friends at the University of Texas Etter-Harbin Alumni Center. The Austin Monitor asked the honoree what it felt like to be 100, and she said she didn’t really feel like she was that old. When the late Jeff Friedman was mayor (1975-1977), he appointed Fath to the mayor’s commission on electric rates. Fath said that the only real recommendation from the commission was that City Council create the Electric Utility Commission. When that happened, Friedman appointed Fath, an advocate for residential and small-business customers. That was nearly 39 years ago, and Fath has been serving year in and year out ever since. At the beginning, she said, the commission and Council looked at rates on a yearly basis. At one point during the party, Fath gathered all the current and former elected officials in attendance to have their photo taken with her, giving the Monitor an easy way to name them. Among those currently in office were Council members Delia Garza and Ann Kitchen, Travis County Commissioner Brigid Shea, State Rep. Elliott Naishtat, Judge Gisela Triana, Tax Assessor-Collector Bruce Elfant and Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District Board Member Craig Smith. Former elected officials included former Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos and former Council members Daryl Slusher, Jackie Goodman, Beverly Griffith and Roger Duncan. (Disclosure: Duncan is married to Monitor reporter Jo Clifton.) Many of these same people were among the guests recording video birthday greetings for Fath. And we wish her many happy returns.

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