Syd Foster still selling real estate at age 90

When Syd Foster started selling real estate in 1946 in Long Beach, Calif., the price of a three-bedroom, two-bath home was around $5,000. Foster is still selling homes 60 years later in Carson Valley - only now the price of a comparable home is $400,000.

At the time of life when most people would be long retired, Foster is still going strong working full time selling real estate at Century 21 Clark Properties.

His co-workers threw him a party to celebrate his 90th birthday Friday. About 40 people enjoyed a potluck lunch, a huge birthday cake and music by Foster's friend, George Keele. Foster's children came from out of town for the celebration.

"I knew they were doing something for my birthday but I had no idea of the magnitude of the operation," said Foster. "The party was a big surprise. My son and daughter and everyone else being there was just overwhelming. George came in and brought his guitar and sang three numbers paying tribute to me. Everybody was really impressed."

"He's amazing," said real estate agent Toni Rooker. "He still works 40 hours a week. Syd's already here when I come in on Monday morning. He's been in real estate 60 years and still loves it."

Foster's daughter, Lynne Niederhaus, came from Carmel, Calif., for her father's birthday.

"It always amazes me to see the recognition and respect his colleagues have for him," said Niederhaus. "What a great time and a nice way to honor him. He feels he could do real estate for another 10-15 years."

Foster's son Alan Foster, an attorney in Palo Alto, Calif., said his father's co-workers were "a great group of people."

"It's like being part of a family here," Alan Foster said.

Foster's wife, Ruth, wasn't well enough to attend the party but he and the couple's two children were together after the office party. Foster's actual birthday was Sunday, March 5. They started the day having breakfast at the Carson Valley Inn, going to Genoa and visiting antique stores in Minden.

Sydney Foster was born in Pigeon, Mich., in 1916. He went to Long Beach to serve in the U.S. Navy and Naval Reserve. After he started a career in real estate, he worked in different cities in Southern California before he and Ruth moved to Minden in 1991.

"We loved the quality of life here," said Foster. "Both my wife and I came from small towns and we love the small town atmosphere. We don't travel as much as we used to since my wife is restricted to home. I used to fish, and hike and go hunting a lot, but there's not too many places to hike when you're 90."

Foster said the real estate business has slacked off but he's still doing very well.

"I help people from out of state who are looking from homes," he said. "I let them know if I think I found something they like. For other people, they ask me to keep a look out - 'If you see something, let me know.' They're interested in changing from a condo to a house or I have investors interested in vacant land, although there's not much land to work with now."

When asked about his plans to retire, Foster said, "Not at this point. I still have a few years left."


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