Margo Rothenberg celebrates 100 years 

Margo Rothenberg raises her glass of Pina Clolada as she celebrates her100th birthday at Oakmont Senior Living of Santa Clarita on Wednesday, 011724. Dan Watson/The Signal
Margo Rothenberg raises her glass of Pina Clolada as she celebrates her100th birthday at Oakmont Senior Living of Santa Clarita on Wednesday, 011724. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Sitting between her daughter, Agi Flesch, and granddaughter, Jacqueline Hickerson, Margo Rothenberg celebrated her hundredth year with a beige, sparkly dress, sunglasses on her face and a piña colada in hand at Oakmont of Santa Clarita on Wednesday.  

Born on Jan. 21, 1924, Rothenberg was born and raised in Vác, Hungary. Enduring many obstacles, Rothenberg survived World War II and The Hungarian Revolution of 1956, seeking refuge in Colombia in January 1957.  

Regardless of the hardships, Rothenberg says she lived a happy life.  

Before moving, Rothenberg was treated in Switzerland for eight months for macular degeneration, going blind in her left eye. While she regained her vision during the treatments, her eyesight was never the same, especially declining in more recent years.  

Margo Rothenberg, center, is joined by her daughter Agi Flesch, left, and granddaughter Jacqueline Hickeson as Rothenberg is served a piece of her birthday cake as she celebrates her100th birthday at Oakmont Senior Living of Santa Clarita on Wednesday, 011724.  Dan Watson/The Signal
Margo Rothenberg, center, is joined by her daughter Agi Flesch, left, and granddaughter Jacqueline Hickeson as Rothenberg is served a piece of her birthday cake as she celebrates her100th birthday at Oakmont Senior Living of Santa Clarita on Wednesday, 011724. Dan Watson/The Signal

Rothenberg came to America in 1962, working for a drapery store. Later on, she worked for the May Department Stores Co. for 12 years, before she retired and moved to Las Vegas in the late 1980s. 

She lived in Reseda, then in Canyon Country, coming back to the Santa Clarita Valley 10 years ago after being in Las Vegas. 

Rothenberg was married three times and had two children from the first two marriages: Flesch and her brother. 

Rothenberg’s third marriage to Edward Rothenburg, a German concentration camp survivor, lasted for 56 years. Edward was a part of Oakmont’s Memory Care Community before his death four years ago. 

When asked by Oakmont employees what she wants to drink, Rothenberg replied: “You know what — piña,” before having her sentence finished with “colada.” 

When asked about how she feels to be 100, she replied: “I don’t feel 100. I feel strong,” 

When asked about what age she feels the most, she pointed to each shoulder and said, “50, 50.” 

Her favorite memory was school. What did she love the most about it? “Everything, I love studying,” Rothenberg said. “I graduated in technical drafting. I was working with 17 engineers, and I was the only girl.” 

Oakmont Senior Living of Santa Clarita Executive Director Tom Park, left, invites residents to sing happy birthday to Margo Rothenberg, right, as she celebrates her100th birthday at Oakmont Senior Living of Santa Clarita on Wednesday, 011724.  Dan Watson/The Signal
Oakmont Senior Living of Santa Clarita Executive Director Tom Park, left, invites residents to sing happy birthday to Margo Rothenberg, right, as she celebrates her100th birthday at Oakmont Senior Living of Santa Clarita on Wednesday, 011724. Dan Watson/The Signal

In Hungary, Rothenberg worked on radios, doing the schematics. 

“She was always very studious. She loved school. She [also] loved dancing when she was younger,” Hickerson said. 

Rothenberg chimed in with her favorite types of dancing being tango, folk and Hungarian dancing, while saying she also loved to sing. As for her favorite pastime as she got older as a Las Vegas resident? Gambling. 

Flesch elaborated on her mother’s artistic skills, stating that she enjoyed drawing and was good at it.  

As the room drew residents and family to celebrate Rothenberg with photos and a pink and white cake, the three women reflected on Rothenberg’s feat. 

“We’re happy she’s still with us here. It’s quite an accomplishment,” Hickerson said. 

Flesch said being “a very strong-willed woman” helped Rothenberg along the way. “That’s what she needed to do to survive.”  

“I cannot believe it,” Rothenberg said. 

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