CLEVELAND, Ohio — A Westlake woman is proving you’re only as old as you feel.
Arlene Steuer, 92, was one of the first female attorneys in Cleveland. Today she’s still practicing law, but that’s only a small part of what makes her so special.
Age is just a number, right? Well, 92 is definitely just a number for Arlene Steuer. Steuer is an attorney by day, sailboat skipper by night.
”I like the camaraderie of the people on the boat,” Steuer said. “I like winning in races, the freedom of being on the water and I like the water.”
When she’s not working, Steuer is either traveling on mission trips or out on the lake with her family, competing a few times a week in boat races. Her thirst for adventure doesn’t stop there.
“She still skis, still kayaks, she just quit riding mountain bikes just a few years ago,” said Josh Wentz, Steuer’s great-great nephew. “You’re talking about a woman who went to Antarctica just to see penguins in person.”
Determination isn’t something new for Steuer, when she was in her 20s she worked every day as the sole provider of her family. At night she paid for herself to go to law school.
“She had a large hand in pioneering women’s rights especially in the legal field here in Cleveland,” Wentz said. “She was one of the first female attorneys in Cleveland.”
In 1952, Steuer was in the Cleveland Press for graduating top in her class from Cleveland Marshall Law School out of 130 students, mostly men. She then opened a practice in Cleveland with another graduate but said for a time, people assumed she was the client since she was a woman.
“It took time but I got known in Cuyahoga County,” Steuer said. “But when I went to other counties I would make it a point to immediately walk up to the judge and say ‘My name is Arlene Steuer and I’m the attorney!’”
So how, at 92, is Steuer still able to do so much?
“The good Lord had blessed me and given me good health,” Steuer said.
“I’ve learned from her what a resilient spirit can get you out of life,” Wentz said. “She has done everything she wanted to do because she said she wanted to do it and I admire that about her.”
Steuer now leaves the heavy lifting on the boat to her great-great nephews, but says she hasn’t stopped taking charge.
“I watch the sails and I tell him my ideas whether he likes it or not,” Steuer said.
Wentz agreed, “She’s still the skipper on the boat calling the shots and she’s feisty out on the lake.”
Steuer never had children of her own but has had many nieces and nephews live with her over the years. She says in her family it’s just known that around age 3 or 4 you get your first skiing and sailing lesson.
So what advice does Steuer have for the younger generations?
“You don`t know what you can do until you try and you can have a lot of fun doing it,” Steuer said. “Just because you fall on your face once or twice doesn’t mean you shouldn`t get up. I’ve had a few broken bones and torn ligaments but they all healed.”