Sulzby was the son of James Sulzby Sr and Annie Dobbins Sulzby, and had three brothers, James, Thomas, and George. He graduated from Birmingham-Southern College with a bachelor of arts and went to Harvard Business School. He started working for the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and the Liberty National Life Insurance Company in the 1930s. On June 21, 1941 he married the former Mildred Wood of Birmingham.
Just prior to the outbreak of World War II, Sulzby was touring Europe and was one of the last Americans to leave Germany, just as his hotel room was siezed for Field Marshall Goering. He entered the U. S. Navy, eventually coming back to Birmingham to work at the Betchel-McCone-Parsons Airplane Modification Plant, which later became Hayes International. He retired from that company in 1989.
- Sulzby, William Dobbins, Sr. "Bill" (May 21, 2006) obituary. The Birmingham News