Gerald Glynn Sellers of Marysville, WA died peacefully on Saturday March 7, 2020 in hospice with loved ones by his side.
He was born in Baxley, GA on November 18, 1925 to the late Arthur Melton Sellers and Crettie Mae Lamb Sellers in the Zion Baptist Church Community.
Gerald was preceded in death by his grandparents; parents; Aunt Maude Lamb; his stepmother, Miss Ellen Moore Sellers; his siblings, Juanita (Cross) Bevill, Raleigh Sellers, James “Roe” (Geneva) Sellers, Preston (Luna Mae) Sellers, Jack (Frances) Sellers, Foster Sellers; nephew Michael Sellers, niece Lawanda (Arbie) Odom; his ex-wife, Della Hamann and his step children, Frederick Hamann and Darlene Hamann.
Gerald is survived by his daughter Lynda Hawkins and stepson, Richard Hamann; grandchildren, Dustin (Jenny) Hawkins, Shelby Hawkins, Preston Perry, Bayleigh (Phillip) Stelling, Jay (Donna) Cherry, Teresa (Michael) O’Quinn, Lester (Angie) Cherry, Michael (Stephanie) Cherry, Leslie (Andrew) Hamann Douglas, David (Kym) Hamann; great-grandchild, Julian Hawkins and many more great-grandchildren and sons in law, Dusty Hawkins and Ken Perry.
Nephews and nieces, Mae (Whitney) Trahan, LaJoyce (Chet) Bennett, Deborah (Henry) Whitfield, Gerald “Jay”(Pat) Sellers, Jeff Sellers, Kay Sellers, Ronnie Sellers, Sherry (Jerry) Rowell, Trent (Brenda) Sellers, Nanette (Donnie) Shuman, Patti (Mikell) Manning and numerous great nieces, great nephews and very special cousins that he loved dearly.
Gerald’s family nickname was “Tootsie.” His 5th and 7th grade teacher, Mr. McCall, called him “Toots.” His shipmates called him “Speedy” because it took him a long time to pick out his clothes. His was known on the west coast as “Judd.”
He went to Way Schoolhouse for grades one through eight. Five hundred country boys and girls went to the school next to the Zion Baptist Church. He went to a different school for ninth grade and then quit school to work on the family farm.
He left Baxley at age 19 to work at a nuclear plant in Tennessee. Arthur wanted him to stay home but he wanted to see the world.
He worked in Tennessee 24 days shy of a year. He headed for St. Petersburg, FL and went through Maritime school. He ended up on ships based in California and Seattle.
He had two deaf brothers and did not speak until he was 11 years old. His family thought he was deaf also. When Raleigh and Jack went away to the Georgia school for the Deaf, Gerald started talking. Arthur thought his boys were just stubborn until he found out they were deaf.
He worked 41 years for NOAA (National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration). They spent nine months out of the year out at sea and three months docked for repairs. He traveled all over the world, crossing the Equator multiple times. His last 9 years were in Alaska. He retired in 1982 as Chief Engineer. His ships were the Pioneer, Oceanographer and the Davidson.
His best friend and shipmate, Joe Velasquez, was his partner in crime and like a brother. Joe made C.E. at 23 and was a mentor to Gerald. They had many wonderful adventures together and with other shipmates.
He met his wife, Della, in Portland, OR in 1971, married and moved to Lynnwood, WA in 1972. His ship was docked at Lake Union in Seattle. He and Della moved to Garibaldi, OR in 1982 where he lived for five years. In 1987, he moved back to Savannah for 27 years, before moving back to Washington to be close to his daughter in 2015.
Gerald asked Jesus into his heart while living in Marysville, WA. The pastors at Calvary Chapel Marysville prayed with him more than once as he wanted to be “sure.” He decided to get healthy in 1995. He started juicing, lifting weights and running several miles a day on his treadmill at the age of 70. When he died he had 24 years clean and sober. He was an inspiration in self-discipline, kindness and in how much he loved those around him.
Memories: his favorite dog was Buster; he would use a straw to drink milk through the cream seal when milking cows in the morning before school; he had narcolepsy as a child and would fall asleep in the fields. All the neighbors would be out looking for him; his favorite car was a 1960 Plymouth Fury; front porch sitting at the farm and Aunt Maude’s with family; he boxed as a child, on the ship and he stopped in his early 20’s; breakfast every morning with his brother Roe.
I think everyone knew how much he loved his ice cream, grits and boiled peanuts. He never met a stranger and he never ran out of stories to tell. He overcame many challenges in life and was a role model to many. His heart was big and his advice was always wise. He will be dearly missed.
Brother Gerald was a Master Mason at Pleasonton Lodge #321 in California starting in 1959. He became a plural member of Thunderbolt Lodge #693 in Savannah, GA in 2013.
Graveside services were held at Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Baxley, GA on Saturday, March 21, 2020 with Masonic Rites and Rev. James Minick officiating.
A celebration of life will be held in the fall of 2020, for all family and friends.
Remembrances can be made to your local Hospice Foundation, Humane Society or Wounded Warrior Project.
Funeral arrangements were under the direction of Swain Funeral Home.
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