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Donald Richard Sellers, Lieutenant Colonel USAF (Ret), passed away on February 3, 2024. Born on December 6, 1934, Don lived his life with integrity and service. He made a lasting impact on those who knew him.
Don was born on December 6, 1934, in the depth of the Great Depression in Mishikawa, Indiana to Nienan and Mary (Parent) Sellers. He was the eldest of eight children and grew up in Boone, Iowa where he graduated from Boone High School.
Throughout his life, Don repeatedly achieved success against all odds through perseverance, courage, and hard work. After high school, Don joined the Iowa National Guard. Four years later, he joined the US Army where he served for two years active duty. Don left the military to study physics at Iowa State University, choosing this major because it was a challenge. With a degree in physics, Don joined the US Air Force as a Lieutenant. He met Marjorie Lauckner and in 1966, they married. Don and Marjorie divorced in 1988 after raising three daughters. Marjorie preceded Don in death in 2017 in Edmonds, WA.
While in the military, Don served his country with integrity, wisdom, and loyalty. He was stationed around the world, moving about every 18 months, including a tour in Thailand during the Vietnam War. As a young officer, Don supervised mission planning for the Apollo missions, including the team that calculated the trajectory of the first Apollo mission. He served as Range Control Officer during the launch of eighty ballistic missiles from the Air Force Western Test Range. His final command was of the largest squadron in the Air Force, an aircraft maintenance division with over a thousand personnel at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, NV. Don was honorably discharged from the US Air Force in 1983 and began his retirement in Las Vegas, NV. The family moved to Tacoma, WA in 1985.
After moving to Tacoma, Don became an active member of the community. He supported many organizations including AmVets, Toastmasters, writing groups, the Talking Troubadours, and the Driftwood Players. He also enjoyed music, theater, and movies. During that time, he met Barbara Harvey. They were married from 1993 - 2003.
Don supported and was an active member of AmVets. He particularly enjoyed going to AmVets karaoke, live music and dancing. He enjoyed spending time with AmVet friends.
Don was a proud member of Toastmasters for over 35 years. He served as a District Governor as well as President, and Vice President. He also started and revitalized several successful clubs, including one at a women’s prison. He actively recruited and mentored new members growing the membership of several clubs.
Don also was an accomplished author and published a collection of short stories titled “Voyages of Discovery.” Over the years, he belonged to many writing groups including the Round Table, The Monday Night Specials, the Dream Weavers, and the Talking Troubadours. He created the last two and facilitated both groups. He supported other writers through editing. He enjoyed working on his writing and editing for friends at the local Barnes and Noble. He was an avid reader with a wide range of interests and amassed a significant library.
During his last fourteen years, Don moved to Fircrest, WA to live with his sweetheart, Sherrie Kenyon.
Don is survived by his three daughters, Kathy Contreras, Stephanie Allen, and Dawn Kinsel; his five grandchildren, Isabella, Daniel, James, Eleanor and Max; his two sisters, Janet (Sellers) Gregory, and Norma (Sellers) Evans; and his three brothers, Leslie Sellers, Kenny Sellers, and Larry Sellers. Don was preceded in death by his parents, Nienan and Mary Sellers, and two brothers, Gerald Sellers and Daniel Sellers.
Donald Sellers’ funeral service will be held at Weeks’ Dryer Mortuary, 220 134th Street South, Tacoma, WA 98444 on February 23, 2024, at 10am followed by a reception at the same location. A committal service with full military honors will follow at 1:30pm at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, WA.
Flowers may be sent to Weeks’ Dryer Mortuary, 220 134th Street South, Tacoma, WA 98444 on February 22, 2024