William A. Sells passed away at home on Jan. 16, 2013, after a two-year battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 28, at Rockland Community Church. The public is invited.
Bill was born in Rahway, N.J., in 1933. He graduated in 1956 from Gettysburg College, where he captained the wrestling team and was an active member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Following graduation, he entered the U.S. Marine Corps. After completion of Naval Aviation Flight School and advanced jet training, he received his naval aviator wings. He was stationed in Santa Ana, Calif., and Okinawa, Japan, and flew jets on and off the USS Lexington and Saratoga aircraft carriers throughout the Pacific. He retired from active duty as a captain in 1960 and continued his service with the Marine reserves through 1967.
In 1960, Bill began his career at Johns Manville in its asbestos cement pipe division. After working as a salesman and product manager based in New York and New Jersey, he joined the company's operations division. From 1969 through 1973, he served as plant manager of manufacturing facilities in Waukegan, Ill., and Manville, N.J. During this time, he also completed the executive management program at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.
Bill and his family relocated to Evergreen in 1973 when Johns Manville moved its corporate headquarters to Denver. He retired as president of its Fiberglas group and as senior vice president of the corporation in 1990. Following retirement he earned a master's degree in environmental policy and management from the University of Denver. He also operated his own environmental management consulting firm and worked closely with the Environmental Protection Agency in the development of regulatory policies for the Fiberglas and asbestos industries. In 1994, he authored an article on managing corporate risk for the Harvard Business Review.
Bill served as a trustee of Rockland Community Church, in addition to assisting Mount Evans Home Health and Hospice, Evergreen Christian Outreach, the Jefferson County Action Center, and various other community nonprofit organizations. He enjoyed woodworking, golf, skiing, cycling, photography, travel, but most of all, spending time with family.
Bill is survived by his wife of 57 years, Susan; and his children, Karen S. Sells, Edward C. (Karen) Sells and Laurie A. (Steve) Vaggalis. Bill also is survived by his sister, Barbara. He had five grandchildren: Danny (Elise) Sells, Jessica Sells, Michael Vaggalis, Kelly Vaggalis and Kristina Aasheim.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Mount Evans Home Health and Hospice, Evergreen Christian Outreach, or Rockland Community Church.
Published in Canyon Courier from January 23 to January 29, 2013