Community - January 13, 2010

Services set for Joan Sellman, former Almanac staffer

Services will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23, at Woodside Village Church for Joan Sellman, a resident of Woodside for 50 years.

Ms. Sellman died Dec. 10 at Brighton Gardens in Santa Rosa, following an extended illness. She was 81.

Ms. Sellman was the wife of the late George W. Sellman, who served as superintendent of Woodside Elementary School for 23 years and for whom the school auditorium is named. The Sellmans were married Jan. 21, 1951, in Colusa. Mr. Sellman died in 2005.

In the 1990s, Ms. Sellman retired after working in the business office of The Almanac for many years, dating back to the days when it was located in Woodside. She is remembered by her colleagues for her pleasant, easy-going manner and her baking skills. Every holiday season, Almanac staffers looked forward to a tray of her home-baked treats, often beautifully decorated. Lemon bars were a big favorite.

Joan Sellman was born in Tracy and spent her early childhood in Hat Creek, Burney and Colusa. She graduated from Colusa High School, where she was one of two graduation speakers/valedictorians. She attended Yuba College and graduated from UC Berkeley in 1950. In her early years, she worked as a teacher and substitute teacher.

The couple moved to Woodside in 1959 after Mr. Sellman was hired as a teacher at Woodside Elementary School. While her husband was busy directing students in the school's eighth-grade operettas, and, later, became director of Woodside Community Theatre productions, she was content to assume a smaller role. She sang in the chorus and designed and sewed costumes for the community productions.

Along with using with her culinary talents, Ms. Sellman enjoyed playing tennis and reading, especially mystery novels, say family members.

She is survived by her children, Cindy Jensen, George Sellman III, and Jennifer Anderson; and four grandchildren.

Memorials in Ms. Sellman's name may be made to the Woodside Community Foundation or the American Cancer Society.


Posted by Liz Matchett, a resident of Woodside School
on Jan 12, 2010 at 11:49 am

I am so sorry to hear of Joan's passing. Two year's ago, in WCT's 2007 production of Music Man, I wore a costume that I know had been lovingly sewn by Joan for the Music Man cast back in the 1980s. I felt so happy to be wearing a garment that had been saved and passed on. I thought about the other productions I had participated in where Joan had done the costumes. She was a kind human being, and there is much to be said for that.

Posted by Barbara Wood, a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 12, 2010 at 12:03 pm

I too will miss Joan a lot. I met her at the Almanac, but I really came to know her while talking my morning walks in Woodside. She was always out walking, too, and I ran into her and stopped to chat several times a week. She cared a lot about her neighbors and her community, and served as a role model for me about how to remain active well into retirement.

Posted by Merrill Newman, a resident of another community
on Jan 13, 2010 at 9:59 pm

I was a classmate of Joan's from Kindergarten through UC Berkeley. We shared the same birthday and, thus, were "twins". I was the other gaduation speaker/valedictorian and we have stayed in touch all these years, as I have lived in Palo Alto for over 50 years.
She was a lovely lady and will be greatly missed by all who knew her.

Posted by Lorraine Bailin, a resident of Woodside School
on Jan 22, 2010 at 9:57 pm

I too, will miss Joan Sellman. She was truly a sweet lady. I would like to correct one date in your article. Mr. Sellman became a teacher at Woodside School for the 1957-58 school year as my eighth grade teacher and in my adulthood as my boss. He and Joan will be remembered always.

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