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John W. Sellers

Cedar Rapids

John W. Sellers, 102, died Wednesday, March 13, 2019, at Cottage Grove Place. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later day. Teahen Funeral Home and Cremation Service is serving the family.
John was born on April 13, 1916, in Wausau, Wis., and was one of three sons of Bessie and Harry Sellers. The family later moved to the Chicago suburbs and later, during the Depression years, farmed near Vandalia, Ill., and finally, moved to Macon near Decatur.
John was extremely interested in the "why" and "how?" from an early age, and demonstrated this keen involvement in science by graduating from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana with a B.S. in chemistry and earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Ohio State University in 1949. To help defray the college costs, he worked at Food Materials in Chicago, where he had a hand in developing artificial flavors including butterscotch and strawberry. While pursuing post-doctorate studies at OSU, he was granted a fellowship by the Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. to develop a method by which post-war synthetic rubber tires could be permanently colored black. Upon obtaining his Ph.D., John relocated to Akron, Ohio, and continued his employment with Firestone in their Research and Development Division. He met and married his wife, Lee, of Akron in 1944 and the young family began sprouting children, Rick in 1946 and Diane in 1951.
John would go on to opportunities with the Research Division of PPG Industries in nearby Barberton. In 1965, he answered the call to try life in the big city when he accepted a position with Tenneco in NYC and later, H.J. Heinz in Pittsburgh. He eventually retired as part-owner of technical research firm Interscience in Tampa, Fla. He later moved to Cedar Rapids in 2004 after the death of wife Lee, with whom he spent many years enjoying retirement including traveling, visiting his children and their respective families, or being the "go to person" when various entities in Florida encountered problems with their swimming pools!
John is survived by a daughter, Diane Heras of Wesley Chapel, Fla.; a son, Rick (Wanda) Sellers of Cedar Rapids; three grandchildren, Amy Ferrell of Golden, Colo., Loralee O'Malley and Tim Sellers, both of Marion; five great-grandchildren, Wendy and Jane Ferrell of Golden, Colo., Avia Sellers of Vinton and Brinlee and Caitlin O'Malley of Marion.
John was preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, Lee; two brothers, Seth and Verne Sellers; and a granddaughter, Mariella Heras.
Memorials may be directed to Camp Courageous.
Online condolences can be left at www.teahenfuneralhome.com.
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