Terry D. Sellards


Died October 23, 1937 – March 5, 2014,San Francisco, CA

College: Calhoun
Major: History
Graduate School: UC Berkeley, Political theory, 1972; University of San Francisco, Theology, 1988


Terry Dean Sellards

A San Francisco resident and native of Oklahoma City,

Terry died March 5, 2014 at age 76.

He attended El Dorado (KS) H.S. and Yale, Emporia State and Wichita State universities.

A reporting job on The Wichita Eagle launched a far-flung journalism career. He was editor of the Berkeley and Richmond newspapers, Sing Tao’s English-language daily The Standard in Hong Kong, and Endangered Species magazine in Australia.

In a foray into civic work, he was an aide to Mayor Frank Jordan and chairman of the 50th-anniversary celebration of the Golden Gate Bridge.

In ill health in later years, he did PR work for the Tenderloin Neighborhood Devt. Corp. and for Door to Hope in Salinas.

He is survived by his sister, Jane West Trimm of Denver, a cousin, Pat Murphy, and nieces and nephews.

A memorial service is set for 7 p.m. Thursday, March 27th, at St. Agnes Church, 1025 Masonic Ave.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Mar. 23, 2014


I watched the class of ‘61 graduate on the Old Campus quad from a classroom in Phelps Hall. I had gone off the rails emotionally and was forced to resign from Yale short of graduation.

Believing that I was a total failure in life at 21, I returned to my native Kansas and spent most of my 20’s drinking, bouncing from one job to the next and coming to terms with my severe “mental illness.” In those days being “gay,” as we now call it, was classified a mental illness by the gods of psychology. And, being a closet gay in an all boys school led to dual life: typical student during the day and lonely misfit lurking around the New Haven Green, East Rock and Sterling Memorial Library seeking a sexual liaison at night.

At age 28, by accident more than design, I became a cub reporter at The Wichita Eagle, and my career path developed from there. I have since been Editor of the Berkeley Daily Gazette in the middle of the ‘60s social, sexual and political revolutions, a public relations executive and consultant in San Francisco, CEO of the Golden Gate Bridge 50th Anniversary Celebration, a Jesuit novice, Special Assistant “trouble shooter” for the Mayor of San Francisco where there is always a lot of trouble to shoot, Consultant to the Chairman of Sing Tao publishing in Hong Kong and Vancouver, founding Editor of Endangered Species international magazine in Tasmania, and public relations director for the nonprofit Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation serving the homeless and the poorest of the poor in San Francisco.

In sum, I think of my life as a wondrous adventure. I didn’t achieve great historic things like I thought I would as an undergraduate. But I have rarely been bored, have made my modest contributions to people and institutions, and enjoyed a superabundance of richness in friends and experiences. Home base has been the City of San Francis with its iconic physical and architectural beauty and exciting mix of cultures, nationalities and its strong sense of independence. And, I have intermittently lived and worked in Canada, Australia and Hong Kong.

But in reflecting on my journey, I must give Yale credit for being the most powerful influence in my life. It was there that this child of the Midwest learned of the wider world, gained historical perspective on where the human family had been and where it might go, and most important learned to think for myself. That need to honestly “check it out” is responsible in large measure for my successes in journalism and other professional and personal pursuits.

For decades, friends have urged me to write a book about my fascinating, if sometimes crazy, life. My response has always been, “I’ll write when I have something to say.” That time has come. And I have the time to do it as I convalesce from quadruple bypass surgery and narrowly surviving a near-death Code Blue hospital alert. The working title is “Code Blue.”