March 1, 1925 ~ March 7, 2019
John Randolph Sellars passed away March 7, 2019. Born 1925 in Fort Stanton, New Mexico to Ellen Cavanaugh Sellars and James Wesley Sellars, he grew up there and in Santa Fe. He attended New Mexico State University earning an electrical engineering degree in June 1945.
After finishing college, he worked at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory on ramjet development. A year after the war, he attended the University of Michigan, earning a Master’s in Physics, and a Doctorate in Aeronautical Engineering. Here he met and married the love of his life, Ethel. In 1954 he was appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Aeronautical Engineering.
In 1955 John joined the Ramo Wooldridge Corporation (later TRW) in California, where he worked on the ballistic missile program, in particular solving the ballistic-reentry problem. Later he supervised technical support groups evaluating structures, chemistry, aerodynamics, and ordnance. In his last position at TRW he served as Vice-President and General Manager of the Energy Systems Division, responsible for chemical research, energy systems, and Uranium isotope separation. He retired in 1986 after 31 years at TRW.
In 1983 John was named Distinguished Alumnus of the Year for the School of Engineering by New Mexico State University. In 1996 he was named Centennial Distinguished Alumni in recognition for his contributions to aerospace engineering research and development. In 1986 at the Engineering Aspects of Magneto-Hydrodynamics Symposium he received Special Recognition for his contributions to power generation by coal-fired magneto-hydrodynamics.
John loved to travel and, with his wife Ethel, visited much of the U.S. and many countries overseas. He loved reading, classical music, and sailing, which he took up in California. Although challenged by serious illnesses throughout his life, he considered himself extremely lucky and happy. He stated that the end of an Ogden Nash poem best expresses his thoughts:
Here lies my past
Goodbye I have kissed it
Thank you kids
I wouldn’t have missed it!
John Sellars is survived by his son, Chris Sellars (Pam) of Redondo Beach and his daughter Mary Ellen Barnes (Phil) of San Pedro.
His Celebration of Life will be April 11, 2019 at 1:00 PM, at the King Harbor Yacht Club in Redondo Beach.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Cedar Sinai - Tom Collier Memorial Fund c/o KHYC 280 Yacht Club Way, Redondo Beach, Ca 90277 or Learning Ally (formerly Reading for the Blind) 20 Roszel Rd, Princeton, NJ 0
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