Jesse MacDowell Sellers, Jr. passed away Sunday morning, April 2, 2017, at age 92. He was born in Chatsworth, Georgia and was the son of the late Jesse McDowell Sellers, and Clara Belle Moore Sellers. He was a graduate of Murray County High School, Chatsworth, Georgia, and matriculated to Mars Hill University, Mars Hill, North Carolina. While at Mars Hill, he interrupted his studies and joined the U.S. Navy where he was stationed in San Diego, California during World War II. He completed his undergraduate degree and enrolled at Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. During the completion of his education, he also enrolled in the U.S. Army reserves and continued to serve his country. Upon receipt of his Juris Doctorate degree from Mercer University, Mr. Sellers entered into private practice, and was also elected as a City Court Judge in Lafayette, Georgia. While in private practice, his Reserve Unit was activated and Mr. Sellers served as a JAG officer in Korea and received the Army Commendation of Honor and a Bronze Star. Upon returning home, he met and married Saralyn Long, of Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1955, and shortly thereafter accepted a position with the U.S. Department of Justice in Miami, Florida. His career trajectory took he and his family to Atlanta, Georgia, San Antonio, Texas, and Denver, Colorado, and culminated in his appointment as an Immigration Judge in 1976. He worked on a number of key issues including the Iranian Crisis and Mariel Boatlift, and also served on the The Board of Immigration Appeals. He remained on the bench until retiring in 1991. He remained an Army reservist throughout his career and retired from the reservists in 1981.
Judge Sellers and his wife enjoyed many years of extensive travel that took them all over the world and included Africa, Asia, Australia, Central America, Europe, Mexico, South America, and Turkey. He enjoyed many hobbies throughout his life such as gardening, history, fishing, foreign languages, politics, sailing, and volunteering. His biggest interest was his family. In 2003, he and his wife relocated to Amelia Island, Florida to be near family and were active members of the community. A man of deep and quiet faith, Mac had served as an elder and most recently belonged to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.
In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his sister, Martha Jones, Gadsden, Alabama and a nephew, Howard Boyce Connell Jr., Atlanta, GA. He leaves behind his wife of almost 62 years, Saralyn Sellers, Jacksonville, Florida, their children, Charles (Kim), Littleton, Colorado, Kimberly (Harold), Centreville, Virginia, and Marc (Tammy), Jacksonville, Florida, five grandchildren, Rachel, Naomi, Callie, Jackson and Adeline, a sister, Ruth Connell of Durham, NC, nieces, a nephew and extended family and many friends.
Funeral Services will be at 11:00 am on Thursday, April 6, 2017 at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Fernandina Beach with the Reverend Rector Stephen Mazingo officiating. Judge Sellers will be laid to rest with full military honors in St. Peter’s Episcopal Cemetery. His family will receive friends on Wednesday from 5:00 – 7:00 pm at Oxley Heard and a reception will be held following the services on Thursday in Burns Hall at St. Peter’s Church.