Edward Sell III, a retired lawyer and civic leader who was an early board member of the Peyton Anderson Foundation, died Thursday. He was 80 years old.
A visit is scheduled from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on January 2 at Hart’s Mortuary and Cremation Center (6324 Peake Road in Macon) at the Dome. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on January 3 at Mulberry United Methodist Church, with Reverend Creede Hinshaw as celebrant.
Born July 4, 1941, Sell graduated from the University of Georgia Law School in 1965 and served in the United States Naval Reserve from 1966 to 1972. He worked for Justice Bond Almand of the Supreme Court from Georgia, then joined his father in the Sell & Comer law firms; Sell, Comer & Popper then Sell & Melton. He was named Lawyer of the Year by the Macon Bar Association in 1999 and has received numerous awards from magazines and professional associations.
His philanthropic and board work has extended beyond the Peyton Anderson Foundation and has included local libraries and the Mulberry Street United Methodist Church.
Sell, who has represented various businesses and government entities during his career, worked as general counsel for the Telegraph for decades, a role his father, Ed Sell Jr., previously held.
“Ed Sell’s death is a deeply profound loss for the Peyton Anderson Foundation,” said Karen Lambert, president and CEO of the foundation. “He was the only remaining member of the foundation’s original board of directors and his voice and wisdom has always been a guiding force in the foundation’s actions.
“Ed combined a disciplined mind with a deeply caring heart. Kindness and compassion emanated from the core of his life. He will be remembered as a guiding star of the foundation’s best work, and his presence and influence left an indelible mark on the foundation and on the lives of those who served with him.
Gil Thelen, a medically trained journalist and community advocate for Middle Georgia Parkinson’s, had known Sell for over 40 years and worked with him after Sell’s Parkinson’s diagnosis to educate and create fitness opportunities for other people struggling with the disease.
“He was such a big supporter of the First Amendment,” Thelen said. “He was a very gentle, very kind, very dignified man. His faith was deep and he loved his community, wanted to see it function as well as it could. “
Thelen said Sell helped launch an exercise program for people battling Parkinson’s disease at Middle Georgia State University, PD Fit, earlier this year.
“Ed was very enthusiastic about joining our work in educating people who had just been diagnosed about their condition and what to expect,” Thelen said. “Exercise is essential for living well with Parkinson’s disease. Ed helped get in touch with the President of the State of Central Georgia and helped us get the necessary start-up funds [for PD Fit]. He gave us a hell of a dose of adrenaline to be able to move forward with the program.
Barbara Stinson worked at the Macon News and later the Macon Telegraph for 31 years, and for many of those years Sell was the newspaper’s lawyer. She said Sell was a “wonderful person,” a strong, stable lawyer who relied on his knowledge of the law, not courtroom tips.
“He was a true gentleman from the South,” said Stinson. “As much as he was a good lawyer, he was also an even better citizen and very active in the community. He will be sorely missed.
Sell is survived by his wife of 24 years, Lenore; her children and their spouses, Scott and Nancy Sell, Mary Lee and Reed Watts, and Shannon Caldwell and David Haas; and her grandchildren, Josh, William, Sadie Beth and Haynes Sell, and Ellie and Sarah Reed Watts.