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Mary "Kay" Sells, Jan. 7, 1920 — Sept. 11, 2013, formerly of Columbia

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 | 4:55 p.m. CDT

Mary Kathryn “Kay” Sells, 93, of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, formerly of Columbia, Missouri, passed away on September 11, 2013 in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

Kay was born January 7, 1920, the oldest daughter of eight children, on a farm in Columbia, Missouri, to Vera Mae Bandy Jacobs and Reuben Turner Jacobs.

Kay completed elementary and high schools in Columbia. She graduated from Christian College with an AA, and from the University of Missouri with a B.S. in Education. She furthered her education at the University of Virginia. Kay taught school in Hannibal, Mo.; Madrid, Spain; and Arlington, Va. She learned IBM punched card accounting and was introduced/recognized by Thomas Watson (CEO and President of IBM) at a dinner in New York.

On June 2, 1941 she married O.V. Sells. She is survived by O.V., her devoted and loving husband of 72 years and their four children, Sharon Meginnis of Chapel Hill, NC; Judy Altshuler (husband Jerry) of Prescott, AZ; Vicki Schuler (husband Charlie) of Navarre, FL; and Scott Sells (wife Kim) of Fort Walton Beach, FL. They have nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren. Kay’s love, tireless work ethic, and selfless devotion will be missed by all fortunate enough to have known her.

Kay was active in Girl Scouting for over 70 years. She volunteered her service in various capacities from troop leader, to trainer, to camp director, to international spokesperson. She particularly enjoyed training in the “out-of-doors” to include a month in Argentina and 10 days in Bermuda, as well as participating in the “International Friendship” program. She developed friendships throughout the world. She dined with Lady B. Powell and served as Chair of “Our Cabana Friends” for 6 years. At her passing, she was still serving on a committee with Princess Benedikte of Denmark. Kay accompanied 10 senior Scouts to Sri Lanka in 1978. She took troops to the Guide House in Savannah, GA, to “Our Cabana” in Quernavaca, Mexico, and camping in the mountains of Spain. Kay started American Girl Scouting in Spain in 1957. She also served as Commissioner to the European Council and chaired the Voice of America Scouting Panel. She promoted interaction between the scouting programs of Spain and the USA. In 1979 Girl Scouts USA presented her with the Juliette Lowe World Friendship Medal.

Kay gave selflessly to organizations and communities around the world. In 1978 Columbia College honored Kay with the Distinguished Alumni Award for her many volunteer activities. She was active in the American Red Cross, Cancer Society, United Way, and League of Women Voters. She served three terms as President of the independent living facility she resided at in Fort Walton Beach. She enjoyed travel, helping others, and corresponding with her many friends around the world.

A Celebration of Life will be held at Westwood in Fort Walton Beach on Saturday, September 14, 2013 from 4:00pm – 5:30pm.

In lieu of flowers the family suggest contributions be made in Kay’s honor to: Columbia College, Attn: Science Project, 1001 Rogers Street, Columbia, MO 65216


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