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Robert Kenneth (Bob) Sells

Robert Kenneth (Bob) Sells

Robert Kenneth (Bob) Sells of Little Rock, veteran public relations professional and community activist, left this earth and entered the Church Triumphant on Monday, June 26, 2017.

Born October 29, 1932 in Kansas City, Missouri, Bob graduated from Westport High School in Kansas City, Missouri. Following service in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War, Bob enrolled at the University of Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia where he was awarded the Eugene Fields Scholarship, and inducted into Kappa Tau Alpha and Sigma Delta Chi.

With his BS degree in hand, Bob relocated to Texas to work for the Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce as Public Relations Director. He later became the Executive Director of the South Jefferson County United Way. While in Texas he was chosen as Outstanding Young Businessman by the YMCA.

It was in Texas where he met his wife Georgia McCoy. They were cast opposite each other in a community theatre play, and married six months later in June 1957. Two weeks ago, the Sells celebrated 60 years of marriage.

In 1961, Bob accepted a position in the public relations department of the former Southwestern Bell Telephone Company. With his first assignment in Little Rock, Bob moved his wife and infant daughter to Little Rock to begin a 30-year career in various jobs throughout SWBT, many of them as spokesperson for the company. Upon his retirement in 1990, Bob opened his own Public Relations/Marketing agency (now the Sells Agency), wrote a weekly column for the former Arkansas Gazette, and taught public relations classes at the University of Central Arkansas.

Throughout his career, Bob was an active leader in the Public Relations Society of America. In 1986 he was elected chapter president, and won the national Banner Award for best chapter among its size. He also launched the annual Prism Award competition, recognizing superior work in the profession. He was later elected PRSA Southwest District Director then to the board of directors of the prestigious Foundation for Public Relations Research and Education in New York. He would later be inducted into the national PRSA College of Fellow, comprised of only 350 professionals in the nation who have “left a significant footprint on the public relations profession.” His final recognition was in 2011 when the Arkansas Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators honored him with their “Communicator of the Year” award.

Bob was one of ten professionals to organize the Arkansas Chapter of Sigma Delta Chi/SPJ-SDX. He served as treasurer of the organization for many years, and as business manager for the popular bi-annual stage spoof, the Farkleberry Follies, and was also a regular cast member.

Bob’s volunteer and board leadership service could fill a book, maybe two. Organizations include the Arthritis Foundation (both state and national service), United Way of Pulaski County, Arkansas Opera Society (now Wildwood for the Performing Arts), Camp Aldersgate, Arkansas Med Camps, and America Field Service. At the behest of Governor Bill Clinton, he was also appointed to multiple years as a member of the Arkansas Literacy Commission.

Following his retirement from SWBTC, Bob became a vocal advocate for the rights of senior citizens, including two terms as president of the Arkansas Gerent Logical Society. Three governors appointed him to serve on the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Aging, serving as chairman of the statewide panel for two years. He also served on the inaugural advisory board of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences-Reynold’s Institute on Aging. In 1995, Bob was appointed by U.S. Senator David Pryor to represent Arkansas at the White House Conference on Aging, while Bill Clinton was President. Serving as a section leader, Bob was asked to make recommendations to the President for future legislative actions affecting seniors in the U.S.

Perhaps his favorite volunteer work began in 2004 when he and Georgia were asked to support the work of the William Jefferson Clinton Center and Library. Bob would write the first volunteer application, develop the first volunteer training program, and ultimately recruited, interviewed and trained almost 450 inaugural volunteers. After the grand opening, Bob would continue his service to the Clinton Library, and was a regular tour guide each and every Friday.

Bob truly loved his church – the United Methodist Church, especially Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church. Bob served in too many volunteer capacities to name – youth counselor, Sunday School leaders, Board of Stewards, Pastor/Parish Relations Committee, fundraiser, missions, Prime Timers, the Energizer Choir, Chief Cook and Bottle Washer too.

But his family was his favorite. He was a devoted husband to Georgia, a most engaged father to Stacy and Mike, and a fabulous BobBob to his grandchildren and great-children. His love for family was beyond words. It was simply special.

Sells leaves behind his wife, Georgia; two children, Stacy Sells (Tim Gauger) and Mike Sells (Bari); four granddaughters: Emily Sweeney (David), Olivia Abernathy (Jon), Allyson Gattin (Ryan) and Anna-Lee Pittman; and three great-grandchildren Avery, Annie and Owen, two nephews, Dean Sells (Peggy) of Parrish, Florida, and Bradley Sells of Houston, Texas; and an uncle, O.V. Sells of Fort Walton Beach, Florida. He also leaves behind sisters-in-law Alice McCoy and Kay Flynn.

Predeceasing him in death are his mother, Lena Maurine Bradley Sells, father, Raymond Hartley Sells, one brother, Raymond Bradley Sells, and his stepmother, Dorothy Sells.

In lieu of flowers or food, the family asks for memorial gifts sent to Pulaski Heights United Church-Music Ministry/Sanders Foundation, or to the Robert K. Sells Scholarship in Journalism, c/o Missouri School of Journalism, 103 Neff Hall, Columbia, MO, 65211.

A memorial service will be held Wednesday, June 28, 2017 at 3 p.m. in Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church with a reception to follow. Arrangements are under the direction of Ruebel Funeral Home, www.ruebelfuneralhome.com

Condolence Book

"Georgia, Stacy, Mike and family... Janet and I extend our deepest sympathy in Bob's passing. I am so sorry we will be unable to attend the service. We are out of town this week. Please know we are thinking of you all, dear friends. Randy"
Janet and Randy Hyde | Little Rock, AR | rhyde@phbclr.com

"We are so sad to hear of Bob's passing today. What a truly wonderful caring, giving person. He will truly be missed at PHUMC. Our prayers and best wishes to Georgia and family. We loved this man as so many did."
Gail and Rod Hocott | Little Rock, AR | ghocott7@gmail.com

"We lost a genuine hero. Sending prayers for all of you. I will never forget Bob's directing all of us crazy PHUMC teenagers in our summer plays!
"

Carol St. John Young | Little Rock, AR | cyoung1916@gmail.com

"We are so sorry for your loss and are praying for peace and strength for all of you at this difficult time. "
Michelle and Mark Mann | Little Rock |

"When we moved to Little Rock (a move back home for me, a brand new home for Jimmy), Georgia and Bob were among the first folks to welcome us...Georgia as our Realtor, Bob as the rapier-witted rapscallion, both of them as beloved neighbors at Treetops Condominiums.

We'll always cherish the memories of dear Bob holding court in the lobby at Treetops. The love he had for his sweet wife and family was palpable. His joyous humor happily infected all lucky enough to bask in his presence.

He shall be sorely missed, and so fondly remembered."

Drew Jansen and Jimmy Martin | Little Rock, AR | piano-men@comcast.net

"May the love of God and prayers of friends help you and your family. You are loved."
Randy and Diane Zook | Melbourne, AR | ddzook@aol.com

"Bob was a gentle man and a gentleman. His passion and dogged determination in pursuit of his beliefs was mitigated by his acceptance of all. He was unabashedly enthusiastic and is a model for a dynamic life. Honest and candid. Real.
A loss for the planet. "

Pat torvestad | Little rock, AR |

"Ernie and I are so sorry to hear this. Your dad was a great person and one of our favorite people."
Zoe D Oakleaf | Little Rock, AR | Oakleafs@aol.com

"I as countless others across Little Rock and the state have nothing but very fond and entertaining memories of your Bob. Looking back at my youth growing up at Trinity UMC and being an Arthritis Foundation kid, I would not have predicted that the joy, humor and kindness of a great group of old people (okay, they were younger back then than I am now!) would serve as such an inspiration on my life and many others.

I wish the Sells family peace and know that you all are so proud of what Bob accomplished not in business, but in life.

Best regards,

Mike"

Mike Steely | Little Rock, AR | mesteely@gmail.com

"Georgia, Stacy, Mike and the whole family -- deepest sympathy. "
Pat Page | Farmington, AR | PatKPage16@gmail.com

"I am so sorry to hear of Bob's passing. I'll miss smile, jokes and stories. Bob and I went on a mission trip to UMCOR Sager Brown in LA. He was quite the character. He will be missed.

"

Madeline Floyd | Little Rock, AR | madelinefloyd@sbcglobal.net

"Heaven has a new angel but he will add light and humor to the heavenly skies. One of the best men I have ever known he will be missed by many, but most of all by his family. Thoughts and prayers are with all of you during this time."
Jean and Dick Wallace | Little Rock, AR | Jrwallace6@sbcglobal.net

"Mike , Bari, Stacy and Family,
It is with a heavy heart to learn your father, father in law has passed. Please know you all are in my thoughts. "

Gina Marchese Pharis | Little Rock , AR | Ginapharis@gmail.com

"Heaven is a better place today. Our condolences to his loving family."
Pat McClelland | Little Rock, AR | Patmcclelland@icloud.com

"I am blessed to have known and been advised by Bob Sells, and my wife and I are blessed to have been welcomed by Bob and Georgia Sells as we were preparing to move to Little Rock in 1979. We thank God for Bob Sells, and for his wonderful personality and genuine sense of good will.

And, on a personal note, Bob Sells was a honest and gentle advisor to me as I was preparing to enter political life. "

Wendell Griffen | Little Rock, AR | judggriff@aol.com

"A man of immense personal charisma and character. Much love to Georgia, Stacy and the entire family."
George Mayo | Conway , AR | ar.fishinhole55@gmail.com

"Georgia, So sad to see this. I always looked up to Bob as a mentor. I credit him for having me move from broadcasting to the investment business. He will be missed."
Mike McKinney | Little Rock, AR |

"Bob Sells was a fine gentleman, wonderful father and husband, and an example for his community. We send our love and prayers to the family and for Bob.

Chip N' Cheryl Welch"

Chip and Cheryl Welch | North Little Rock, AR | mwelchatty@aol.com

"Georgia and Stacey,
My deepest condolences on your loss.
Bob was irreplaceable and we shall all miss his many good works and irrepresable humor.
Anne Wasson"

Anne Howard Wasson | Little Rock, AR | elizabethannewasson@gmail.com

"Although I never met Bob, his character and brilliance are reflected in his children, Mike and Stacy, two people I greatly admire. I regret I will be traveling on business and cannot attend the funeral. Peace and love to the Sells family.
"

Paul Sage | Little Rock, AR | paulsage7@gmail.com

"Bobbob has enriched so many lives with his wisdom, humor, compassion, and sincere love. A life well lived leaves a legacy to live on....forever. We love you forever! Liz & Mary"
Liz Lucker | Little Rock, AR | iamwalnut@sbcglobal.net

"Dear Family,
Grady and I were blessed to have crossed paths with Bob. He always gave us a chuckle! His dry humor was a welcomed treat each month as we worked on Telephone Times! What a legacy he left!
Love, Lisa Wooten"

Lisa Wooten | Little Rock, AR | lisa@magna4.net

"Georgia,Stacey,Allyson and Anna-Lee and Family,

Our hearts are heavy for you all. We all will miss his humor, love and warm smile. Know that you are loved and cared for by all your church family along with many others that crossed Bob's path. May peace be with you during these next days and months.

Much Love from us all,
Steve, Kim, Archer, Cait and Chet"

Steve & Kim Tribett & Family | Little Rock, AR | kahtribett@sbcglobal.net

"Dear mom, Stacy, Mike and all the other members of the family,
I am sad together with you for the loss of such a special person... shocked to read dad is no longer among us. It is only because of him that I started my career in journalism. There's so much more to say... Just now I don't have all the words. I'll be with you in thought and prayer when you say your last goodbyes to him. Love you all
Anuscka"

Anuscka Berghoef | Nijmegen | anuscka.berghoef@gmail.com

"I am so sorry to hear of Bob's passing. Heaven truly gained an angel. He and Georgia were such good friends to my parents and I looked forward to seeing him when I came home to visit. Such a great man with a great sense of humor and stories galore. May peace be with you all. My prayers are with you."
Becky Butler Staggs | Aurora , CO | rbsbbs1956@gmail.com

"Words cannot express the pain that has come to my heart since yesterday morning when Allyson texted me that you had passed away. That pain, however, is balanced by all the wonderful memories, thoughts, and love I have of and for you, Bobbob. Since I was a little boy, you have treated me as your own grandchild, a grandson you never had. We fit together well, considering we were both men surrounded by women, but lucky for both of us they were/are women that we love and that make us better men. I've always admired and still strive to emulate your undying commitment to your family, your friends, and those things that you are passionate about.

You, Georgia, and your amazing children have always been my second family and really a part of my first family, as you always accepted us into your lives and we always loved having y'all in ours.

I will never forget every Easter hunting for the golden egg at your house and finally finding it, fighting for my right to win it even as the only Jewish kid at the party. I will never forget your dry, cutting wit and humor that at a young age made me think hard about whether to laugh or cry but in my teens and onward made me smile and sometimes repeat. I will never forget your constant asking me when I was going to marry one of your granddaughters and all of us cringing and gagging; at least we got to see them marry great guys...and don't worry, I'll make sure Anna Lee ends up with a great guy too. I will never forget you always asking how my two favorite ladies (Liz and Mary) were and then reminding me how lucky I was to have them. I will never forget how proud I was every time I went to the Clinton Library and told them that I was friends with their top volunteer, Bob Sells, and better yet, to follow in your footsteps when I began giving tours while in graduate school; you always had a random piece of knowledge or story to add to my tour. I will never forget how impressed you were when I finally brought a girl home that wasn't one of your granddaughters and the look of awe and shock, always asking me how the hell I snagged someone so much better looking and smarter than I. Most of all I will never forget your smile and warm hugs every time I saw you, whether expected or not.

I love you, Bobbob, and always will."

Spencer Lucker | Washington, DC | spencer.lucker@gmail.com

"It was always good to see and speak with Bob at whatever activities the Prime Timers had going on at PHUMC. I so enjoyed his vast knowledge on limitless topics that he so eagerly shared. Sending my love and prayers. "
Judy McKellips Amith | Sherwood, AR | judymck59@att.net

"Stacy and Family,

I was so sorry to hear about your father's death. Cherish all of the wonderful memories you have of your husband, father, grandfather, and friend. May these memories you hold dear bring you comfort, peace, strength, and yes laughter in the days, weeks, and months ahead. Thinking of you all.
"

Elizabeth Regnier Sadler | Pine Bluff, AR | esadler1@att.net

"Dear Mrs. Sells and Family,
I was so sad to hear of Mr. Sells' passing; I had hoped to see him again one day soon. His quick wit and personality are missed at Treetops.

James and I are thinking of you, and you are in our prayers. May your wonderful memories give you much comfort.
James and Cheryl Davidson (the letter carriers from Treetops)"

Cheryl Davidson | Mabelvale, AR | cheryldavidson2006@yahoo.com

"Just seeing Bob's picture brings me joy! I will miss him just as everyone else will, and will continue to smile as I remember him."
Lou Ellen Stevens | Little Rock, AR | pookielou@comcast.net

" A PR Giant Has Entered Heaven's Gates!

Bob Sells was one of the most talented PR professionals in America. He mentored many young practitioners, old practitioners, too! He was passionate about our profession, but he did not use up all his passion on work. Family, faith and friends all received giant-sized love and attention from this PR giant. God's peace and blessings and comfort to the entire Sells family. "

Brenda Scisson | Little Rock, AR | bscisson@sbcglobal.net

"Our thoughts are with you all."
Wally and Dana Nixon | Jacksonville, AR | agentsofchange@gmail.com

"I am so sorry for the loss of this wonderful man. I will always remember him as making me laugh."
Cathy and James Webb | Bryant, AR | webbtalk@att.net

"My parents Bill and Sue Griep always spoke so highly of Bob and Georgia. My prayers are with your family. "
Julie Griep Luton | Carl Junction, MO | sjjjb@sbcglobal.net

"Bob was such an awesome person. Remember the late nights he and Georgia spent directing our zany summer plays, his booming laugh and sense of humor! He was one of my "heros"The Sells family will be in my thoughts and prayers!
Am sure God welcomed his good and faithful servant!"

Carolyn Henderson Miller | Brentwood, TN | chm1010@att.net

"And like Wendell, Bob would give me advice when I began my political career at Hendrix, though they may have been more helpful in casting me in Out of the Frying Pan! I still am laughing from our play and the first road trip to New Orleans, post production. What an amazing family who knew the gifts of enduring love! Peace be with you."
Bill | Louisville, KY |

"I'm so sorry for your loss, Stacy. But he sounded like an amazing man. What a blessing to have had him in your life and in our community. <3"
Ginny Blankenship | Little Rock, AR | vhblankenship@gmail.com

"Georgia and family, I was so sorry to learn of Bob's death and am sorry that I wasn't able to attend the service. My first assignment, as a founding volunteer at the Clinton Presidential Center, was to spend the day before the grand opening sitting at a table in the River Market promoting the big event. My table mate was Bob and we had such a good time getting to know each other. He was such a character and so much fun! Just thinking about him makes me smile. He was such a master at promoting anything and everything. My personal favorite thing that he promoted was Georgia's pimento cheese sandwiches. He will be missed but his legacy will live on. Thinking of you."
Ann Hedges | Little Rock, AR | amhedges2@aol.com

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