In Memoriam for George Selden
George H. Selden (WHF 1983-84): 1947-2016George H. Selden of the WHF Class of 1983-84 died in December of 2016 and was buried at Arlington Cemetery in May of 2017. A selection of their remembrances are included below.
George’s family prepared the following words in celebration of his life:
George Henry Selden, Jr. passed away on December 23, 2016, after a 3-year battle with A.L.S. He was ready to join Jesus and passed peacefully with his wife, daughters, sons-in-law, oldest granddaughter, dear friends, John and Judy Rossi, and his two, remarkable care-givers present. He is survived by his immediate family: wife, Linda Gordy Selden, daughters Mandy McClelland and Amy Rowland. He is also survived by his sons-in-law, Kevin McClelland and David Rowland; grandchildren Aaron, Aaron’s wife Tiffany, Emma, Anna Grace, Allyson, Lily, Joshua, and Sophie McClelland; and Zachary, Abigail, Isabelle, and Andrew Rowland.
George was born on March 27, 1947, to Ouida Winn Selden and George Henry Selden in Washington, D.C. He grew up in Arlington, VA, and Rockville, MD. He attended Richard Montgomery High School, where he played football, sang with the choir, starred in the senior musical and graduated with honors. He then earned a BA at Dartmouth College, where he played football and was a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. Upon graduation George was commissioned in the U.S. Army as a Second Lieutenant in Air Defense Artillery (ADA). In addition, he was selected to be a Foreign Area Officer, specializing in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. He completed a 29-year career that included a tour in Viet Nam, several postings in the United States and Germany. During these 29 years, George was selected to be a White House Fellow (1984-1985); commanded 3/5 ADA battalion in Buedingen, Germany (1987-1989); attended the Army War College (1989-1990); served as an assistant in the office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during Desert Storm (1990-1992); commanded the 31st Air Defense Brigade at Fort Hood, Texas (1992-1994); and finished his career working with Attaches of other countries.
It was as a Second Lieutenant that George met Linda on a blind date. They married several months later and moved to George’s first military assignment, in Alaska. In true military fashion, Mandy was born in California and Amy in Germany. Despite the many moves of military life, the family stayed together enjoying the new sights and experiences. It was very difficult for George to ‘give away’ his daughters in marriage; however, the blessings of wonderful sons-in-law – along with the arrival of grandchildren -eased the feeling of loss.
During an assignment, at Fort Leavenworth, KS, in 1982, George and Linda gave their lives to Christ. From then on, George dedicated himself to growing in and living for Christ. His faith and spiritual insights benefited many people.
Upon retiring from the Army, George (and Linda) joined the staff of Christian Embassy, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ (CCCI). George ministered to senior leaders in the Pentagon, as well as to Presidential Appointees. He served as the director for the Embassy for over 3 years. With his international experience, George was asked to join another ministry of CCCI: Momentum Europe. That is what brought the Seldens to Florida. He loved Florida weather and the swimming pool. He also showed the love of Christ to everyone he met. As a result, anyone who came to do work around the house became a friend. He loved sharing his faith and the insights he would get from the Bible. Anyone who met him went away blessed.
George was also talented in various areas (golf not being one of them). He was an accomplished ‘pen and ink’ artist. He loved telling jokes and making puns. At one point in his life, he taught sailing. He really enjoyed snow skiing, which was a fun activity for the whole family.
Early in George’s Christian walk, a verse that came to mean a lot to him was Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” He truly lived these verses.
George was buried at Arlington Cemetery on May 31, 2017.
Remembrance from Wood Parker (WHF 1983-84): George was the “Army guy” and I was the “Navy guy.” We had many good hearted discussions about which service did more for our nation. George had a wonderful sense of humor, and he was rock solid in many ways – personal values, the importance of service, and devotion to God, country and family. His faith was a very important part of his life, and his character and demeanor were simultaneously strong and gentle. I am thankful to have had him as a WHF classmate.
Remembrance from Jim Muller (WHF 1983-84): George was the senior man in our class of White House Fellows, a stalwart contributor to discussion at our luncheons at 712 Jackson Place, and a fountain of sound advice and gentle humor.
Remembrance from David Neuman (WHF 1983-84): A very good man has left the stage. As I read the obituary, I’m glad it captured George’s faith and values. I know that for me, George really walked the walk in that regard, with humility, grace, and good humor. As Jim Muller pointed out, George was the senior member of our class, and I bookended in the other direction. As a result, George was very much a big brother to me, and I was always grateful for his mentorship and support (and patience!). What a blessing to have had him as a classmate–and role model.
Remembrance from James R. Kearl (WHF 1983-84): Memories of my association with George and others in the class of 1983-84 remain vibrant and fond.
Remembrance from Craig Coy (WHF 1983-84): George was one of three military Fellows in our class and served our nation in many ways. My recollection of George was as a “gentle giant”. His calm, reassuring demeanor brought much needed maturity and serenity to our gatherings. I’m sure he is with the angels. We lost a good man too soon.
Remembrance from Joe Lupica (WHF 1983-84): The words of my classmates brought back memories and evinced the depth of their feelings for each member of our little group and relationship we shared. Though I barely keep in touch, I routinely think of each individual as we are in touch, even as if we are all still together in DC. I will continue to think of George that way. This gentle bear of a man was powerful in his stature and in his beliefs. He never hesitated to tie our group and individual discussions to faith and patriotism, both of which he held dear. Still, he did not slip into the rigidity of platitudes that one might expect from such a man. His flexible ability to find uncommon links made me nod with an internal “of course.” Yet in many cases the point was not so obvious until George made that connection. One little example: I recall listening like a little brother to George explain how the concept of a strong national defense must go beyond the usual military focus to include a national attention to building strong citizens through educational, civic, and cultural enhancement of their lives. Sounded obvious, but only after I heard George articulate it – coloring his description with examples and making the connection seem simple. It pains me to hear of George’s passing, and especially of the monster that took his life. Somehow it seems that the Lord hands out the toughest experiences to those who have the inner strength to face them, and that he grants them and their families extra grace to bear, and even find peace in, such mighty struggles. We can all rest in the confidence that George’s faith and human willpower carried him through that dreaded disease, even though he knew he would not beat it in this world. That said, I’m sure he also knew he would soon walk with his Savior in the next. Perhaps that’s the last lesson our big brother left for all his friends near and far, including his distant classmates.posted: September 30, 2017