Duane  Arvid  Sellman

  Helmi Harrington & Duane Sellman in front of museum display                             Duane Sellman                   


These are the traits by which one remembers Duane Arvid Sellman. His life spanned only 48 years (1947-1995), but he lived them well. Though his heart failed, it was attributes of "heart" that created this great man.

Duane lived with integrity—was honorable, forthright, accepted family and community responsibility. He lived a Christian conscience, was content inside himself, and maintained balance between vulnerability and hubris.

Duane was the first person to recognize the profound importance of the accordion museum, library, and research center he helped to create. He was first to understand the impact of the technicians’ school (ARTS) on individual lives, occupational choices, and the national industry.

An avid musician himself, Duane drew from all around him, incorporating elements of style and technique as effectively as if he had years of specific training. Instead, as an autodidact he excelled in piano accordion, Chemnitz- and Anglo-concertinas, button diatonic- and chromatic accordions as well as piano and organ. As a pedagogue, his students learned well and easily what might have been difficult if mentored with less insight.

A conspicuously brilliant person, his accomplishments were astounding in several disparate fields. Duane reasoned at the level of a genius and worked with tenacity born of intense curiosity. Educated as an Electronic Engineer, he rose to the forefront of supercomputer development in an elite center that changed the industry and world standards. He was capable of abstract thought and intuitive leaps, made understandable to others by details and results.

As a painter, he developed traditional disciples with extraordinary rapidity. Although he probably did not reach the apex of his potential, this pastime produced creditable results that enriched his contemplative, creative nature.

Yet his was not a boisterous, separatist, or presumptuous spirit. Rather, he presented himself with modesty, reserve, and humility. Duane’s rational, highly intellectualized behaviors were dominated by genuine human warmth that retained long-term friendships and respect. Under a quiet exterior was a gregarious, fun-loving, fully mature man. He could sit in the grass and play with children as naturally as interact at board meetings.

Duane was a loving father who sought to inspire by example: he showed delight in life, confidence in moral compass, determination to defeat complacency, ongoing commitment to learning. May he rest in the surety that his accomplishments outlive his years on earth and set into motion much that impacts contemporary life.

And he remains beloved.

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