In Memoriam: Gary Sellers

04.04.07 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

Gary Sellers, who was an attorney, a cherry farmer, a former congressional aide, husband, father and many other things, died last month in a car accident.

“He was very interested in openness in government,” his wife Sally Determan said, and so the family asked fellow mourners to give donations to the FAS Project on Government Secrecy in lieu of flowers.

One of the first “Nader’s Raiders” who supported Ralph Nader’s consumer advocacy campaigns in the late 1960s, Sellers pleaded with Nader unsuccessfully in 2000 not to campaign against Al Gore in battleground states, the Washington Post noted in a March 24 obituary.

As a congressional staffer and attorney, he was instrumental in the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and in the development of miner safety laws.

“Millions of American workers who will never know his name are safer today because of Gary Sellers,” said one colleague.

A crowded March 30 memorial service for Mr. Sellers at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington contained much more laughter than might have been expected, but not any fewer tears.

Mr. Sellers was known to be generous to friends and strangers.

“At the end of the season, he always gave away what was left of his [cherry] crop,” the Rappahannock News reported on March 14.

Now his family and friends are expressing their own generosity with donations to the FAS Project on Government Secrecy to help promote open government in his memory. And that’s what we’re going to do.