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Born: Sep 19, 1920

Date of Passing: Mar 08, 2020

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With great sadness we announce the passing of Richard Frederick Sellen on March 8, 2020, at the age of 99. Mary, his wife of 71 years, was at his side when he passed peacefully to his reward in heaven.
Richard was one of 11 children of Raymond and Elizabeth Sellen. He was predeceased by siblings, Esther, Evelyn, Raymond, Douglas and Frances; and survived by Helen, Andrew, John, Robert and George.
Richard was father to children, David (Sandra), Terence (Marylou), Linton (Deborah), Hilary (Mark) and Vanda (George).
He was the grandfather of Lindsay (Jonathan), Andrea (Daniel), Lauren (Matthew), Graham, Robert, Jeffrey (Autumn), Elizabeth, David (Noushin), Jennifer (Michael), Catherine (Jordan), Michael (Casey), Marcus (Brittany), Allisa (Tyler), Richard (Rachel), Jessica (Austin) and Nicholas; as well as the great-grandfather of Ava, Wyatt, Rhys, Paxton, Eliza, Eli, London, Hannah, Remington, Emma and Oliver.
Richard was born September 19, 1920, near Oakbank, Manitoba, and attended school in Oakbank to grade 10, which was the highest grade at the time. Leaving school, he went to work with his father in the construction trade. When grade 11 became available, he returned to school, but left again when the Second World War broke out in Europe. Having a passion for mathematics allowed him to pass exams for entry to pilot training in the R.C.A.F., without the formal education. Four years as a bomber pilot in Europe were survived only with incidents of divine intervention on several occasions. He left the military with the rank of Flying Officer.
Returning to civilian life after the war, Richard admitted to a restlessness that drove his passionate pursuit of whatever caught his interest.
He married Mary McLeod in 1949 and with money he had saved during his time in the Air Force, he bought a truck and started a construction business with his brothers, Raymond and Douglas. By the 1960s, Sellen Brothers Contractors was the largest employer in Springfield.
In sports, Richard played on, or managed, three baseball teams at the same time, was the driving force in organizing local hockey and later curling clubs. At other times golf and flying became the focus of his endless energy.
In early years Richard never spoke of the war but as he grew older, he resumed flying and attended several Air Force reunions in England. He increasingly spoke of the war. He shared, with much emotion, of the sacrifices of those who served and his annual appearance at the Remembrance Day services made him the face to the community of those ancient combatants and of conflicts past.
The trademark of Richard's 99 years was that same restless energy and his refusal to stop, or be denied, what he had decided needed to be done.
It is as if Kipling foresaw the life of Richard Sellen when he wrote:

"If you can fill the unforgiving minute
with sixty seconds worth of distance run..."

Still, behind the constant motion, there lay a generosity, tenderheartedness, and kindness for family and friends and a genuine caring for people. His abiding love for his wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren was evident in all that he said and did. They were his pride and joy. He will be sadly missed by them all.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, March 14, 2020, at Oakbank Baptist Church, 26033 Springfield Road, Oakbank, Manitoba at 11:00 a.m. Interment at Sunnyside Cemetery.

The family requests that condolences and memories can be shared on Richard's memorial page by visiting

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Mar 11, 2020

Condolences & Memories (12 entries)

  • I am deeply sorry for your loss. I remember many times that our families spent together in the community especially with Dad (Fred) and Dick coaching the women softball team. Our thoughts are with you. - Posted by: John and Betty-Jean Armstrong (nee Argle) (Family friend) on: Apr 22, 2020

  • It is a sad time for us all. I wanted to share my earliest memory of Uncle Dick. It was probably around 1957 or 58 when I was 3 or 4 years old and we were living in a small "green" temporary house behind Sellen Bros shop next to the railway in Oak Bank. I had wandered over to the ball diamond (which was where Kin Place is now) and was sitting alone on the east side benches outside of the fence watching the women's team, coached by Uncle Dick, practicing. Suddenly I was watching a foul ball up in the air and hearing everyone yelling to "look out!" Like the comedian said, "I couldn't figure out why it kept kept getting bigger and bigger, and then it hit me!" I got it right in the forehead. The next thing I remember is crying and being in Uncle Dick's arms while he carried me home. I specifically remember him kidding me out of crying by saying it couldn't have hurt because it was a "soft ball" while I argued that it was HARD. Alison's and my thoughts are with Aunt Mary and the family. We all share your loss. - Posted by: Ron Sellen (Nephew) on: Apr 09, 2020

  • Our deepest, heartfelt sympathy to Mrs. Mary Sellen and all the Sellen family in the loss of their dear husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Richard (Dick) Sellen. He will long be remembered as first and foremost a pillar of the community with his kindly ways and generous nature in all of his endeavours. A man of rare courage and loyalty, he will long be remembered in the R.M. of Springfield as an outstanding citizen and compatriot. Words cannot adequately express Dick's contribution to the community and all who knew him will forever remember all of his attributes. We are so sorry for his loss--and remember him always with a great deal of honour, esteem and respect. Hilary, Llewelyn, Darlene, Laureen and Gerry Taylor - Posted by: Gerry Taylor (acquaintance) on: Mar 14, 2020

  • What a lovely and interesting person. Whenever he was in the dealership he and I spoke about the war. We had something in common - my Mum was born in England and went through the Blitz and then came to Canada as a war bride - lots of stories to share between us. An amazing, funny and kind man. It was my privilege to have met him. My sincere sympathies. - Posted by: Carole Gauthier (Friend (Melnick Motors, Beausejour)) on: Mar 12, 2020

  • What a great and wonderful man. I always so enjoyed my conversations with uncle Dick. He was such a kind man and a great jokster! He did share some stories of the war with me and I was absolutely riveted with these. I will always cherish these memories. My condolences to family. Nancy Lotti - Posted by: Nancy (Neice) on: Mar 12, 2020

  • To Mary and family - our condolences to you all for the loss of your husband, dad, grand-father and great-grandfather. He was a friend and supporter to many in the community. We could all appreciate his friendship and the example he was in the Oakbank area. He was welcoming to all and his humor was endearing! He had gone on to his reward. The community will miss him. With love and prayers - Irv and Lil Koop - Posted by: Irv and Lil Koop (Friends) on: Mar 11, 2020

  • My deepest condolences on the loss of your father. What a wonderful life he lived with the love of all his family. - Posted by: Cheryl (Malyk) Zelenitsky (Friend) on: Mar 11, 2020

  • Deepest condolences to the Sellen family. - Posted by: Dave Harrison (Friend) on: Mar 11, 2020

  • We were sorry to see the loss to your family in Richards passing, and send our most sincere condolences . - Posted by: Janet and Leon Moen (Andrews family) on: Mar 11, 2020

  • Often saw Richard at the mail boxes across from the hotel in Oakbank. He was always friendly and polite, we would chat briefly many times. All this time, I had no idea he was such an accomplished man with such an incredible and interesting life! His wife and children are blessed! 71 years married, that in itself is a major celebration. Sorry for your loss, of a life well lived. Condolences to his loving wife and family. Kathy and Bill Fecio - Posted by: Kathy Fecio (Acquaintance ) on: Mar 11, 2020

  • Vanda and George - please accept my condolences for the passing of your father (in-law). From one born as a Springfielder to another, sorry for the loss of a great Springfield icon. - Posted by: Dianne (nee DeVisser) (knew his daughter from school) on: Mar 11, 2020

  • So sorry for your loss. He sounds like an amazing man and father. God bless. Brenda and Don - Posted by: Brenda McEachern (Friend) on: Mar 11, 2020

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