Herschel V. Sellers Jr.
Courtesy of his niece, Julie Clark

My Uncle, Herschel Vernon Sellers, Commanding Officer of the USS Laffey '53-'55, passed away peacefully, on Wednesday, May 10th and was buried next to his wife, Bobby, in the Chattanooga National Cemetery.

He was always so proud of his service on the Laffey and was thrilled that funds were raised for the ongoing repairs.

A few years ago, I came to the Laffey workweek, in his honor and was able to meet so many of the wonderful men who served on the ship. I took pictures and shared them with Herschel and it bought back many memories for him.  He remained honorable until the day he died.

Regards, Julie Clark

Herschel V. Sellers Jr.
Captain of the USS Laffey


Jr. Herschel V. Sellers Jr., of Lookout Mountain, Ga., a retired naval officer and UTC math professor, died on Tuesday, May 10, 2011. He was 93. He was born in Baxley, Calif., in 1917 and received degrees from the U.S. Naval Academy and Purdue University. Mr. Sellers was awarded the Bronze Star medal for meritorious service during WW II and his ship the USS Wiley on which he was an executive officer received the Presidential Unit Citation.

After the war his assignments included tours of duty on both the U.S. Navy destroyers the USS Ellyson and the U.S. Laffey as the commanding officer. He displayed a courageous effort to rescue the survivors aboard the listing aircraft carrier USS Yorktown during the Battle of Midway, a turning point of WW II.

Herschel's caring spirit and boundless energy led him to give generously of his time and resources in helping others. He was a member of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Lookout Mountain, Tenn., where he served on the vestry, sang in the choir, and was manager of plant operations. He volunteered at Orange Grove Center, Scenic Land School, North Chattanooga Neighborhood House, and Erlanger Hospital.

He was a charter member of the Chattanooga Tennis Foundation and served as the treasurer of the Chattanooga Tennis Association.  Herschel was a member of the Chattanooga Civitan Club, the Mountain City Club, the Fairyland Club, and the Manker Patten Tennis Club. As an accomplished tennis player he was active in the sport throughout his life playing until a few months ago.

He was preceded in death by Robinette Bell Sellers, his wife of 65 years.  He is survived by his children, Suzanne (Bill) Gaither, of Cary N.C., Herschel (Carolyn) Sellers III, of St. Louis, Mo., and Mary (David) Gott, of Lookout Mountain, Ga.; sisters, Willanelle Wilcox, Esta Fredrikson, Julie Hailey and Betty Bennett; grandchildren, Wren Sellers, Jeffrey Gaither, Whitney Gott, Chloe Sellers and Susanna Gott; many nieces and nephews and devoted family friend, Alice Howell.

A memorial service will be held noon Monday, May 16, at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Lookout Mountain, Tennessee. Family will receive friends one hour before the service in the parish hall. Interment will follow at Chattanooga National Cemetery.

The family would like to thank the staff at the Manorhouse Living. Sellers was chosen to be part of the Veterans History Project. His interview can be accessed online in the Library of Congress.  Arrangements are by Wann Funeral Home.


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