Cover photo for Gail Sells's Obituary
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1946 Gail 2015

Gail Sells

July 4, 1946 — September 17, 2015

Gail Ann (Nelson) Sells, of Park Rapids, passed away on September 16, 2015. Gail was born in Chisholm, Minnesota on July 4, 1946. She graduated from Warroad High School and went on to earn her Bachelor's Degree, Master's Degree and special education and administrative licensure. She taught at Park Rapids Area High School for 16 years. In addition to teaching, she counseled students, assisted students in establishing the SADD (Students Against Driving Drunk) organization, worked with students to sponsor the Post-Prom Parties, coached, served as junior class advisor, provided after-school support groups, and developed and taught a Teen Issues class. She also accompanied groups of students to week-end PIP (Partners in Prevention) retreats throughout the state. Gail served on the Park Rapids Hospice Board, was a Girl Scout leader, and she assisted in planning and implementing a summer camp for persons with developmental disabilities. She also served as Senior Warden and lay reader at Trinity Episcopal Church. She received the Business and Professional Women's "Woman of the Year" award, the Park Rapids School District "Staff Appreciation Award", the Minnesota Community Service Award" presented by Governor Rudy Perpich, and was the Park Rapids nominee for the Minnesota Teacher of the Year Award. In 1991, Gail completed her Administrative licensure and for the remainder of her years in education, served as a high school principal (Red Lake Falls, MN) elementary/high school administrator and superintendent (Win-E-Mac School, Erskine, MN). Whatever her position, she always remained focused on the needs of students. She continued to assist in implementing programs to recognize student achievement and always searched for ways to broaden students' and teachers' horizons. She very much enjoyed working directly with students and could often be found substituting in a classroom when there was a need. She assisted in providing teachers from Haining, China the opportunity for six teachers to come to the Win-E-Mac School for a three-month teaching/learning experience. Gail retired in 2002 and returned to Park Rapids. Above all else, she enjoyed spending time with family and travelling. Wherever she travelled, her interest in education remained. She would visit schools in other countries and loved the opportunity to interact with students. In 2003, she and husband Don travelled to Haining, China and spent 3 weeks teaching in classrooms there and reconnecting with teachers from China who had the opportunity to spend time at the Win-E-Mac School. Gail would spend countless hours creating a book mark for each student with whom she might come in contact. Her labor of love was always well received no matter the country. Surviving in her immediate family are her husband Donald whom Gail married in 1967; daughter Melissa (Dave) Vold of Bemidji; grandchildren Taylor Sells of Park Rapids; grand- daughter MacKenzie Pierce of Bemidji; grandson Samuel Pierce of Bemidji; great grandson Cameron Pierce of Bemidji; brother Jeff (Vicky) Nelson of Virginia, MN; brother in law, Leon (Karen) Sells of Park Rapids as well as several aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, cousins and beloved dog, Newton. She was preceded in death by her parents and her son Christopher in 2010. Throughout her life, Gail was a teacher, mentor, friend, care giver, an advocate for those who couldn't speak for themselves, a wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and more. She will be remembered for her generosity, concern for others, and above all else her deep love for her family. She will be greatly missed by all. A service in celebration of Gail's life will be held September 26, 2015 at the Jones-Pearson Funeral Chapel at 10:30am. A private family burial at Greenwood Cemetery in Park Rapids will be held at a later date. Gail's family prefers memorials to an organization of your choice.
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