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J.S. "Jack" Sellmeyer

Mar 26 1941 - Nov 02 2023

J.S. "Jack" Sellmeyer was born in Carlsbad, New Mexico on March 26, 1941, the son of Ralph and Gwen (Spradley) Sellmeyer.  He attended Carlsbad Public Schools through graduation in May 1959.  He attended New Mexico State University from 1959 through 1963, at which time he transferred to Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering in December 1965.

During his last three years of High School, he worked at KAVE Radio & TV as a technician.  He was appointed Chief Engineer of KGRT, Las Cruces, New Mexico in October 1959 and continued working in that position through the spring of 1963.  While at KGRT he oversaw a power increase for the station from 1000 watts to 5000 watts.  He supervised construction of a building addition to accommodate new studios and a new transmitter during this period.  He also did the planning and FCC application for an Educational FM station at New Mexico State University.  The application was granted in 1963 and he oversaw the installation of studio and transmitting equipment for the Station which became KRWG-FM.  The station was the first part of the newly established Department of Radio, Television and Film Journalism under the direction of Harvey Jacobs.

While at Arizona State University he worked full-time for station KRUX, the leading Top Forty station in the Phoenix market.  A 'means to an end', the income from the station paid all his expenses and put good food on the table!

Following graduation, he began working for Collins Radio Company in Dallas, Texas in the Product Support Department as a Field Engineer in the early spring of 1966.   He was sent to Southeast Asia on a US Army communications project to train Signal Corps personnel in the setup, maintenance and adjustment of the Collins supplied equipment.

In June 1967, he changed jobs and relocated to the San Francisco Bay area of California, settling in Mountain View, California.  During his time in California he worked for Bauer Electronics, then a division of Granger Associates, as an Electrical Engineer responsible for design and production support of the Bauer Product Line.

In late June 1968 he met Jeannine at his neighbor's apartment in Mountain View.  She had just arrived from Michigan to teach in the Los Altos School District and was very enthusiastic about teaching and her move to California.  Jack and Jeannine began dating a week later and knew by late fall that they would spend the rest of their lives together.  As happens with all good jobs in neverneverland, a layoff hit Granger in the fall leaving two thirds of the company without jobs.  Jack hung around until New Year's Day of 1968 living off savings and having a great time with Jeannine.  At that time, he relocated to Quincy, Illinois to take a new job with Gates Radio Company while Jeannine stayed behind to finish the school year.  By this time, they had set the date for their wedding for June 28, 1969.  A two-week paid vacation was negotiated with Gates Radio so they could have time for a brief honeymoon and resettlement in Quincy.

They lived in Quincy until the fall of 1970 at which time they relocated to Cleveland, Ohio where Jack took a job as Chief Engineer of Radio Station WGAR, a station with a rich heritage in the industry which had fallen on hard times.  A complete modernization of the Format was underway and planning for new studios was about to begin.   This turned into a two- and one-half year nonstop race to add two new additions to the transmitter building, a beautiful 1940's era Art Deco Building, the first to house general offices and four new studios.  A year later a second addition was added to house a second 50 kilowatt transmitter.

Following completion of the Cleveland project, a change of management resulted in a return to Collins Radio Company in 1973, by then a division of Rockwell International in Dallas.  Jack was hired as a Senior Project Engineer in the Broadcast Department where he worked on several cost reduction projects and new audio equipment and transmitter designs.  During this time, he participated in the restoration of Collins’ reputation as a leading supplier of high-quality Broadcast Transmitters and Audio systems.  The Collins Broadcast Division was sold to Continental Electronics in Dallas and ultimately closed because of a "Strategic Decision to Redeploy Assets", an unfortunately common term in the world of corporate America.

With a generous severance package, Jack started a private Engineering Practice in the broadcast business based in McKinney, Texas.  That business flourished and continued for almost 40 years until his soft retirement in 2017.  Along the way, he designed and constructed numerous Radio Broadcast Studio and Transmitter Plants, later specializing in AM Broadcast Allocations and the resulting Directional Antenna Systems required for many of those allocations.  As a result of this work, he travelled all over the United States for private individuals, businesses, and large corporations.  One of his proudest industry achievements was the purchase and relocation of the 620 AM station from Wichita Falls, TX to New Hope, TX.  He led a group in the purchase of the station, completed the complicated engineering to establish a new signal over the DFW market, and re-established the Big Band/Oldies format of KAAM that had previously disappeared from 1310 AM.

Late in his career, he was honored by the National Association of Broadcasters in 2009 with the NAB Engineering Achievement Award for Radio, an award which is presented to one individual annually at the Association's annual convention.  In 2014, he was recognized by the Texas Association of Broadcasters with their prestigious George Marti Award for Engineering Excellence.

Over the years Jack was an active member of several industry societies where he served on various committees, contributed to industry workshops and seminars, published some articles, and mentored many others over his long and distinguished career.  He was a licensed Professional Engineer in Ohio and Texas and was listed as co-inventor on three patents as well.  He would say he was a fortunate man that was able to a carve out a career in the industry he loved, doing it his own way, which by the way is the correct way!  He turned many colleagues and customers into great friends during that journey.

Jack was a faithful and active member of First United Methodist Church in McKinney for four decades, and later Creekwood UMC in Allen.  His few hobbies included voracious reading, flying as a private pilot until his 40’s, and collecting, scrounging, and restoring various broadcast equipment to use in his business or amateur radio activity.  Over the last decade or so, he immensely enjoyed weekly BBQ lunches with his fellow broadcast enthusiasts from the DFW area.  His happiest place was in his giant “Playpen” tinkering with his vast collection of equipment and sharing the joy of the industry with his many friends.  He had an encyclopedic knowledge of virtually everything in the broadcast industry.

Jack was married to Jeannine, the love of his life for over 54 years, and took immense pride in the lives of his two sons.  

He is survived by Jeannine and his beloved cat, Maggie, of Lucas, Texas; son, Scott and his wife Regan of Wichita, Kansas; son, David and his wife Kristie; grandson, Anders of Basalt, Colorado.

A memorial service will be held 3:00 p.m. Sunday, November 19, 2023 at Creekwood United Methodist Church 261 Country Club Road, Allen, Texas 75002. The family requests any tributes be directed to Creekwood UMC or the Alzheimer’s Association (https://www.alz.org/). The service will be livestreamed at the following link https://youtube.com/live/p9jBWQeHJdo?feature=share.

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