Nicholas Sellers, 81, lawyer and district justice

Nicholas Sellers
Nicholas Sellers
Posted: February 28, 2014

Nicholas Sellers, 81, a lawyer, district justice, educator, and Army veteran who saw action during the Vietnam War, died of heart failure Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Hill in Whitemarsh, a continuing-care retirement community.

Mr. Sellers worked as a lawyer and manager for several charitable and historical organizations, including the Society of Cincinnati of Maryland, a group devoted to preserving the legacy of those who fought for American independence. He also was a member of the First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry, which dates to 1774.

He was born on March 23, 1932, the son of Lester Hoadley Sellers and Therese Tyler Sellers of Philadelphia. He attended the Haverford School and graduated from St. Paul's School in Concord, N.H. He earned his undergraduate degree and two law degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.

After working as a Philadelphia assistant district attorney in the 1960s, Mr. Sellers left to join the Army. He was an officer in an airborne unit that saw action in Vietnam. He was twice wounded in combat and was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service. Afterward, he served with the Pennsylvania National Guard.

When his Army hitch was up, Mr. Sellers returned to work in the District Attorney's Office. He later served as a district justice in Radnor from 1976 to 1986, when he resigned to help U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter in his reelection campaign against Democrat Bob Edgar.

"I worked with Sen. Specter before, and I have a very high opinion of him," he said in an Inquirer article published June 9, 1986. "The issues he has been strong on are the ones that I am concerned with, such as national defense, effective crime prevention, and improvement of justice in general." Mr. Sellers had worked under Specter when the former senator was Philadelphia's district attorney.

He was a member of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's Criminal Rules Committee and served on the boards of the Philadelphia Bar Association and the Delaware County Bar Association. He also worked as an adjunct professor at Villanova University and the University of Baltimore. He later was a volunteer law professor in Romania and Ukraine.

Mr. Sellers was an avid watercolorist and cartoonist, and at the time of his death had completed a biography of his great-great-grandfather John Christian Bullitt, a 19th-century Philadelphia lawyer and civic figure who is honored with a statue outside City Hall.

Mr. Sellers is survived by two sisters, a brother, and 12 nieces and nephews.

A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, March 1, at St. David's Episcopal Church, 763 Valley Forge Rd., Wayne.


vclark@phillynews.com

215-854-5717

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