Publisher's Pick: Young writers will be part of Sellnow's legacy

So many readers continue to find ways to help me remember the power of the written word. Not just the sheer impact of the millions of written words published by the Post-Bulletin — rather, they help me remember the power of a few words, albeit remarkable and well-chosen.


It has been a bit more than two months since the untimely death of Post-Bulletin columnist and opinion page editor Greg Sellnow.  Even now, every few days, one of you will notice me out and about the community, catch my attention and offer soft, sweet words of condolence. I may not know you nor do you know me. But we both knew, in our own fashion, our friend Greg.


By reaching out to me, I know that you want me to understand that we share a profound loss. Your words of sincere comfort express a sorrow that remains fresh every day.  


A life that touched many


In preparation for a few remarks I will make tonight in memory of Greg Sellnow at the city-wide Baccalaureate 2012 program, I reviewed the many, many comments readers posted on the P-B website in reaction to coverage of Greg’s death. Here’s a sample:


"The special way he shared his life, experiences, his family, Greg was like a close friend."


 "...he was the kind of guy who made you feel like a personal friend."



" ...what a great person and role model."

Perhaps it is the sentiment of that last statement that prompted student organizers of Baccalaureate 2012 to take time in their own service of remembrance and appreciation for those who shaped their lives to dedicate a banner in memory of Greg Sellnow. Following tonight’s event, the banner will be hung in the lobby of the Post-Bulletin offices for all to admire and remember.


I feel joy and surprise that today’s youth, a generation standing on the brink of their own future, heard a generation-older voice in Greg’s writing that touched their soul.


In closing my remarks tonight, I will read a poem — a generous gift — written by Jane Belau, recently appointed as Rochester’s first-ever Poet Laureate. Most of you will not attend tonight’s event. Thus I share with you what Jane has composed. I hope my voice, in reading these beautiful stanzas, will be able to convey the proper emotion of their sentiment:

I'll Make You Well

I'll make you well


I’ll put your mind at ease

I'll fill your heart with love

I'll give you peace


I'll give your voice

The will to sing

With joy the sight

That each new day would bring


And when the night

Begins to fall

I'll grant you rest

Until I call

And when I call

You'll answer me

And time becomes




You've left a legacy

Of written word

So your voice

Will long be heard

And your love goes on

Cocooning those you left behind

A source of strength


Of memories, sweet and kind

Farewell to you

Our treasured friend

As we believe

It's not the end

But rest in peace

Until we meet

At last



— Jane Belau

A forward-looking tribute


Yesterday I had a phone chat with Les Sellnow, Greg’s father, who lives in Wyoming. Les and I, along with Greg’s family, have been planning a suitable way to honor Greg’s memory. We have settled upon a most-appropriate idea, establishing an endowed scholarship in Greg’s name for a local journalism student attending Rochester Community and Technical College. Greg himself earned his first higher education degree at the local community college in Brainerd.


Memorial money already received has been set aside for such a purpose. For others who have offered financial support awaiting news for a suitable memorial, please stay tuned. Once details have been worked out with Lisa Baldus, executive director of the RCTC Foundation, an announcement will be made in the Post-Bulletin and other media. I trust that a legacy properly reflective of Greg’s life and memory will pave the way for generations of journalism professionals.


For awhile it was difficult to venture into the space once occupied by Greg and shared with fellow writers. Even now, as I consult daily with chief editorial writer Eric Atherton, I glance over his shoulder to the vacant desk once occupied by Greg.  


Never a day goes by that Greg is not remembered.


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