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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Longtime Recorder designer Jeffery Sellers retires

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Jeffery Sellers, the Recorder’s production manager, will retire from the newspaper after 32 years.

Sellers joined the Recorder in 1989 as an entry-level graphic designer.

“I often say I love the Recorder,” Sellers said, “but what I really mean is I love the people at the Recorder.”

The Recorder, the people, love him back.

Former Recorder publisher and owner Eunice Trotter, who hired Sellers, remembered him as a “pleasant, hardworking young man” who cared about the paper’s quality.

Sellers’ friend and longtime colleague, John Hurst, was hired around the same time.

“That was my partner in crime,” said Hurst, who retired in 2019.

Production workers are usually the last to leave on Wednesdays, the day the paper goes to the printer, and Hurst remembers being in the office as late as 2 or 3 in the morning to get the paper out.

“We would get to clownin’ and acting crazy to shake off the sleepiness,” he said with a laugh.

Recorder President and CEO Robert Shegog said he’s thankful for Sellers’ leadership.

“Jeffery is incredibly talented, passionate, and loyal,” he said. “Having someone with such qualities serve the newspaper and the community for such an extensive period of time is extremely rare. Jeff is an unsung hero who has contributed greatly to the success and legacy of this 126-year-old institution.”

Sellers met his wife of 25 years, Tysha, at the Recorder. She described him as a caring and fun-loving husband and father of three who enjoys cooking, listening to podcasts and watching movies.

“He’s been an extremely hard worker, so I’m looking forward to him being able to relax and enjoy his hobbies (and find new ones) while we watch our daughters and son develop their paths,” she said.

Sellers said he has “a billion” books to read.

Former Recorder editor and president Shannon Williams worked with Sellers for about 18 years and remembers walking into the production area to see Sellers and Hurst blaring music.

“Seeing him caught up in the moment singing and rapping along to the music always brought a smile to my face,” she said.

Sellers also earned a reputation as a source of knowledge on everything from Recorder history to what to do if the printer won’t work.

His production colleague, Jeana Ouattara, compared it to the traditional telling of African American history through stories.

“I feel that about Jeff,” she said. “He has worked with so many people. He has witnessed so many milestones and through all of these experiences has an abundance of history in him.”

Former Recorder editor Ebony Chappel said Sellers knew the most hilarious, albeit sometimes inappropriate, Recorder history.

“His irreverent sense of humor was much needed on some of our harder workdays,” she said.

Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.

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