Wendell Seldon '47 | Handley 100th Notable
Wendell Seldon ’47

Wendell Seldon was a man devoted to his family, to the City of Winchester, to public service and to youth sports. He served on Handley’s General Organization Executive Council and was a member of the Honor Court. He was a gifted athlete who played basketball and ran track while supporting the football teams as a manager / trainer.

Wendell began his role in government service directly out of high school as the assistant to Winchester’s city manager, Lee Grant (Class of 1925). He became city manager when Mr. Grant retired in 1967. He was known for his dedicated, ethical and kind leadership approach in local government and was named “Public Administrator of the Year” in 1976 by the Virginia Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration. During his time as city manager, he was a key part of many projects that still define Winchester today, including the Loudoun Street Pedestrian Mall and the Joint Judicial Center.

Wendell enlisted in the Virginia Army National Guard in 1948. He worked his way through the ranks and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in December 1952.  He was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General in 1985 and retired in 1989.

Wendell’s quick rise to leadership positions in local government and the National Guard, forgoing the traditional college path, exemplify the fact that a road less traveled can hold promise and possibility for Handley graduates.

His love of sports was apparent throughout his life. An accomplished athlete himself, he officiated 1,800 high school and college level football and basketball games over 40 years. He served as Commissioner of the Winchester Officials Association for 34 years and was inducted into the Virginia High School League’s Hall of Fame in October 1993.

Wendell left Winchester in July 1986 when Governor Gerald Baliles appointed him as Director of the Department of General Services. He was reappointed by Governor Douglas Wilder in 1990 and served until his retirement in 1991. The Commonwealth of Virginia honored him in a joint House and Senate Resolution upon his retirement.

Wendell considered his greatest accomplishment to be his 69 year marriage to Barbara Darlington (Class of 1948). All four of their children became Handley graduates.

Greg Seldon (Class of 1971) recently wrote: “My father’s contributions to the city of Winchester remain one of his greatest achievements in his storied career. Yet perhaps his most notable work is not the accolades on paper but in the stories I continue to hear from his fellow colleagues and friends, all with a common theme: his commitment to leadership. He advocated for and mentored those he believed in and often changed the trajectory of their careers.”

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