Phillip Alan Sellers, M.D., longtime resident of Hendersonville, NC, died March 9, 2023 in Durham, NC. Dr. Sellers was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, the fourth and youngest child of Charles Grier Sellers, an Exxon executive, and Irene Templeton Sellers, a former high school mathematics teacher.
He graduated in 1953 from Davidson College and in 1957 from Bowman Gray (now known as Wake Forest University) Medical School.
In 1955, he married Julia Camlin of Florence, South Carolina, whom he had met while he was a student at Davidson and she was attending nearby Winthrop College. After medical school, Dr. Sellers served as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Army at bases in Texas and New Jersey, then completed his training in internal medicine at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, NC.
The couple had their first children during this sojourn, twin sons Jefferey and Christopher, born in Texas in 1958, and Randy, born in Winston-Salem in 1960. Another son, Patrick, arrived in 1964, a year after Dr. Sellers and his family had moved to Hendersonville, NC. It was an area he had visited as a boy, worked in over summers as a teen, and loved for the beauty of its Blue Ridge Mountains.
Joining the medical practice of Dr. Kenneth Cosgrove, Dr. Sellers was instrumental in bringing in additional partners and building it into a highly successful clinical practice, Quality Care Associates, for which he handled much of the business end. Their medical offices lay near Pardee Hospital, where Dr. Sellers and his partners had admitting privileges. Helping to build Pardee’s reputation as an excellent community hospital, he chaired its ethics committee, served as chief of staff, and became the first practicing physician to serve on its Board.
A general internist, Dr. Sellers practiced medicine for over sixty years, earning a reputation as a “doctor’s doctor” for his up-to-date knowledge and his compassionate style of practice. Dr Sellers’s concern for patient-centered care led him to pen an article for The North Carolina Medical Journal in 2004 which focused on end-of- life issues. He then led a task force to develop the Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment form, a statewide portable medical order that clarifies a patient’s end-of-life preferences.
Dr. Sellers won many honors, including the Laureate Award of the North Carolina Chapter of the American College of Physicians, and the E. Harvey Estes Jr., M.D., Physician Community Service Award from the North Carolina Medical Society. When President George Bush visited western North Carolina in the early 1990s, Dr. Sellers was selected as the doctor on call to care for him. His patients were devoted to him; many insisted that they hoped they would die before he retired.
After his retirement in 2006, Dr. Sellers helped organize and staff a free medical clinic for uninsured community members, served on the county board of health, and taught English to children recently immigrated to the U.S. A lifelong Presbyterian, Dr. Sellers was a founding member of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Hendersonville; he served there as an Elder as well as taught Sunday school classes. Dr. Sellers loved to play tennis and continued to enjoy that sport into his late 70s. He also loved the outdoors and eagerly led family and friends on hikes around Mt. Pisgah and Mt. Mitchell. On his frequent walks along what became the Oklawaha Greenway to Jackson Park, he carried a bag to pick up the trash, leaving the trail “better than I found it.”
Dr. Sellers was a loving and devoted father and grandfather ready to play cards, shoot baskets, and do puzzles with his boys and their families. After a few years’ residence in Lake Pointe Landing, in 2021, he and his wife Julia moved to a care facility in Durham NC, where he died on March 9.
Dr. Sellers is survived by his wife of 67 years, Julia Camlin Sellers; his four sons Jefferey (Laura Scott), Christopher (Nancy), Randolph (Laura Terry), and Patrick (Kathyrn); and his five grandchildren Scott Sellers, Anne Camlin Sellers, Charles Sellers, Margaret Sellers, and Benjamin Sellers.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 2pm on Saturday, April 15, at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 900 Blythe Street, Hendersonville, NC., with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial contributions might be made to Trinity Presbyterian Church, the Hendersonville Free Clinics (https://www.thefreeclinics.org/donate/), or Jackson Park (send check with fund code “JACK” to Community Foundation of Henderson County, 401 N Main St, Ste 300, Hendersonville, NC 28792).