Bradley (Brad) Lange Sell, 54, who spent more than 30 years in the plumbing-heating-cooling-piping distribution industry, died shortly after midnight June 16 after a long battle with prostate cancer.
He formerly served as executive vice president/secretary of two East Coast regional associations of the American Supply Association: the New England Wholesalers Association and the New York State Plumbing & Heating Wholesalers. In 2000 ASA appointed Sell as regional association executive of the Middle Atlantic States Association, formerly MAWA, and executive vice president of the Wholesalers Association of the North East (WANE). He also served as chairman of ASA’s Regional Association Executives Council and member of ASA’s Education Foundation. He also served as an industry consultant to the Associated Cooperative Wholesale Distributors and as a marketing consultant to the American Supply Association and PHCP wholesale firms F. W. Webb Co., Bedford, MA, and Modern Plumbing Supply, New Milford, CT.
When he was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 47, doctors told him he would probably die before he reached age 50. That’s when he took up the cause of educating men on the importance of the PSA test in detecting prostate cancer in its earlier, curable stages. Sell said in a letter to Supply House Times in 2003 that many doctors don’t test for prostate cancer in younger men when the disease can be at its most fierce and deadliest form. It was at that time he revealed that he had trained for a position as chaplain in the nationwide nursing home ministry of Community Chaplain Service so that he could bring comfort and hope to those facing a serious or terminal illness. He also served as a missionary chaplain at The Chapel at Nichol’s House Nursing Home.
He spent most of his life in Marion and Mattapoisett, MA. During the summers of his college years Sell served as a special police officer and harbor patrolman on Marion Harbor. Years later he would help develop a program, “Protecting Those Who Protect Us,” designed to bring messages of early detection of cancer, preventive screenings and follow-up procedures to the area police, fire, EMT, ambulance and sheriffs’ departments.
Following his diagnosis, Sell dedicated his time to serving as a member or volunteer with the following organizations: American Cancer Society; the New Bedford Mayor’s Crusade Against Cancer; Massachusetts Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition; the Marion-Mattapoisett-Rochester ACS Tri-Town Relay for Life Committee; Beacon Hospice & Palliative Care.
Also, he was an ordained minister, Southern Baptist Convention, Haven Baptist Church, New Bedford, MA; and actively involved in other churches and religious organizations.
Sell was recently honored with the 2006 Community Service Award, Greater New Bedford Health & Human Services Coalition, 2006 American Cancer Society’s Volunteer of the Year Award for Southeastern MA, and he was named 2006 Mattapoisett Man of the Year. In April 2007 a group of New England business leaders established the Brad Sell Fellowship Award to commemorate the selfless acts people commit toward improving the lives of others.
He is survived by his wife of 27 years, Dawn Winkler Sell, and two sons, Dana Bradley Sell and Courtney Lange Sell.
Memorial donations may be sent to Harvard Institute of Medicine, c/o Dr. Glenn Bubley, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, East Campus, HIM 1047, 330 Brookline Ave., Boston, MA 02215, which is credited with keeping Sell alive longer than originally thought possible. His message on early detection of prostate cancer can be seen at www.bradsell.info.
An interesting piece of history: Brad Sell was a great-nephew of Everett W. Leonard, the first soldier from Wareham, MA, to be killed in World War I. The Everett W. Leonard Square in Wareham's Center Park is named after him. Sell’s grandfather, Harry E. Trundy, and great-uncle, Arthur Benson Trundy, were also soldiers from Wareham serving in France with the First Yankee Division. They survived the same foxhole attack where 19-year-old Everett W. Leonard was killed. Soon after France was liberated, Harry Trundy married Wareham native Florence Marion Leonard, Everett Leonard’s sister and Brad Sell’s grandmother. That union created the “foxhole family of men” who fought for freedom, liberty, peace and a God-given way of life.