July 18, 2012

Ronald Sell

Funeral services for Ronald Arthur Sell, 68, were held Monday, July 16, 2012, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Northfield, Minn., with Rev. Will Healy and Rev. Mark Johnson officiating. Music was provided by William Kuhlman. Interment was held in Oaklawn Cemetery, Northfield.
On Tuesday, July 10, 2012, while vacationing with his family at Ely, Minn., Ronald passed away unexpectedly.
Ronald Arthur Sell, son-in-law of Tim Dwyer Sr. of Alexander, N.D., was born May 31, 1944, in Fort Dodge, Iowa, to Walter and Mary (Mellies) Sell. He was baptized and confirmed at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. While attending Fort Dodge High School (class of ’62), he was a member of Iowa’s All State Choir and became actively involved in Drum & Bugle Corps. In the fall of 1962, he entered St. Olaf College, majoring in music. During his time at St. Olaf (class of ’66), he played in both the St. Olaf Band and Orchestra and served as President of the St. Olaf Band under Miles Johnson. Upon graduation, Ron moved to New York City where he obtained his M.A. in Music from Manhattan School of Music. Ron began his professional career as a French horn player for the Harkness Ballet Company. He also began playing various Broadway shows before working full time at Radio City Music Hall starting in the fall of 1968.  
On June 14, 1969, Ronald married Margret “Peggy” Dwyer, oldest daughter of Tim Dwyer Sr., at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Alexander, N.D. Shortly after their wedding, they moved to New Jersey while Ron continued to work at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. In 1972, they moved into New York City where Ronald received his Master of Education degree in Music and pursued a doctorate degree at Columbia University Teachers College.
Among the highlights of Ron Sell’s career are playing the French Horn in and contracting musicians for Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway productions of “Sunday in the Park with George,” “Into the Woods” (both ’87 original and ’02 revival), “Passion,” and “The Assassins.” Other personal favorites were “Crazy for You,” “Kiss Me Kate,” “Les Miserables,” “Big,” and “Jerome Robbins’ Broadway.”  In total, he played over 37 Broadway productions. In addition to being a member of the orchestra at Radio City Music Hall, Ron played with the New York City Opera Orchestra and the American Ballet Theater Orchestra.  He also participated in performances with the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera. He was orchestra manager and first horn in the Manhattan Philharmonic and the American Theater Orchestra. He had the privilege of playing with artists such as Leonard Bernstein, Frank Sinatra, Diana Ross, Tony Bennett, John Denver, Luciano Pavarotti, and Diana Krall. His most permanent position, beginning in 1970, was playing French horn in the American Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1962 by Leopold Stokowski. In 1980, he also became the Personnel Manager of the American Symphony Orchestra, a position he maintained throughout the remainder of his career.
His greatest achievement, however, was winning the heart of his college sweetheart, Peggy Dwyer, raising their four children, and forming a family full of wonderful memories and strong bonds of love. His passion was Drum and Bugle Corps and following the Drum Corps International World Championships every year.  He loved his children and grandchildren and visiting with friends and relatives. He enjoyed camping, great food, listening to and sharing excellent music and was an avid reader.
Since 2008, Ronald and Peggy have split their time between New York City and Northfield, Minn.
Survivors include his wife of 43 years, Peggy; four children and their spouses, Olin and wife Suzanne and their children Eryn, Faith and Ronan, of Virginia Beach, Va.; Ingrid andhusband, Isaiah Kalinowski, of Alexandria, Va.; Patrick and wife Lauren and their children Grace and Paddy, of Eden Prairie, Minn.; Molly and husband Andy Binger, of Burnsville, Minn.; two sisters: Louise (Joe) Patrick, of West Des Moines, Iowa; Jean (Jeff) Harris, of Mesa, Ariz.; two nieces: Jessica (David) Pederson, of Richmond, Va.; Julie Harris, of Phoenix, Ariz.; and other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents.
Memorials are preferred to the Ronald Sell Drum & Bugle Corps Scholarship Fund.