Former Enumclaw mayor passes

John R. Selland, whose photo hangs on the wall in Enumclaw City Hall in recognition of his years as mayor, died Sept. 15 at his home in Palm Desert, Calif.

Selland, who was a notable businessman in the community as well as city politician, was 89. He had reportedly been in poor health since undergoing heart surgery in late 1998.

Born in Spokane in 1914, Selland overcame obstacles to find success. His was raised by an aunt in Seattle following his mother's death and his hope for a college education was dashed by the Great Depression. He joined the Coast Guard in the early 1930s, served in the Aleutian Islands and the Panama Canal, and survived a gunshot wound to the leg.

After returning home, he married longtime sweetheart Maxine Ferguson in 1939 and the couple opened a Gilmore gas station in Seattle.

In 1948, while out for a Sunday drive during the Christmas season, the Sellands ended up in Enumclaw. Impressed by the community, they decided to make it their new home and moved in 1949. Selland then opened Selland Motor Parts on Cole Street and later added stores in Buckley and Maple Valley.

He first served on the Enumclaw City Council and then was mayor from 1955 to 1960. During those years, street lights went up on Porter Street and Griffin Avenue, a city-owned gas system was built and city employees were placed on the state retirement program. He also was an active member of the local chamber of commerce, served as a water commissioner at Lake Sawyer and also held leadership roles in industry associations.

He was a former member of the Enumclaw Golf Men's Club, Meridian Valley Country Club in Kent and the Washington Athletic Club in Seattle. At the time of his death, he was a member of the Chaparral Country Club in Palm Desert. Prior to his retirement, he was an avid duck hunter and, in his 50s, he had taken up snow skiing.

At the time of his death, Selland was married to Janet Selland of Palm Desert. He leaves behind sons John Selland Jr. and wife Donita of Enumclaw, Robert Selland and wife Susan of Roslyn, Wash. and Paul Selland of Covington; daughter Debra Selland of Poulsbo; seven grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and one great-great granddaughter.

He will be buried next to Maxine, who died in 1978, at Evergreen Memorial Park.

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