FRNNG Historian, Gerry Sell

gerryGerry and George moved to Minneapolis in 1965 from Boston. The couple has five children: Mark, Marie, Paula, Thomas and Eric. Gerry worked as a volunteer coordinator at South High School for many years. In her role, she recruited volunteers and trained them to assist teachers in classrooms.

Gerry retired from this position in 1992 when her mother took sick. Gerry traveled back and forth from Minneapolis to Ypsilanti, Michigan, to take care of her Mother. Gerry recalled driving from Minneapolis to Michigan seven times in two weeks, and on the last journey to Michigan, brought her mother to the Twin Cities where her mother died in 1994.

Gerry’s mother was Italian and her father was Polish. Gerry’s mother spoke French. Gerry recalled that growing up in Milwaukee, her family had to hide their Italian identity because her father’s mother thought that her son’s wife was Polish because she spoke French.

Gerry stated that during her childhood, the families never talked about nationality because her father did not want his Polish family to know that he married an Italian woman. Gerry was an only child. However she was raised alongside her eight cousins in Milwaukee. Gerry remembers that four boy cousins expected her to do their homework because she was very smart.

Gerry met her husband George while grading papers at the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee in 1955, and the couple married in 1958. Gerry wanted to become a medical doctor, however, the medical school told her that the scholarships were only reserved for men and not women. So within 20 minutes, Gerry decided to change her major to mathematics. Gerry and her husband’s college teaching career took them all over the United States before arriving in Minneapolis in 1965, coinciding exactly with the 50-year neighborhood celebration.

Gerry has held many positions in the neighborhood association for many years as follows: a founding member of FRNNG in 1965, chair of the education committee, Field community representative, secretary, editor for the newsletter, and most important: historian for the neighborhood. Gerry has been a member of the League of Women Voters for more than 50 years. As a devoted wife, mother and community volunteer, Gerry and other residents organized and lobbied to have a state bill passed to allow community banking in Minneapolis, and there was born the first neighborhood bank place in Field neighborhood on the corner of 48th and Chicago Avenue South.

As part of the Field Regina Northrop Neighborhood Group family, Gerry and George will always be a member of our family. Thank you, sons and daughters, for allowing your parents to give of their time and leadership skills to our community.

by Stearline Rucker

One thought on “FRNNG Historian, Gerry Sell

  1. Phil Schmidt

    a great party at a great bakery with great people,celebrating a great organization in a great neighborhood! Enjoyed it! Thanks for inviting me.
    Phil Schmidt, 1st President, FRNNG


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