Key West CitizenAugust 13, 2017


Retha Hart Sellers, 91, passed away peacefully, surrounded by family on Friday, July 28, 2017, at Watauga Medical Center in Boone, North Carolina. Born on the Fourth of July, 1926, in Wooton, Kentucky, she was the daughter of the late Malcolm H. Hart and Sue Lewis. She was preceded in death by her husband of 62 years, Dalton Ezra Sellers, Sr., brother George W. Hart, and sons Dalton E. Sellers, Jr. and Walter H. Sellers.

Retha’s life journey took her from the mountains of Kentucky to Colorado, where her father worked in a gold mine. Her kind and giving nature was apparent even at that young age, as she saved part of her lunch each day to give to a homeless man on the way home from school. They settled in the area of Southport, North Carolina, where she grew up and married Dalton. The family began fishing and shrimping to make a living. When they moved to Rockville, South Carolina, she helped build the family’s seafood business and even drove the truck herself to deliver shrimp to the inland markets. In the 1950s, “pink gold” was discovered in the Gulf of Mexico and they moved to Key West. Being a smart and determined business woman, she expanded their fleet of shrimp boats and established the Southern Seafood Company in the location now occupied by the Key West Ferry Terminal.

Retha put just as much determination and passion into her personal pursuits and had many lifelong friends. She loved to dig up and hunt for antique bottles, collecting thousands from the beaches and out islands. She toted her movie camera along, filming family events, hurricanes and even the Cuban Missile Crisis along Smathers Beach. She always traded in her Lincoln Continental for the newest model, so she could make the long road trips back to the mountains and to visit family and friends. Retha and Dalton retired to their home on top of the mountain in Boone, North Carolina, where she enjoyed taking long walks on the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountain trails and canning vegetables from their garden. Her stories of the past will be treasured, as will the beautiful hand crocheted towels she loved to give as gifts.

She is survived by her son George Malcolm (Stella) Sellers of Boone, North Carolina; grandchildren Brenda Sue Sellers of Key West, Florida, George M. Sellers, Jr. and Justin (Lori) Sellers, both of Charlotte, North Carolina, Cameron Sellers of Powhatan, Virginia, and Malcolm Dane and Jennifer Hardin of James Island, South Carolina; and nine great-grandchildren. A private ceremony will be held to spread Retha and Dalton’s ashes at a later date.