Cover photo for James O. Selby's Obituary
James O. Selby Profile Photo

James O. Selby

June 30, 1934 — April 6, 2024

Council Grove

James O. Selby

James O. Selby was born on June 30, 1934, to W.O. and Stella Selby. He was one of five children who grew up in small towns across Kansas and Oklahoma. Jim passed away Saturday, April 6, 2024. 

As a young man, Jim was working wheat harvest one summer near Goltry, Oklahoma when he met the love of his life, Dona Foltz. They were married on November 26, 1954, and spent the next 69 years in each other’s constant company. Their lives were defined by family - supporting their five children as they grew up with school, sports, music, scouts, proms, college, graduations, weddings, careers, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and lots of adventures. 

Jim graduated in Kansas from Brewster High School, and then attended Kansas State University and Oklahoma State University where he played varsity basketball and studied to become an educator. After teaching several subject areas and coaching in Oklahoma, he became the principal, and later, superintendent of schools at Gage, Oklahoma. In 1976, the family moved to Russell, Kansas where Jim was hired as USD 407 superintendent. Next, he earned his Doctorate Degree in school leadership from Kansas State University, accepted the superintendent position in Council Grove, Kansas, and also taught graduate leadership courses for Emporia State University. Jim was the chair of the governor's Council of Superintendents and served in many other capacities to promote education in Kansas. He loved his final 17 years of work as superintendent of USD 417 in Council Grove, where Jim and Dona retired. 

After retirement, they continued to devote time to family, church service, and other volunteer and leadership positions within the Council Grove community. Jim and Dona traveled to many parts of the United States, seeing family and friends, exploring Egypt and Mexico, and were deeply grateful for an unforgettable trip to the Holy Land. During those years, Jim researched and developed the idea of a community-wide health facility. His dream became a reality in 2005 when the Council Grove Life Center opened. It continues today, with a beautiful cardio workout area that is named in honor of Dr. Jim O. Selby. 

Jim believed in the importance of family, faith, education, and community. He will forever be loved by a large community of family, friends, colleagues, and former students. 

Jim Selby is survived by his wife, Dona Selby, sons Matt Selby (Patty) and Monte Selby (Michelle), daughters Melody Sommers (Brian) and Marita Bachura (Ed), 19 grandchildren, and 21 great-grandchildren. Jim is preceded in death by son, Mark Selby, and Jim’s four siblings. 

Funeral services will occur on Friday, April 12, 10:00 a.m. at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Council Grove, KS. A Rosary service will be held the evening of Thursday, April 11, at 6 p.m., also at the Catholic Church. Family will greet visitors after the Rosary service from 6:30-8:00. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Jim and Dona Selby Education Scholarship Fund and sent in care of Sawyer Funeral Home, PO Box 273, Council Grove, KS 66846. 


 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James O. Selby, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Rosary

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Starts at 6:00 pm (Central time)

St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church

300 Spencer Street, Council Grove, KS 66846

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Visitation

Thursday, April 11, 2024

6:30 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church

300 Spencer Street, Council Grove, KS 66846

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Friday, April 12, 2024

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church

300 Spencer Street, Council Grove, KS 66846

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Guestbook

Visits: 1820

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree