Louise Woerner Sellers welcomes you with a face open and inviting as a spring-fed pool on a July day. She smiles wide, and you know instantly she’s glad to see you, happy to be here. Sellers turned 100 years old last month, and after she slowly rises out of her chair upon parting, because she couldn’t hear you protest, she step-shuffles behind her cane across the grass-green shag carpet, chosen some 40 years ago, along with solid wood card tables, swag lamps and sofas, low and long in busy print fabrics, and you can tell this was a party house. Bridge parties, company parties, any excuse for a party, Sellers loved to entertain. You realize then this 100-year-old face represents a joyful life. Sellers, the daughter of Stoneleigh Hotel architect Frank Woerner Sr., designed this house. “I cut my teeth on a T-square and triangle,” she says. Sellers was born July 24, 1912 in St. Paul Hospital and graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1930. She’s the school’s oldest living graduate and grew up at 911 Clermont in the Hollywood/Santa Monica neighborhood. It was the first house in Dallas to have a swimming pool, Sellers says, and she remembers a meter reader coming to the door because he thought they had a water leak. As a newlywed, she and husband, J.D. Sellers, lived in an adobe house in Balmorhea, Texas while he served as a lieutenant in the Civilian Conservation Corps. The couple moved to Casa Linda in 1939. While Louise was pregnant with her second child, Steve Sellers, her husband died of complications from ulcers at St. Paul Hospital. That was in 1941. Louise went to work as a secretary at O.M. Roberts Elementary four months after Steve was born, earning $1,785 a year. She also cut grass and took in sewing to keep her family, including daughter, Celia, in shoes. Then came a succession of progressively higher-paying secretary gigs: GMAC, U.S. Engineers, Burrus Feed Mills, Airmaid Hosiery Co. and finally, in 1950, for J. Hugh Campbell Co., more commonly known as The Flag Store. After Sellers bought the company in 1960, she designed a building for it on Haskell, and The Flag Store is still in business there. The Sellers family owned The Flag Store until last year, when Steve Sellers died. When Sellers was younger, she traveled to the British Isles, China, Japan, Australia, Alaska, Austria, Italy, Germany Russia, Denmark and Sweden. “That’s what I wanted to do,” she says. “I wanted to see the world.” Sellers’ grandchildren, who now parent her 15 great-grandchildren, remember the excitement of her homecomings, when she would open her suitcase right on the living room floor and pass out the treasures she’d brought them back. Sellers enjoyed many hobbies aside from travel, including needlepoint and bridge. She can no longer work in her rose garden, but she never complains. She just smiles and welcomes you to visit. And you see that life is one big party.
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.