Notes about people

October 8, 2009

Mary Batchelor Seel, a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) medical missionary in Korea for 37 years, died on her 84th birthday, Sept. 28, in Birmingham, Ala.

Born in Whitmire, S.C., and raised in Orlando, Fla., “Mimi” Seel was the daughter of one-time Stillman College President Alex R. Batchelor, from whom she inherited a special heart for young people. She graduated from PC(USA)-related Maryville (Tenn.) College before marrying Dr. David Seel in 1949. After completing his surgical residency training in New Orleans, David and Mimi embarked to Korea, where they served at Presbyterian Medical Center.

Innovative and imaginative, Mimi Seel created the region’s first histopathology lab, developed the hospital’s first cancer registry, and helped to design and rehabilitate many of the mission’s facilities. A lover of music, she taught herself to play the flute, and mastered the percussion instrument known as the “bones.” She performed the bones at churches, schools and most recently at the 2009 National Bones Festival in Louisville.

After retiring, the Seels moved to Montreat, N.C., then Louisville and finally, Birmingham.

Mimi Seel is survived by her son David John Seel, Jr. and wife, Kathryn, of Cohasset, Mass.; Jennifer Seel Cromartie and husband, Michael, of Arlington, Va.; Christine Seel Ritchie and husband, Tim, of Birmingham, Ala.; eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held Oct. 11 at South Highlands Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

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Thommy Browne of the General Assembly Mission Council’s Creative Services team have been named winners in the International Association of Business Communicators/ Public Relations Society of America 2009 Landmarks of Excellence awards competition for the state of Kentucky.  

McMahan, a Web content developer, and Browne, a Web designer, received the Award of Merit in the online communications/social media category of the IABC/PRSA competition for the AllWomen in the Church social media site that launched in March of this year. They accepted the award at a banquet Oct. 6.  

AllWomen in the Church seeks to reach out to women across the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), to aid them in their professional lives and faith journeys, and to deepen and widen their communities of faith. More than 500 members participate in the discussion forum, share photos and videos, and post events.

AllWomen is part of the Racial Ethnic and Women's Ministries/Presbyterian Women ministry area led by the Rev. Rhashell Hunter. Mission Communications Associate Beth Newberry serves as Web editor for the site.

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Richard Fogel, a crusader for press freedom, mentor to dozens of young journalists and a “silent partner” in the establishment of the post-reunion Presbyterian News Service, died Sept. 9 in Thousand Oaks, Calif. He was 86.

During a distinguished journalism career in the San Francisco area, Fogel wrote for the Stanford Daily, the San Francisco News, United Press International and the Oakland Tribune, where he served for 30 years. In the late 1970s he founded the Bay City News Service.

Throughout his career Fogel was known for his dedication to accuracy, objectivity and the public’s right to government information. He applied that same philosophy to his behind-the-scenes work with those who were putting together the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s news agency following Presbyterian reunion in 1983.

Fogel won the James Madison Freedom of Information Career Achievement Award in 1989, as well as many other awards for journalism and public service. He also served as chair of the Society of Professional Journalists’ National Freedom of Information Committee in the 1970s.
Fogel is survived by his wife, Marcia; daughter Vicki Fogel Mykles, sons Richard Fogel Jr. and Jonathan Fogel; and three grandchildren.

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