In Memoriam: Longtime AAA Executive Betsy Sell

betsy sellElizabeth "Betsy" Sell, former AAA managing director, Disney Alliance, Lodging & Administration, passed away peacefully at her home in Lake Mary, FL, on August 24, 2015.

Sell had been with the American Automobile Association for 45 years before retiring in 2010. Sell was 71.

Born in Lisbon, Portugal, on January 2, 1944, Sell grew up in Europe and learned to speak five languages fluently. She graduated from university in Lisbon with a bachelor’s degree before relocating to New York City at age 22. After just two days there, she started her 45-year career with AAA, starting as a senior reservations clerk and assembler of AAA’s TripTik strip maps. Throughout the years, she escorted tours, managed operations, developed key national programs, organized international travel conferences, and negotiated worldwide industry partnerships on behalf of the AAA membership. 

Sell formally retired in 2010, but at the request of then-President and CEO Bob Darbelnet, worked as special assistant to the president on travel matters. In 2014 Sell was honored with the association’s first AAA/CAA Travel Recognition Award for her 45 years of service. 

“Betsy embodied the best of qualities for any executive: highly knowledgeable, very determined, completely reliable, and particularly gifted in bringing together people with different views and getting them to agree on a common way forward,” said Darbelnet.

Sell is preceded in death by her husband J. Robert Sell who passed away in July 2011. She is survived by daughter Mary of New York, stepdaughter Patty Green of Lake Mary, FL, and stepson Bob Sell of Horseheads, NY.  

A celebration of her life was held on Sunday, August 30. Memorial contributions may be made in her name to the following organizations: Pet Rescue by Judy (401 South Laurel Avenue; Sanford, FL 32771) or Hospice of the Comforter (480 W. Central Parkway; Altamonte Springs, FL 32714).

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