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Milo's Café Owner Recalled as Man of Great Compassion

Scott Sellman, 42, died of an apparent heart attack last week at his renowned dog-friendly cafe. His wife says "his vision will continue."

The animals lost a friend when Scott Sellman died Thursday night. But, somewhere out there, an anonymous young man will attest that the 42-year-old owner of in Foothill Ranch did not limit his good deeds to those with four legs.

“Right before we were open, a kid came to the front of the restaurant and asked for some food because he was hungry,” Robbie Decapua, Milo's manager, recalled. “[Sellman] gave him a meal and told him to stop by whenever he needed food. The kid stayed around and helped whenever he could because of Scott’s generosity."

"He showed his compassion even before we opened our doors.”

But Sellman, who apparently suffered a fatal heart attack while doing paperwork in the office of his renowned dog-friendly cafe, was best known for his constant support of animal causes. In addition to his establishment, a favorite stop for pets and owners who enjoy dining together, Sellman regularly donated and provided support to local animal rescue organizations, including Friends of Lake Forest Animals, Barks of Love and Coastal German Shepherd Rescue.

“He was a great guy and always allowed us to come out here on the weekend,” said Jamie-Lee Nelson, an animal rescue volunteer. “When I first heard the news that he died, I was shocked. I talked to his family and they decided that we would continue coming here and helping the rescue. It’s what he would have wanted.”

His generosity wasn’t limited to local causes either. When Japan was struck by a devastating tsunami in March, Sellman immediately raised funds and gathered thousands of pounds of dog food to ship to Japan. The money and food were donated to Desperate Paws of Orange County, which shipped the materials to areas of need.

“He was a really easy-going guy and loved animals,” said Decapua. “He had a big heart for a lot of the adoptions. He was really observant of the community.”

Decapua was with Sellman when he was suddenly stricken about 8:30 p.m. Thursday. “He got up from his chair and said, ‘I don’t feel really good,’ ” the cafe manager said. Moments later, he fell "gently" to the floor.

Decapua called 911 and Sellman was rushed to Saddleback Memorial Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 9:08 p.m.  According to Decapua, the cause of death was a heart attack.

Less than two days after her husband's untimely death, Sellman’s wife, Grace, was determined to continue running the restaurant.

“His vision will continue. We’re going to make this work,” she said. “This isn’t the end of Milo’s Café.”

Roni Arnold June 21, 2011 at 12:20 AM
I too was shocked to hear of Scott's sudden passing. I anxiously anticipated and counted the days till Milo's Cafe was to open. It is such a nice concept and my dogs enjoy being with me for a lunch out.. Scott always mingled with the customers and you could readily see that this was his passion. I intend to visit more frequently to show my support and to help keep his vision alive.
Melora Kloeckner June 22, 2011 at 03:06 PM
As president of the Friends of Lake Forest Animals I'm deeply saddened to hear of Scott's untimely passing. He was working hard to make his dream, Milo's Cafe a success and his efforts were paying off. Scott was a generous guy with a big heart and it is my hope that some good will come from this tragedy, that folks who read of his passing and might not have visited Milo's Cafe, will do so. It's a fun community gathering place for everyone, families, couples, singles as well as folks and their pets and the food is great. The best way for Scott to be memorialized is for his dream to thrive so if you stop by to honor him, you'll be back, with or without your pooch. It's a great place. On behalf of the Friends of lake Forest Animals, my husband, Cal and my pups (who REALLY enjoy Milo's) Jonesy, Abby and Lucy, our sincerest sympathy to Scott's family including Milo and Jake, our thoughts are with you. We all hope to see you at the restaurant. Let the dream continue and thrive.
April Josephson June 23, 2011 at 10:02 PM
Well said, Melora. Scott's passing was so very sad and a loss to the animal welfare community as well as his family and friends. I have made a conscious effort to patronize Milo's cafe. I've enjoyed the food and my dogs have enjoyed their visits. It's a special treat that we should savor and continue to support.
J Supports July 19, 2011 at 11:40 PM
I went to Milo's for lunch today and there was a sign on the door dated 7/18/2011 that they are having problems and are shut down temporarily. I can't imagine what poor Grace is going through. I hope her problems subside, as this year has been hard enough, and she gets the eatery opened again soon. Best of luck to you.
Sarah de Crescenzo July 20, 2011 at 02:45 AM
J Supports, thanks for the tip. I'll update this story about the closure (http://lakeforest-ca.patch.com/articles/milos-caf-shuttered-for-now) when I get more details.

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