Graduating from Cisne High School, “Dee” DeSelms went on to the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, and University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry. He enrolled in the R.O.T.C. program while at the University of Illinois. Upon graduation from dental school, he was drafted for service in the Vietnam War and completed both officer training at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and Field Medical Service School at Camp Pendleton, California, before being deployed to Vietnam. He earned the rank of Lieutenant. Upon return, he was stationed at Great Lakes Naval Station, where he met his partner in life and business, Cynthia Rose Conrad. They married in 1969 and soon moved to Flora to open his dental practice.