Obituary of Donald Green
On Saturday April 28, 2018, at the age of 88. Donald was predeceased by his parents, Job and Gladys Green and by his wife, Lois Green. He is survived by his sister, Nancy (Bruce) Haney; his sons, Matthew (Holly) Green, and Thomas (Colleen) Green; his daughter, Janet Green; and by his grandchildren, Ryan and Adam Green, Lauren and Alex Koss, Taylor Nunn, and Kate Green. To share a memory visit www.walkerbrothersfh.com.
Donald’s family will receive friends at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday June 30 at the funeral home, 15 West Avenue, Spencerport, NY 14559, where a Celebration of Life will begin immediately at 12:30. Interment will be held privately.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Donald’s memory to: ACTS Signature Hospice, 812 N. Bethlehem Pike, Ambler, PA 19002.
Bio - Early Years
Donald Griffith Green was born in Elmira, New York on May 1, 1929. His parents were Job and Gladys Green. They lived in Elmira Heights along with Don's grandmother, Ella Griffith.Don's father held a variety of jobs over the years, but spent the majority of his career working as a conductor on the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western (DL&W) Railroad. His mother was an elementary school teacher.
Don grew up during the Great Depression. When he was five years old and preparing to begin school the family learned there would be no kindergarten class. Rather than wait a year, his mother decided to start him in first grade. Being the youngest, and biggest, child in his class proved to be a challenge throughout his school years.
Don was confirmed at St. John's Episcopal Church on Sunday, December 7, 1941. When the family returned from church that day they learned Pearl Harbor had been attacked. During World War Il Don served as an Assistant Air Raid Warden and a Civil Defense plane spotter.
As a teenager Don he'd an assortment of jobs, including working in a men's clothing store, setting pins at a bowling alley, playing in the Curt Bennett Family Band, and working Saturdays at the local Pepsi plant. It was there one day that he took a long fall onto a concrete floor and broke his back.
While recuperating from his back injury he learned he was going to be a big brother. In 1944, when he was 15, his sister Nancy was born. He always said their parents raised two only children.
In high school Don started a teen recreation club in the church basement. One night at the club he met Lois Ordway, who was a year ahead of him in school, and they started dating. The rest, as they say, is history.
Don graduated from Elmira Heights High School in 1946 and enrolled in Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. Though he and Lois, who was away at college in Virginia, separated for a time, they eventually got back together.
Don graduated from Westminster in 1950 with a bachelor's degree in psychology and a teacher's certification.
Lois and Don were married on August 26, 1950 at Oakwood Methodist Church in Elmira Heights. Nancy was their flower girl.
In the fall of 1950 Don started his first job, teaching social studies at the George Junior Republic in Freeville, New York, near Ithaca. This was a private school where many of the students had been placed by courts or social service agencies. Don survived a trial by fire and learned skills that would serve him well throughout the rest of his 35-year career in education.
In 1952, during the Korean War, Don's career was interrupted when he joined the Army. He spent the majority of his 2-year enlistment at the Medical Replacement Training Center at Camp Pickett in Blackstone, Virginia. He always credited his Army experience with enabling his future success as an administrator.
After his discharge Don took advantage of the Gl Bill and finished his Master's degree at Cornell University. He then returned to teaching at Odessa High School in Odessa, NY. He and Lois lived in Montour Falls and then Watkins Glen during this time.
In 1956 Don's career took a new direction when he and Lois moved to Brockport, NY, where he took a job as a high school guidance counselor. The Greens bought their first house in Westbrook Acres, a brand new development. Don stayed at Brockport High School for nine years, eventually becoming Guidance Director.
Don made his final career move in 1965 when he became the Director of Pupil Personnel Services in the Gates-Chili School District. He was responsible for all non-instructional services, including guidance, health, psychology, speech and language, and programs for special needs students. He later became an Assistant Superintendent and worked there for 20 years.
After multiple unsuccessful pregnancies, Don and Lois's prayers were finally answered in 1957 with the birth of their son, Matthew.
1957 was also the year that Lois's dad, Lew Ordway, finished construction of a cottage on Keuka Lake. The family would spend many memorable summers there over the next 50+ years.
Daughter Janet joined the family in 1965. That same year they all moved to Spencerport when Don and Lois bought the house at 92 Maplewood Avenue.
Four years later, in 1969, they continued the Green tradition of unexpected births with the arrival of their son Thomas.
All three children attended Spencerport schools. Matt and his wife Holly now live in Hatboro, PA, near Philadelphia. Janet lives in Herndon, VA. Tom and his wife Colleen live in Scottsville, VA.
Don has 6 grandchildren:
- Matt and Holly's 2 sons, Ryan and Adam
- Janet's 3 children, Lauren, Alex, and Taylor
- Tom and Colleen's daughter, Kate
Don's sister Nancy married her high school sweetheart, Bruce Haney, and moved to the Syracuse area. They still live in Baldwinsville. Their daughter Lynette was born the same year as Tom. Twin sons Brian and Kevin arrived a few years later. The Haney's have 7 grandchildren who live near Albany and in Ohio.
During the 1990's Lois began experiencing health problems. She was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. Unfortunately she was among a small percentage of Parkinson's patients who develop dementia.
Don served as a caregiver, allowing Lois to live at home for as long as possible. She eventually moved to an assisted living facility in Greece, NY. As her condition worsened, she moved in 2001 to the Beikirch Care Center in Brockport.
As Don prepared for what appeared to be the inevitable, Lois remarkably plateaued. She held on for over 10 more years, much of it in a near vegetative state. It was hard for Don to watch her suffer. He visited regularly to make sure she was receiving good care and to feed her lunch. In June 2012, Lois's long battle finally ended.
Music and travel were Don's favorite hobbies. He started playing the clarinet as a child and later added the tenor and alto saxophones so he could play dance music. He began playing in professional bands while still in high school. His ability to play almost any song in any key by ear made him a valuable member.
In college Don and a classmate led a big band that played at dances throughout Westem Pennsylvania. He continued to play in dance bands in the Rochester area for many years.
Don also loved to sing. He participated in chorus in high school, and as an adult he sang inbarbershop quartet.
Family camping vacations were very important as the kids were growing up. They enjoyed multiple trips to the Adirondacks, Maine, Canada, and the U.S. West. Camping in Myrtle Beach at Lake Arrowhead Campground during Easter break became an annual ritual.
In later years traveling became a vocation, as well. Lois began working at the Travel Time agency as a travel agent. When he retired from Gates-Chili in 1985, Don joined her. In addition to arranging trips for friends and former colleagues, he led groups to Hawaii and the Canadian Rockies along with fellow agent Ted Epping. He and Lois also took many trips, including Europe, the Caribbean, Hawaii, New Zealand, and Australia.
Cruising eventually replaced camping as his favorite mode of travel. Don cruised Alaska, Scandinavia, and throughout the Caribbean and Central America, as well as several river cruises in Europe.
Don loved dogs. From his time in the Army in the early 1950s through the departure of his last faithful friend Sam in 2013, he almost always had a dog. He continued to enjoy visits from Ellie, Matt and Holly's dog, in his final years at Spring House Estates.
Bio — Later Years
In the early 2000's Don's own health began to slip. Though he gave up cigarettes in the mid1980s, 30 years of smoking had taken their toll as he began to experience symptoms of COPD. He also showed early signs of dementia.
Don continued to live independently for several more years in the house he loved in Spencerport, along with Sam. He sold the cottage on Keuka Lake in 201 1 , as it became difficult to maintain and the kids seldom used it.
In December 2011, faced with another long, cold Western New York winter, Don decided to temporarily move to The Landing, an assisted living facility in Brockport. Not only would he not have to shovel snow, it was right next door to Beikirch, where Lois was living.
As the winter of 2012 turned into spring, he decided he preferred living at The Landing, though he continued to hold onto the house just in case. Then Lois passed away in June. Don was faced with a decision. Matt encouraged him to move to Pennsylvania, since there was no longer any family in the Rochester area.
Don initially resisted the idea, but eventually came to the conclusion that this was the best option. The kids helped clean out the house and get it ready to sell. It sold in one day, proving again what a great house it truly was.
Matt and Holly researched several senior living communities near their house. They finally recommended Spring House Estates, since it offered independent living as well as assisted living and skilled nursing care should Don ever need it. He visited in September 2012 and agreed this was the place for him. Don and Sam moved into an apartment in November, just before Thanksgiving.
Don gradually settled into his new life. He joined the chorus and the Happy Timers band, where he played the kazoo. He enjoyed attending musical performances in the auditorium, where he could always be counted on to harmonize with the entertainers if called upon.
For three years Don managed well in his apartment. He made new friends, sang with the chorus, celebrated his 85th birthday at the Maryland shore with the clan, breakfasted with Matt and Holly on Sunday's, and enjoyed the holidays with his family.
Everything changed in December 2015 when a serious case of pneumonia landed him in the hospital. He then suffered complications and setbacks and more hospital stays. Don returned to Spring House Estates to rehab in WillowBrooke Court, the skilled nursing unit. Despite his best efforts, he wasn't able to bounce back far enough to retum to his apartment. The kids helped set up his new room, including his "rogue's gallery" of family photos.
Don continued to participate in the activities and performances that Spring House Estates offered. The staff grew to appreciate his pleasant nature and dry sense of humor. His family visited whenever they could.
A succession of health issues arose in March and April 2018 that proved too much for Don to overcome. He passed away peacefully on April 28, with his family by his side.