Longtime greater Falls Church resident James Green was a sociologist and anthropologist, decorated WWII veteran, AID community development adviser, pro bono meditation teacher to 600 people and counselor to hundreds more in the Washington metro area, generous friend and mentor, and the oldest living member of a large blended family. He passed away peacefully on Sunday, Aug. 21, in Falls Church. Born on Aug. 5, 1915, in Halifax County, Jim was the oldest of three children of William Ivey and Mary Crowder Green. He grew up in Chatham, graduated from Hargrave Military Academy (an Outstanding Alumnus), and received his B.S. and M.S. degrees with honors from Virginia Tech. From 1939-42, he worked in rural land use and agricultural development for the N.C. State College Extension Service. In 1940, he married Pearl Cornett Green (1915-82) and had a daughter, Margaret Lydia Green.
In WWII, from 1942-46, he fought in Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge and established civilian governments in towns after major battles across France, Belgium, Germany and Austria. For his outstanding performance, he received the Croix de Guerre with Silver Star, France; the Croix de Guerre with Palm, Belgium; and the Bronze Star with Cluster. He retired as a Lt. Colonel from the U.S. Army Reserves in 1975.
Jim studied theology at Duke University in 1947-48, received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of North Carolina in 1953, and taught at N.C. State College, UNC at Charlotte and Cornell University. He served with the U.S. Agency for International Development from 1954-75 as community development and local government advisor to the governments of Pakistan, Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Peru and Panama; and had shorter assignments in Yemen and the Dominican Republic. He was a Fellow of the American Anthropology Association and the Society of Applied Anthropology.
After his retirement in 1975 until the end of his life, he studied meditation from many traditions; conducted 112 meditation workshops; and wrote a book, Integrative Meditation: Towards Unity of Mind, Body And Spirit, on his teaching techniques. In 2003, he published his autobiography … and It Was Never Dull – A Memoir; and in 2004 the Library of Congress accepted his professional papers and books for its archives. Arlene Green, whom he married in 1983, played an indispensable role in preparing his writings for publication.
Jim was a member of First Congregational United Church of Christ, and a generous supporter of a long list of progressive environmental and social justice organizations. He devoured books, particularly biographies, the last of which was The Autobiography of Martin Luther King. A staunch Democrat whose lawn filled up with campaign posters during election season, he always cast his vote in person, dismissing suggestions of an absentee ballot because “Going to the polls is a privilege that few people have in this world.”
Jim’s survivors include Arlene B. Green; his daughter, Meg Maguire and her husband, Dale Ostrander; Arlene’s daughter, Karen Cameron, and son, Greg Kruse and his wife, Mary Morehouse; seven grandchildren, Jay Maguire, James Kruse, Annie Ericsson, Stephen Ostrander, Leslie Ostrander, Bryan Morehouse and Andrea Morehouse; eight great grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. We miss his sharp wit and compassionate love, and regret that he departed before the Redskins’ spirited defeat of the Giants.
A service of celebration will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011 at First Congregational Church’s temporary home at First Trinity Lutheran Church, 501 4th St., NW, Washington, D.C.