Obituary: Col. Donald J. Green, USAF Ret., PhD, J.D.
June 8, 2012
Col. Don Green, 95, passed away peacefully on May 21, 2012, at Riverside Regional Medical Center following a stroke. He was born August 16, 1916, in Missoula, Montana to James and Elizabeth (Chapman) Green. In 1940, Don left college to attend flight school. He was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Army Air Corps. During World War II, he became an ace fighter pilot, flying combat missions in both the European and Pacific theaters. He was shot down twice during air battles in the Pacific. During the war he attained the rank of Major and earned numerous combat awards. After the war, Don returned to Washburn to finish his degree. There he met and married the love of his life, Mary Campbell Green. In 1960, while still serving in the Air Force, Don received his MBA from Ohio State University.
In 1963, after 24 years of military service and achieving the rank of Colonel, Don retired from the Air Force. He moved with his family to the San Francisco Bay area. He embarked upon his next career as a professor and lecturer at Chabot Community College, in Hayward, where he eventually became the Dean of the Business Department. He also served as a professor in business with the California State University system. Don retired from teaching in 1980, and moved with his wife, Mary, to Truckee, California. However, even in retirement, Don continued his quest for knowledge. At age 70 he obtained his PhD in Business Administration, and at age 92 he earned a law degree. While at his home at Air Force Village West, Don established a computer lab and taught other residents to use “the web”. He read avidly, & wrote many articles & poems.
Don was a lifelong athlete – from basketball, baseball, football and tennis in highschool and college to a Golden Masters National Championship in racquetball at 72. He also skied and played golf regularly and very well until his final days.
Don treasured his Irish roots and his close family relations in Counties Limerick and Dublin. He visited Ireland many times. It was Don’s wish that part of his ashes be scattered at the old Celtic cross atop Galteemor, the highest peak in the Galtee Mountains in County Limerick. Don’s favorite songs were “Galway Bay”, “Danny Boy” and “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling”. He was a true animal lover. There was always a dog or two in the home, and usually a dog on his lap.
Don is survived by his loving wife of 65 years, Mary; his children, Danny Green (Jana), Patty Green Goodman (Larry) of Castro Valley, CA, and Peggy Green-Wilson (Don) of Carson City, NV.; his step-daughter, Linda Morgan of Lawrence, KS.; and his grandchildren, Capt. Patrick Green, USMC (Stephanie), Katie Green Goodman of Castro Valley and Jothan and Page Frakes (Ann Marie) of Niles, CA. He loved his family dearly.
A Catholic Mass was held in Don’s honor May 25, 2012 at the new Chapel at Air Force Village West in Riverside, CA. On May 26, 2012 part of his ashes were interred with full military honors by the Blue Eagles Honor Guard at the Riverside National Cemetery. The family will have a happy, rollicking, music-filled Irish wake and Hooley celebrating Don’s life upon the return of his grandson, Patrick, from his current military tour in the Middle East.