Mr. Willie Greene, 69, of Lumberton, transitioned from time to victory on May 27, 2019.
Willie McArthur Greene was born in Lumberton North Carolina on November 20th, 1949 to the late, Fannie Francis Roberts & Jesse James Greene. He is one of 14 siblings. He had a very close knit family who grew together and stuck together their entire lives. He was born with a southern soul and recently reminisced about the benefits of growing up in a large family with lots of kids. Family was everything. They did everything together including the things they didn’t like. Especially working on the farm in the summer.. His most hated chore was picking cotton in the hot sun and getting pricked by all the thorns cause he was always bleedingJ He laughed when he thought about everybody out in the hot sun, hard at work because he had a secret.. He wasn’t working at all. He would fill half of his sack, and then climb inside the truck with all the cotton and go to sleep!
In 1966, at the age of 14, Willie moved to New York and struggled to adjust to city life. But once he got the hang of it, he loved it and forever considered himself to be “a city boy”. He loved music and loved to sing and dance. In his adult years, he was part of a group who often thought they were the Temptations or the 5 Heartbeats because they stole all their dance moves and practiced every weekend until the wee hours of the morning for years.
In 1966 Willie met & later married his high school sweetheart, Theresa Ann Greene , at the age of 19. During their 20 year marriage, they were blessed with 6 daughters and 17 grandchildren who he has loved and protected fiercely for the past 48 years.
Under economic pressures, Willie strived to secure a better life for his family. Determined to beat the odds, he joined the Army Reserves. It was here that he learned discipline, combat and the importance of teamwork. He was extremely proud of his service record as it strengthened his chances of success while proudly serving his country.
Life as the sole provider was not easy. Willie had enormous pressures and faced many obstacles throughout the years. With gods will-he now celebrates 27 years sobriety. In 2018, he was officially honored by AA for his stewardship & commitment efforts. He lead with his heart and supported the mission in New York & North Carolina.
Willie was a great dad who was present and supported his children their entire lives. He was reliable and consistent. Every Valentine’s Day, his girls would wait for him to get home with a heart shaped cake for mom and 6 heart shaped cupcakes for them every year! He inspired them to be their best and he did the same. Willie took night classes after work and earned his GED. He did this without telling them because he wanted to show them how important it was to finish school. These types of gestures, sacrifices and milestones are small examples of what he taught his family even in adulthood.
He faithfully sent a “Daily Dose of I Love You” group text to remind us that we’re loved.
Willie built a career at MTA for 28 years. Since his sobriety in 1991, he became a conscientious employee who climbed the ladder holding several positions starting with cleaner and rising to the role of MTA Dispatch Operator responsible for managing other people. He was a team player recognized for his commitment and stellar attendance until retirement a few years ago.
In June 2001, Willie remarried to Patricia Armstrong. In this union, he became Dad to her two children who he loved dearly. Willie was committed to being the best role model for these two amazing children as well. He was proud of them and wanted the very best for them. This relationship also gave him the opportunity to make a positive impact in the life of his first son.. Due to this union he gained an additional 4 grandchildren and an additional set of new in-laws who he cared for deeply.
Blessed with 21 grandchildren, and two god children; Willie was a role model and mentored to their many personalities. He taught, listened and was attentive to all their needs. He was present for every milestone, birthday, holiday and graduation. He brought humor and showed them the importance of having a good time by hitting the dance floor with famous “ two step” at every party.
Last year, Hurricane Michael struck North Carolina. Willie spent time helping and sharing resources with neighbors. When his power returned, he used his time to continuously bake cakes and delivered them to shelters to help feed and comfort displaced families. Those who know him understands the power of his friendship cakes because he puts all his love into every cake he makes for you. And if you’re special, you received a taste of his famous salmon,, cole slaw, macaroni salad and ritz crackers!!!
On Saturday May 18th, Willie received the prestigious 2019 Grandparent Around the World award.
He was surrounded by family & friends as he graciously received awards and certificates for being an exemplary grandfather as well as an outstanding community servant. On this day, he was happy. He ate, laughed and danced his way down that soul train line like nobody’s business. a great man loved and honored by many
To cherish his memory, he leaves his current wife Patricia Armstrong- Greene, 6 daughters and their families; Lisa & Bud; Trina & George; Rebecca & Cameron; Tamecca & Giovanny; Daneisha & Tyrell; Tiffany & Derric; 6 grandsons, Dominic, Anthony, Aaron, George the 3rd, , Maximus & Branden; 11 grand-daughters, Cierra, Melanie, Mya, Chanel, Raven, Madison, Zaniya, Ariel, Brielle, Brianna & Brittany, ; 2 Blended children- his son Leonard & Carol, Dominique ; and 4 additional grandchildren, Kyrie,, Javion, Isaiah & Gabriella; 6 sisters and their families, Ethel & Ivory, Helen, Juanita & Eva & Calvin, Maggie and Beulah; 2 God children Arnold Jr & Anaiya. He also leaves a host of aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws & friends. To his hundreds of nieces and nephews, Uncle Willie loved each and every one of you; you all held a very special place in his heart.
Willie will be dearly missed but take comfort in knowing that he has been called home to re-unite with his parents, Fannie Francis & Jesse Greene, 6 of his siblings, Jessie, John, Bob & Donnell Greene, MaryAnn Gibson, Shirley Arnette, & Emma Fonville ; his 1 st wife Theresa Ann Greene and Grand- Daughter Aniya Stewart.
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