Obituary: William A. Green / A leader at city schools for decades

May 17, 1930 - March 16, 2013

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William E. Green, 82, of East Liberty spent 30 years with the Pittsburgh Public Schools, retiring in 1985 as assistant superintendent.

But long before he rose to a leadership role in the city schools, Mr. Green was a leader in many aspects of his life.

He was the first black senior class president at Schenley High School, from which he graduated with high honors in 1948. At the University of Pittsburgh, where he earned bachelor's and master's degrees and a doctorate in education, Mr. Green was president of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, a member of the student congress and member of the national honor societies of Phi Eta Sigma and Omicron Delta Kappa.

"He let us know what he did when he was in school and he expected it of us as well," said his daughter Nancy Hill of Penn Hills. "He did not stand for any kind of slacking off or shirking off."

Mr. Green died Saturday at the Commons at Squirrel Hill rehabilitation center after months of treatment for kidney disease and other ailments.

Ms. Hill said her father was hospitalized in July, when his wife of 62 years, Betty Jane, died, and he never recovered enough to return home.

After achieving outstanding academic records at Schenley High and Pitt, Mr. Green started his career with the Pittsburgh Public Schools as a math teacher at Herron Hill Junior High School in 1955.

He later became a counselor at Westinghouse High School and then vice principal at Herron Hill before becoming an assistant superintendent, a position from which he retired in 1985.

After retirement from education, Mr. Green went to work for the United Methodist Church Western Pennsylvania Conference as director of ethnic and minority concerns.

Mr. Green was a longtime member of the Warren United Methodist Church in the Hill District, where he served as chairman of the trustees and treasurer, was a member of the choir and where he and his late wife ran a newspaper and a scholarship fund to provide money for children to attend the United Methodist Camp.

"He's been here a long time and was able to touch a lot of people in a lot of different ways," said Emma Smith, pastor of Warren United Methodist Church. "He was also a humble man who did not stand on all of his credentials. He lived through some really seriously troubled times in American history, and he was able to go through it with grace."

Among Mr. Green's other community activities was his membership on the board of directors of the local chapter of NEED from 1969-87 and the Pitt Alumni Council from 1974-77.

In addition to Ms. Hill, Mr. Green is survived by a daughter Bobbi Brookins of the Hill District; two sons, William Jr. of Palmdale, Calif., and Kenneth of the North Side; 14 grandchildren; and 20 great-grandchildren.

Arrangements are being handled by the Coston Funeral Home, East Liberty. A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at Warren United Methodist Church, Hill District.


Mary Niederberger: or 412-263-1590.


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