Lila Green, of Middletown, N.Y., passed away Tuesday, October 11, at her home in Middletown. She was 97.
Uncommonly generous, unfailingly wise, relentlessly optimistic, Lila inspired the sort of affection reserved only for those who give so much of themselves to those they love. She showed up, always. She complained…never. An endearingly large number of people considered her their best friend.
With Warren, her husband of nearly 65 years, Lila had an eager partner in the two grand adventures of her life in Middletown: raising four kids — from the Highland Avenue home that became a de facto neighborhood headquarters for fun- and food-seeking children and adults — and helping to lead Green’s department store, where she ran the business’s travel service.
Lila liked to say she married Warren because he was different, a jokester and a jazzman, the perfect parenting counterweight: She took the kids to the fair; he returned with them after-hours to see the workers break down the rides. She showed them high culture at museums and shows in New York City; he led them through Times Square to people-watch. The two saw the world together — China, South America, much of Europe — and brought the best of it back home, where Lila taught a Chinese cooking class in town.
Throughout her life, Lila flashed the formidable intellect that would power her through weekly bridge games, a mountain of books, and countless Scrabble triumphs well into her last decades. She graduated, at 16, from House in the Pines boarding school. She had a degree from Smith College before she turned 20. She worked for the C.D.C. in Georgia before returning north. “I’ve lived a very long life,” she said in recent years. “And I’ve lived a very happy life.”
Lila loved new people, presiding over an ever-expanding Thanksgiving table, and she hated missing things. Asked once if she might consider a nap after a poor night’s sleep, she banished the thought: “I’ll sleep tonight.” She was persuaded to acquire hearing aids only when convinced she might not be catching everything her grandchildren were saying around the house. She knew what she cared about most — her family and her many friends, namely — and she knew what she did not care about at all, a list that once included a medical professional’s grim cancer prognosis for her some 30 years ago. “He doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” she said calmly once he left, returning to her crossword.
Lila is survived by her children: Donald Green (Judy); Sally Green (Richard Flegenheimer); Samuel Green (Judy White); and Jeffrey Green (Anne Koplin); a sister, Sue Nager; seven grandchildren: Joshua (Han), Andrew, Ayla (Sean), Matthew, Jonathan (Kelly), Matan and Lia; a great-grandson, Kai (a thrilling arrival after several years spent gently nudging her grandchildren to get a move on); and many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her husband Warren and a sister, Harriet Bloom.
The family would like to thank those who helped care for Lila, particularly Dawn and Ketie, Dr. Robert Dinsmore, and the team at Hospice of Orange and Sullivan Counties.
Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, October 14, at Temple Sinai Cemetery in Circleville, N.Y.
Donations may be made to Hospice of Orange and Sullivan Counties, 800 Stony Brook Court, Newburgh, N.Y., 12550, or to Temple Sinai, 75 Highland Ave., Middletown, NY 10940.
To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Lila Green, please visit our Tree Store.