For eight decades, the Greene family has helped people at the time of greatest suffering the death of a loved one.
Fridays funerals will be like all that have come before. Those working at Greene Funeral Home Northwest Chapel will offer compassion, love, respect and dignity, treating everyone equally.
One funeral, however, will be like no other. At 2 p.m., services start for Howard Franklin Buddy Greene, the second generation of Greenes to work in the family business. He died Wednesday at 85.
Gina Garrison is directing Greenes funeral.
We will give his family the respect, love and care we give any family, Garrison said Thursday.
Thats how it is always done at Greenes.
But expect tears too.
Buddy Greene was more than a boss to those who worked with him.
He was a caring person who every time he arrived at work would either hug, or give a kiss on the cheek, to everyone in the building. He was the person who each Valentines Day gave Garrison a box of chocolates.
And he was the person who taught me how to love people, Garrison said. It doesnt matter where they come from. You love them equally, love them unconditionally.
Two of Buddys children, Howard Franklin Greene Jr. and Susan Greene Fisher, now run the business.
It doesnt matter that you are in the funeral business, this is still very hard and you are unprepared, Frank Greene Jr. said Thursday. You miss them, a part of you is gone.
He said being with his father Wednesday was hardest day of his life.
As hard as it will be on the Greene family, Frank Greene Jr. said it will be harder on those who worked with him. To some, Buddy Greene was a father figure, to others he was Uncle Buddy.
He loved his family and they were family, said the son.
Could talk warts off
Buddy Greene died Wednesday at the Westminster Healthcare Center. He had officially been with the family business since 1964 when he stopped delivering the U.S. mail to work for his father.
Unofficially, Buddy Greene had always been a part of the family business and his father, Toy, helped shape his sons personality and faith.
His father and mother, Ruby Faulkenberry Greene, taught him to not only love people, but to go out of his way to help them, said his son.
Everyone was family, Frank Greene Jr. said.
Betty Jo Rhea, a family friend and former Rock Hill mayor, said Buddy Greene was such a gentleman. He loved Rock Hill and was good to all its residents.
Rhea said Buddy Greene inherited from his father the knack for being impeccably dressed and the ability to talk warts off.
You could tell father or son the number of warts you had and through hocus pocus the Greenes would talk them away, she said.
Buddy Green also had a impeccable, Christ-centered life, said the Rev. Jerry DeVinney.
He was a man of his word, he had great Christian character, said DeVinney. When you shook his hand you knew his word was his bond.
DeVinney will officiate todays funeral, as he did at Toy Greenes funeral.
Buddy Greens lifestyle was because of his faith, DeVinney said. I never heard one negative word about this man, about his integrity, about his character.
He has done nothing but serve the people of Rock Hill.
DeVinney said Buddy Greene carried the same people-first attitude with him when he went home. If you were invited into the Greene home it was like walking into Mayberry and Andy Griffiths home, DeVinney said. the first thing he would ask was what do you need?
He was so outgoing, said his son Frank, that when he went to a restaurant, people would think he was a politician. We would search out people to talk to them, Frank Greene Jr. said.
The son cared for his father during his final illness, spending time each night with him. Some of the time was passed watching Buddy Greenes favorite television show, Wheel of Fortune.
We tried to beat the contestants, and we got pretty good about it, Frank Greene Jr. said.
If baseball was in season, the television was tuned to the Atlanta Braves game. Recently retired Braves third-baseman Chipper Jones was among Buddy Greenes favorite players.
After the Braves won Wednesday night, Frank Green Jr. posted on a Facebook page they won that one for you.
Rhea and DeVinney said people may never know just how benevolent Buddy Greene was. If a family couldnt pay for a funeral, or was late on payments, Buddy Greene would often forgive their debts or not charge them, DeVinney said.
This was a family that worked behind the scenes, Rhea said. They did things in the background to support Rock Hill.
They waited on everyone in town, DeVinney said, Now its time to pay them back. This is one of the men who has hero status. He did it and he did it right.
Don Worthington • 803-329-4066