Obituary: Ned Greene, longtime civic leader, dies at 95
Former Wilton Police Commissioner Edward “Ned” E. Greene, whose long life and involvement in town politics mirrored the changing face of his adopted hometown, died on Oct. 8 at NHC Health Center in Bluffton, S.C.
He was 95, and was the husband of the late Valerie Loomis Greene.
Greene, formerly of Whitewood Lane, parlayed a sense of civic duty and a spirit of nonpartisanship into years of public service, not only as chairman of the Wilton Police Commission, but also as a member of the town’s first five-man Board of Selectmen, the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Board of Finance, and the Wilton Kiwanis Club. He was also a longtime justice of the peace.
A fourth generation New Yorker, Greene was inspired early on by his parents’ public service. His mother, Geraldine Watson, a practicing physician, headed a Red Cross organization in Paris during World War I. His father, Frederick Greene, a volunteer ambulance driver, joined first the French, then the American armies, meeting his future wife on the way home.
Greene graduated from Yale University in 1943 with a degree in psychology, but enlisted in the Air Force before his graduation ceremony. As a staff sergeant in World War II, he served in a communications unit in the Pacific theater, participating in the capture of Kwajaein Atollo, part of the Marshall Island chain. Twenty-five years would pass before he and his Yale classmates finally had their graduation.
With his wife and three young sons, Greene moved to Wilton in 1955, commuting to his public relations job in the city and developing an interest in town governance. In a 2013 interview with the Wilton Bulletin, Greene said, “You pick a major hobby. You may join a church group, or another organization. Or you can regard the town as your hobby, moving through all of the boards and commissions. It’s your contribution to society outside of work.”
In 1963, Greene was elected to Wilton’s newly expanded Board of Selectmen, made larger to better represent the community as it grew, fueled by its proximity to New York City and Long Island Sound. The five-member board remains a staple of local government.
Greene’s interest in local politics never waned. Even after he retired, he continued to watch every Board of Selectmen meeting on community television until he moved to South Carolina in 2014.
He is survived by his family, Kenneth & Kathy Greene of Elijay, GA; Gerry & Kathy Greene of Bluffton, SC; and Chris Greene of Wilton, along with his grandchildren, Scott and Kristen.
A memorial service will be held at Bouton Funeral Home in Georgetown on Saturday, Nov. 4, at 3 p.m. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Wilton Kiwanis Club at http://www.wiltonkiwanis.org.