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Late Jimmie Green served on county, city councils

Remembered as a ‘wonderful human being’

Posted: July 17, 2017 4:56 p.m.
Updated: July 18, 2017 1:00 a.m.
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Jimmie Green

James Davis “Jimmie” Green who served on Kershaw County Council for one term starting in 1969 and then on Camden City Council from 1992 to 2000, died Saturday. He was 81.

Longtime friends said they will remember Green as a kind man with good values.

“We go back a long ways,” said Frank Goodale, owner of F.D. Goodale Jewelers. “We’ve known each other since before we were married. In fact, he was in my wedding.”

Goodale said he was three years older than Green.

“We didn’t pal around much in high school, but got closer as time went by,” he said. “I was going to Wofford (College) and he was thinking about going to The Citadel. I invited him up for the weekend and he was really impressed and went to Wofford instead of The Citadel. I think he just liked the more relaxed atmosphere.”

This was the 1950s. Goodale graduated in 1955; Green started at Wofford in 1952, but later transferred to the University of South Carolina where he received his accounting degree in 1957.

“I liked him a lot. He was a really close friend. My parents and his parents were friends, and it was a wonderful relationship that we all had,” Goodale said. “I’ll miss him because he was a very good friend.”

Goodale said Green was also a good citizen, having served on both county and city council. And, he remarked, deserving of the preparations for a Leaders Legacy Bench that had been made to honor him and his, brother, H. Davis Green.

“It was unfortunate that he didn’t get to see it, but he knew it was coming, so that was a good thing,” Goodale said.

Peggy Mays said she and her husband, Lee, were friends with Green and his wife, Primrose, who died in 2007, all their lives.

“We are just crushed,” Mays said. “He was a wonderful human being. He had so much love to give, to the Lord, his family and friends. We were godparents to each other’s children.”

Like Goodale, Lee Mays attended Wofford with Green and his brother, Davis. Peggy Mays said she was friends with Primrose Green from childhood.

“I still miss her every day. We just go back so far. We all grew up together. We were in each other’s weddings. Every summer, we vacationed together at Ocean Drive Beach. We tailgated together for Carolina football games and we went to all the basketball games. We’d go three times a week -- Frank McGuire was coach and the team was wonderful. It was so much fun,” Mays said.

Mays said her husband opened his dental practice around the same time Green started his accounting firm. She said Green’s love also extended to the city of Camden, saying he worked hard for the city by serving on both county and city councils.

“And there was so much respect between him and Phil,” May said, referring to the late Mayor Phil Minges.

But she said it was friendship that defined Green for her and her husband.

“We were just like family to each other, and our children are still very close to each other,” she said.

Mays noted that her husband attended a Camden High School Class of 1953 reunion recently at Green’s home.

“He loved having it there,” she said of Green. “He was sick, but really hadn’t let on. He had the best time and loved every minute of it. He loved having his friends there.

“He’s going to be missed.”

One of those who will miss him is former Camden City Councilman Vernon Hammond, who said he admired his former colleague’s way of handling things.”

“I told my wife that I had actually sat next to Jimmie for eight years, which means we were together at least once or twice a week,” Hammond said. “You really get to know somebody when you sit next to each other for so long.”

Hammond said he was especially upset by Green’s passing because he had just seen Green about a month ago at Piggly Wiggly.

“We talked and I thought he looked pretty good and he sounded real good. We talked for about 30 minutes at the meat counter and, inevitably, we ended up talking about council and about Phil Minges,” Hammond said.

He described Green has having a ‘real calming effect’ on council, which -- depending on which of the eight years Green served -- consisted of Green, Hammond, Minges, Clifton Alexander, Tony Boykin, Mary Clark and Nick Lampshire.

“His personality was such -- he was very professional -- that he was very attentive to whatever concerns anyone had on council. He listened to what people said out in the community and I really believe he enjoyed being on council,” Hammond said. “I think he felt we had work to do. He was a very smart man but also had, in my mind, an awful lot of common sense and people skills. That was something I admired about him. He was a sincere person and was truly one of those people that you really wanted to be in public office because he was totally about serving the public. He was a public servant, not a politician, who believed we should do as much good as we could while we were there.”

One of the major issues Hammond said council dealt with while Green was on council was getting the city’s water plant built up on Lake Wateree.

“Phil Minges and I knew that was the thing to do, and I remember we were gung-ho about getting it built. We had everything laid out and we were ready to have it go on the ballot,” he said.

Hammond said someone from a private water provider approached Green about a possible alternative.

“Jimmie wanted us to stop and take a hard look,” Hammond said. “This was an instance where we disagreed, but the reason he wanted to do this was he thought it might save us some money. I mean, we were talking about putting a $20 million debt on the city.”

Once council did go through the numbers, it turned out that the originally proposed plant was still the better option, for which, Hammond said, council voted unanimously.

“He just wanted to make sure, one more time, that we had done the right thing because the ramifications were going to be enormous,” he said.

Hammond said another item the city faced was one on which Green worked more quietly. At the time, the city was working very hard on infrastructure replacement and redeveloping downtown Camden. Hammond said Green was happy with that, but pointed out that the city’s parks were being left behind.

“While our council didn’t do much with that, it allowed subsequent councils to do a better job than we did, along with thanks to Willard Polk,” Hammond said. “Jimmie was the catalyst for us to pay more attention. He thought it was great to fix the roads and the pipes, but that we needed to think of quality of life things like the parks. I’m not sure he really got the recognition for that.

“I’m going to miss him. The city is certainly a better place because of Jimmie Green’s service.”

During his eight years on Camden City Council, Green served at least one year as mayor pro tem.

He also served in the United States Army and the South Carolina National Guard for 12 years.

According to his obituary, Green was born in Lancaster.

He spent nearly 59 years as a practicing certified public accountant in both private and corporate accounting. He began his public accounting career with Robert A. Bruce & Co. in 1958, opened his own firm in 1962 and then formed Carswell, Green and Cantey in 1972. Green also worked in corporate accounting with Harold D. Jackson Co. and, most recently, with Tobaccoville USA Inc.

Green was a charter member and president of the Camden Sertoma Club. He served as co-chairman of the United Way of Kershaw County and served on the board and as president of the Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce. He was a member and past president of the Camden Rotary Club. Green also served as a member of the S.C. State Board of Education and was chairman in 1980.

Funeral services are being held today at 2 p.m. at Lyttleton Street United Methodist Church with burial following in Quaker Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that memorials be made to the church at 1206 Lyttleton St., Camden, SC 29020, or to the W.F. Nettles Jr. Scholarship Fund at Wofford College.

Green is survived by his three children, James D. “Jay” Green Jr. and his wife, Becca of Camden, Primrose Green Fisher, and her husband, George, of Augusta, Ga., and Dr. William Nettles Green, and his wife, Amy, of Columbia; nine grandchildren, J.D. Green III, Fletcher Green, Mary Margaret Green, Prim Fisher, Wren Fisher, Anne Brennen Fisher, Dorian Green, Amelia Green and Nettles Green Jr.; and a brother, Henry Davis Green Jr. and his wife, GG, of Camden.

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