Dr. Morris B. Green Jr., art teacher, watercolorist


Dr. Morris Baldwin Green Jr., 64, an art teacher and watercolorist, died Friday from complications after heart bypass surgery at Union Memorial Hospital, his family said.

He retired in 1980 from Howard High School near Columbia, the school where he began his career in 1953.

In 1978 he was chosen as Maryland's Teacher of the Year and in 1979 was named Howard County Teacher of the Year.

"I don't like the word retirement," he said. "I'm just shifting gears. I don't want to back into the grave, as Hemingway said. I'd like to do more of my own painting; I'd like to get out and stretch my own wings."

In a 1980 profile, a reporter wrote: "You'll know Morris Green when you see him. . . . He's wearing an orange bow tie and an ancient Sears smock with brass buttons, a coat of many colors no one could love but the absent-minded artist."

Dr. Green grew up in Hamilton, the son of a physician, and was a 1948 graduate of Park School. He earned his bachelor's degree in fine arts from the Maryland Institute in 1953, a master's degree from Loyola College and a doctorate in art education from the Inca Garcilasso de la Vega, in Lima, Peru. In 1972 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from St. Peters Collegiate Academy in Sheffield, England.

He began his career in Howard County after teaching briefly at Clifton Park Junior High School.

"When I first came to Howard, there were still horses and cows near the building; you had to watch where you walked sometimes out front," he recalled in an interview.

An accomplished watercolorist, he was a Fellow in the Royal Society of the Arts in London and was a member of the Baltimore Watercolor Society, the Art Guild, the Maryland Federation of Art, the Rehoboth Art League and Artists Equity.

This spring he attended the first meeting of the Boston chapter of the Royal Society of Arts, Industry and Commerce, the first chapter established in the United States.

At the time of his death he was a teacher of watercolors at the Renaissance Institute at the College of Notre Dame, and at the Columbia Center for the Arts in Columbia. He also taught at his home in Parkville where he had lived for many years.

"Dr. Green was gifted," said Mary Lu McNeal, director of the Renaissance Institute. "He could bring watercolors from people who never before held a paintbrush.

"After five or six sessions he could get them to paint. He could free people and was fond of saying, 'If you love them enough you can bring forth their creativity and ability.' He lived his life that way."

Charles Wagner, supervisor of art education for Howard County schools, recalled Dr. Green as "a gentle person with a childlike approach to teaching and a unique way of stimulating students."

Dr. Green found inspiration for his seascapes and landscapes in England, Scotland and France, as well as in Maryland -- Easton, Oxford and Kent Island.

Two weeks ago, he returned from a painting trip to Maine.

"He loved Kennebunk and Boothbay," said his wife, the former Joan Myers whom he married in 1990. Of Dr. Green's outgoing personality, she said, "He tried to draw people out with a smile, a handshake, or a nod to a stranger. He tried to lift their spirits."

His wife said he also enjoyed listening to and collecting Big Band music with a focus on the Glenn Miller Orchestra.

Services were set for 10 a.m. today at the Church of the Holy Comforter, 130 W. Seminary Ave., Lutherville.

His first wife, Kathleen Sellers Green, died in 1987.

Besides his wife, he is survived by a daughter, Kathy Bell of Olney; a granddaughter; a nephew, Frederick Rainey of Sydney, Australia; a niece, Jennifer Esphane of Houston, Texas; four stepchildren; and eight step-grandchildren.

The family suggested that memorial contributions be made to Renaissance Institute, College of Notre Dame, 4701 N. Charles St., Baltimore 21210.

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