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Idelia M. Green, a retired Baltimore public schools educator whose career spanned nearly four decades, dies

Idelia M. Green taught in Baltimore public schools from 1973 until she retired in 2011.
Idelia M. Green taught in Baltimore public schools from 1973 until she retired in 2011. (Handout / HANDOUT)

Idelia M. Green, who taught business education in Baltimore public schools for nearly four decades and was first lady of the Christian Community Church of God, died May 17 at her Catonsville home of endometrial/uterine cancer. She was 69.

“The children loved her and she treated them like they were her own, but she was a strict educator and she let them know that they did not cross a certain line,” said Carolyn M. Dunn, who taught social studies at Northern High School in the 1990s. “She was one of the most wonderful individuals I’ve ever met. She was pleasant, and the children always came first.”

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Rita B. Whiting, a business teacher, taught with Ms. Green at Southwestern High School, and later at Southern High School.

“Idelia was my department chair at Southern,” Ms. Whiting said. “She was an excellent teacher and she was always very concerned about the students. She was energetic, a nice person, and generous to the students, their families, and our teachers. And she did everything possible to make sure those students graduated.”

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The former Idelia May Green, daughter of Jesse B. Johnson, a lithographer, and his wife, Lillian C. Johnson, a machine operator, was born and raised in Baltimore.

After graduating from Edmondson High School in 1970, she earned a bachelor’s degree in 1974 in business education from Morgan State University, where she was a cum laude graduate, and a master’s degree from Coppin State University. She also held an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Eastern Theological Seminary.

Ms. Green began teaching business education at Edmondson High School in 1973. She later taught at Southwestern High School, Southern High School, Northern High School, and at the time of her retirement in 2011, was on the faculty at Reginald F. Lewis High School.

“Our classrooms were next door to one another at Reginald F. Lewis High School,” said Stephanie Rowe, a business teacher who retired from Lewis in 2015. “She was awesome. She was a very compassionate and caring person who cared about the students and staff, and was a great teacher. She’d do anything in her power to help.”

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She recalled that Ms. Green gave her students a Thanksgiving dinner one year.

“She always had an encouraging word. If you came in and were having a bad day, she’d say something encouraging,” Ms. Rowe said. “She was one in a million and will be truly missed.”

Said Ms. Dunn: “Our classrooms were near each other so we had a lot of interaction. We did projects together, trips and graduations.”

She said they were not only colleagues, but also close friends.

“She never judged you. She’d listen to you about your situation and then she’d tell you how to work it out,” Ms. Dunn said. “I could talk to her about an issue with a child or a parent and ask her what was her advice. I really appreciated that part of her.”

For students who were suffering from economic challenges, Ms. Green would purchase prom gowns, tuxedos, and caps and gowns.

“She purchased tickets for her students whose parents could not afford to send them to their prom,” said a daughter, Melody Typicia Green Lewis of Catonsville. “She did many fundraisers over the years to help with the cost of these events.”

Other roles that Ms. Green assumed included serving as class adviser and graduation coordinator.

The Rev. Darrell S. Greene, pastor of the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Church in Columbia, knew Ms. Green from their days together at Morgan.

“She was very dedicated to the Lord, and that came through in her teaching and how she related to her students,” Mr. Greene said. “Her faith was very real to her and from the teaching aspects, she was a determined teacher who wanted to help her students grow, not just academically, but the total person. She taught the whole child.”

Ms. Green brought the same enthusiasm that she had for teaching to her work as a member of the Christian Community Church of God, where her husband, Dr. Rev. Melvin C. Green, her high school sweetheart whom she married in 1971, had been senior pastor since 1995.

As first lady of her husband’s church, Ms. Green was co-leader for the Women of Excellence ministry, and taught Saturday Bible study and Thursday night in-person Bible study. She was also leader of the Miriam Praise Dancers and supported her husband’s ministry.

She participated in many ministers’ conferences, some of which included Hampton University’s Ministers’ Conference and Choir Directors and Organists Guild, TD Jakes’ MegaFest, Creflo Dollar Ministries Conferences and Joyce Meyer’s Ministries Conferences.

“She loved traveling with her husband to Chicago, Atlanta, and New York to church hop all day and night and not get tired,” according to a biographical profile of Ms. Green submitted by her family.

A stylish dresser, she was known for her colorful millinery, which she coordinated with the outfits she wore to church.

A talented cook, she was known for such specialty dishes as slow-cooked chuck roast, cooked on the top of the stove, cabbage with fatback, fried corn that had been carefully removed from the cob, sweet potato pies and candied sweet potatoes.

Ms. Green was also a world traveler and had visited the Holy Land and Rome. She also enjoyed going to New York to attend Broadway musicals and concerts at Carnegie Hall.

Services were held Sunday at her church.

In addition to her husband of 49 years and daughter, she is survived by another daughter, Cerise Trumaine Green-Palmer of Catonsville; her mother, Lillian C. Johnson of Ellicott City; four sisters, Janice Jackson of Woodlawn, Sandra White of Ellicott City, Jestine May of Elkridge and Michelle Sutton of Dallas; three grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

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