Saturday, June 7, 2003

Obituary: Anne Greene, member of Sawyer clan

A leader in charity, business

Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

KETTERING - Anne Sawyer Greene, a member of the family for whom Sawyer Point is named, died of lung cancer May 23 at her Kettering home, with her children at her side.

A woman of means and social prominence, she lived by her belief that those born to privilege should give back, according to her son, John P. Williams Jr. of Newport.

"She did it with both her time and treasure," her son said.

But "like most great mothers, her family would be first."

A native of Glendale, Mrs. Greene, 83, was prominent in Dayton, Ohio, where she was the first woman to lead several cultural and civic organizations.

She was the first woman director of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, the Dayton Foundation, the First National Bank (now National City), and the Dayton United Way.

And these are just a few of the organizations for which she worked tirelessly for more than three decades.

"She was interested in civil rights back in the 1960s," said her son. "She cared about human dignity."

She was board president of the Community Welfare Council, vice president of the Dayton Art Institute, board member of the Dayton Black Cultural Festival and chair of the Dayton Human Relations Commission, among many others.

She is credited with reviving Dayton's historic Victoria Theatre and enjoyed going there until a couple of months before her death.

She was inducted into the Dayton Walk of Fame in 2002.

"She was an avid Bengals fan," her son said. "Paul Brown used to say she was his best cheerer."

Born in Cincinnati in 1920, Mrs. Greene was the daughter of Charles Sawyer, lieutenant governor of Ohio, U.S. ambassador to Belgium, U.S. minister to Luxembourg, and Secretary of Commerce; and Margaret Johnston Sawyer, who died in 1937.

She was a 1937 graduate of Abbot Academy in Andover, Mass., and attended Vassar College and the University of Cincinnati. She lived in Cincinnati until 1945.

Mrs. Greene was a member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Moraine Country Club and Miami Valley Hunt and Polo Club.

Her husband, John B. Greene, died in 1997, and a daughter Gertrude B. "Jill" Schultz, in 1990.

Survivors include four daughters, Judith Whiting of Fort Bragg, Calif., Valerie Higgins of Fox Island, Wash., Mary Elizabeth Welpton of Clearwater, Fla. and Susan Davenport-Spigle of Charlottesville, Va.; two other sons, Alexander J. Williams of Dayton, and John B. Greene Jr. of Anacortes, Wash.; two brothers, John Sawyer of Indian Hill and Edward Sawyer of Anderson Township; 13 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Services have been held. Burial was at Spring Grove Cemetery.

Memorials: St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 33 West Dixon Ave. Dayton, Ohio 45419; or a charity of the donor's choice.


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