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Stanley Renkiewicz
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Charles Bienkowski
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Bienkowski, Charles

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Obituary for Charles D. "Dave" Green

Charles D. "Dave"  Green
Charles D. Green, Dave to his family and friends — to distinguish him from his father, Charlie Green — lived a life flanked by bogies and birdies, but it was his work over 50 years in the resins and powder coatings industry and his family that defined him. He continued that work until he died Friday, June 12 from complications following heart surgery. He was 79.

Dave met his bride Linda of nearly 59 years in high school. He lived in Olney, a small farming community in southern Illinois known for its white squirrels that played city center to Linda’s home in Dundas, a one-stoplight town of farmland and agriculture nine miles north. In 1957, their junior year in high school, he asked to drive Linda home from a party to a friend’s house where she was spending the night. They were together from that day on. They shared a passion for music through the high school chorus and marching and concert bands. Dave played snare drum and tuba and Linda played the clarinet. He loved being in the band. Gus and Mary Sliva were the Olney High School band and chorus directors. “They served as second parents for everyone,” Linda said. “All our friends were in the band and chorus. Every year we took a trip to places like St. Louis and Champaign to see a concert together. We even saw Louis Armstrong.” “Gus and Mary were instrumental in developing our love for music and the classics,” she said.

Dave and Linda went to their junior and senior proms together, were engaged in 1960 and married the next year. They moved into their first apartment together in Carbondale, Illinois while Dave completed his undergraduate degree in chemistry at Southern Illinois University.

Dave was the oldest of Charles Willard’s and Martha Novella Green’s three children. Charles owned and operated Green’s Dry Cleaners in Olney, where Dave worked during high school. He used to open the dry cleaners in the morning on weekends when his father went fishing on Vernor Lake, known to locals as the “Olney reservoir.”

The later Dave stayed out on Friday night, the earlier his dad would wake him for work, Linda said.

The son of a dry cleaner, Dave took special pride in pressing his clothes with military creases before school. He wore his hair in a “ducktail,” a signature of the times. His sister, Sarah Colby, 74, said, “he would smear his hair with ‘goop’ and stand forever with his back to the bathroom mirror, with a small hand mirror so he could see the back of his head to make the perfectly combed ducktail.” With his crisp white shirts, perfectly starched jeans and blue suede shoes, Dave strode with the swagger of James Dean and Elvis while courting his bride-to-be.

Sarah and their youngest sister, Mitzi Loftus, 69, moved with the family to Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1960.

Sarah said Dave was always their mother’s, known as “Granny” to the family, favorite.

“After they moved to Tucson, whenever they were coming for a visit to ABQ, she would take her lawn chair out to the front lawn and never move until they would arrive,” she wrote in a text message. “Then Linda, Dave and Granny would stay up talking half the night. Fun times! No lawn chair time when I came home 😂.”
Dave and Linda moved to Champaign-Urbana, Illinois in the fall of 1962 when he started graduate school at University of Illinois. When his academic advisor and mentor, Professor Robert Bates, accepted a new job at University of Arizona, he and Linda followed Bates to Tucson where Dave completed his doctorate of philosophy in chemistry in 1967.

It was during their time in Tucson that Linda bought Dave his first set of golf clubs, a hobby they shared for the rest of their lives together. In over five decades of golf, Dave accomplished in 2014 the rare feat of a hole-in-one on his home course of Crane’s Roost in Leesburg, Florida, near Orlando, where they lived and played golf for 16 years. He recently purchased his first set of custom made golf clubs, still determined to bring down that handicap.

Dave started in January 1967 his illustrious career as a research chemist for Celanese Corporation in Corpus Christi, Texas. After eighteen months, he transferred to Celanese’s Louisville, Kentucky division, after which he and Linda had their first son, Troy David, in 1970 and second son, Gary Wayne, two years later.

In between the births of his boys, Dave secured his first of several U.S. patents for innovations in powder coatings and paint resins. Over the course of his long career working for Celanese, Reichhold Chemical in Pensacola, Florida, Ferro Corporation in Cleveland, Ohio and Estron Chemical in Calvert City, Kentucky, he became the foremost expert on powder coatings and resins.

Debbie Perkins, the regional business manager for Estron, who also worked with Dave when he was at Ferro and she was the market manager for SC Johnson in Racine, Wisconsin, said he was in the unique position of understanding the manufacturing side and the customer base.

Dave also took the time to teach her about the industry.

“I learned so much from him of how to be a professional during difficult times. He was a consummate professional,” she said. “I just considered Dave both a friend and mentor.”

At the peak of his career, he ascended to technical director and vice president of technology for Reichhold. In 2007, he was inducted into the Powder Coatings Institute Hall of Fame. He retired from full-time work in 2004 and continued consulting as technical associate for Estron throughout his retirement. He was a member of the American Chemical Society for nearly 60 years.

Dave was a man of science. He had strong convictions and lived to solve problems. He took pride in being the person family and friends came to for advice or for help fixing their cars, computers, appliances and more.

His niece Jan Fonder said, “Uncle Dave was the smartest man I have ever known.”

Dave didn’t just coach his colleagues, he helped family too.
“Uncle Dave was my mentor — professionally. He always gave me great advice,” Jan said. “When I had a question about anything, Uncle Dave could always find time to talk to me and help me find an answer.”

His sons used to say if he didn’t know the answer to something, he would just make it up and use such big words that nobody would understand or know any better.

Dave and Linda lost Troy to cancer in 2010. Those who knew Dave best said he was never the same afterward. He and Linda continued to play golf, travel and spend time in Orlando with Gary, his wife Jeanette and their two children, Jessica and Sean, but there was an ever-present sense of loss. And underlying anger. A frustration that life robbed him of something so precious, too soon.

Dave and Linda, born just a few months apart in 1940, were going to celebrate their 80th birthdays and 59th wedding anniversary this summer.

Linda sat by his bedside at AdventHealth Waterman hospital in Tavares every day for nearly five weeks following quadruple bypass heart surgery. As COPD robbed his lungs of life, she held his hand, kissed him on the forehead and told him to go home to be with Troy. He took his last breath at 10:51 p.m., June 12.

“He was the love of my life and the best thing that ever happened to me since the first time we went to that party. We did not always see eye to eye on things, but we did see eye to eye when it came to ‘I love you.’”

In addition to his wife Linda Green, 79, Dave is survived by his son Gary Green, 47, and his wife, Jeanette Green, 55; two grandchildren, Sean Gallagher, 23, and Jessica Lucero, 30, and her husband Christian Lucero, 27; daughter-in-law, Jennifer Green, 48; and two sisters, Sarah Colby, 74, and Mitzi Loftus, 69.

A service in his memory will be held at Community United Methodist Church of Fruitland Park, Florida, 309 College Ave., Saturday, June 20 at 11 a.m. A reception will follow at the Manor of The Plantation of Leesburg, 25201 US Highway 27 in Leesburg, Florida at 1:30 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in memory of Charles David Green to the American Cancer Society.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Charles D. "Dave" Green, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.

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