2015 Honoree Ray Greene

Ray Green: A Renaissance Man

Ray Greene of New Britain, who passed away on April 22, 2015, was a U.S. Navy aerial gunner and dive bomber who took part in 23 World War II combat missions, including missions over Tokyo, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

Ray joined the Navy in 1942, and in 1944 learned that his older brother Wally had been killed over New Britain Island. He was thus inspired to avenge his brother’s death and did so with tremendous skill and bravery, being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross twice for valor, as well as three air medals and battle stars for his service in the Pacific Theater.

Ray was a true renaissance man, leading a distinguished, varied and accomplished life that touched many. The many hats Ray wore included paperboy, war hero, college graduate (CCSU and Wesleyan University), commercial artist, tool-and-die maker, English and art teacher, teacher of the Gaelic language, storyteller extraordinaire, marathon runner (24 marathons and 38 years running in the Manchester Road Race) – and frequent guest and singer of the National Anthem at National Iwo Jima Memorial events and more.

Said Ray before he passed, “I’ve had a lot of different careers. I’ve learned about life – and that you do not live forever.”

Says his daughter Deirdre, “He was so proud of his service. Losing his brother Wally and being able to avenge his loss was probably what he was most proud of.”

Green and his wife, the late Margaret “Mickey” Greene, raised eight children and one “honorary” child, and had 18 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.