Mayor Don Green, who passed earlier this year on July 4 at 88, left an indelible mark on his cherished hometown.
Cullman City Council President Dr. Jenny Folsom shared, “Whether you knew him as Coach Green, Dr. Green or Mayor Green, everyone loved and respected Donald Green and he loved Cullman. He was a pillar of this community, and his contributions will never be forgotten.”
Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs explained why Green was important to him and Cullman as a whole.
“Mayor Green had such an ability to make the long-range decisions, which were often difficult choices. He had the most concentrated, but diverse, perspective when wrestling with issues that possessed consequences- both good and bad. Don was slow and deliberate in his decision-making because of this ability, and because he loved Cullman.
“Oftentimes, in the early years, it was as if we were playing checkers and Don was playing chess. At the time, you may not see the ‘why’ like you wanted, but a short while thereafter, you’d have this epiphany and see why he did what he did, and that was always what was best in the long term for Cullman.
Continuing to speak of Green’s altruism, Jacobs said, “Don was never about Don; there was zero personal agenda with that man. He knew that the decisions of today have everlasting consequences to a whole host of people outside of ourselves.
“Doing the right thing never appeared to be difficult for Don, and because he was this type of person, he had the blessing of a triumphant conscience. Don was a compassionate and kind leader with a pure heart, a good conscience and sincere faith. In a time of such political animosity and division, the world sure could use more people in positions of power like Don Green.”
Prior to his two terms as mayor from 2000-2008, Mayor Green was a well-respected educator and coach.
In a statement released by Cullman City Schools Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff and the Cullman City Board of Education, Kallhoff said, “We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Don Green. He was a true community servant and spent his entire life helping grow and strengthen the City of Cullman and Cullman City Schools.
“He touched countless lives during his decades as a local educator and deepened those relationships during his time serving in local politics and during his two terms as mayor. He will be greatly missed but leaves an indelible legacy behind.”
Born in 1934, Green was a member of the 1953 graduating class of Cullman High School. He went on to earn his bachelor’s degree from Auburn University and followed it with a master’s degree from the University of Alabama. He then traveled to Texas to obtain his doctorate from Texas A&M University. Aside from his four years in Texas and time in the Air Force, Green was a lifelong Cullman resident.
While teaching and coaching at his alma mater, Cullman High School, Green guided a legion of young men and women who still carry his influence many years later.
Alabama Senator and Cullman High School graduate Garlan Gudger shared, “Mayor Green was my teacher, coach, councilman, mayor and most of all, my friend. He had the experience and knowledge to understand what it meant to lead. I could always ask him a question and know that his response would be based on what was best for the community. I will miss my friend and mentor, and Cullman is without a great leader.”
The mayor’s beloved wife Dean (née Drake) Green was also an educator in the local school systems.
Former city councilman Ernest W. Hauk recalled, “I knew Donald for years in many ways. Teaching with his sweet wife Dean was just one way I came to know and love him. In 2000 I was honored to be elected to the city council and was blessed to spend eight years learning from him and watching how this man put personal interests aside for the good of Cullman.
“I quickly saw what a selfless man of integrity Donald Green was. Cullman is a better place for having had such a visionary at the helm. I learned a lot from him and am thankful to call him my friend.”
Green is also remembered as an excellent historian and storyteller who imparted his wisdom to many generations.
Michael Sullins of the City of Cullman Planning Commission shared, “Donald Green was one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met. I got to know him well through Oktoberfest. When researching for historic walking tours, I would ask for his input and he would share stories with me of growing up and living in Cullman.
“After receiving a city board appointment, I asked for his advice. That is what I remember the most when I reflect on our friendship over the years; he shared some of the best nuggets of wisdom I have ever encountered. I know he loved his family and the city of Cullman. He made an impact on my life and he will be missed. Fortunately, I don’t have to venture far from my home downtown to remind me of the lasting, positive influence he made on our city.”
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