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Freida Bailey Greene

Freida Bailey Greene, age 95, died on Oct., 13, in Redford, Michigan.

Her memorial service will be held at Westminster Church of Detroit, 17567 Hubbell Street at West Outer Drive, Detroit, Michigan 48235, on Oct. 26 at 11:00 a.m., preceded by a family hour at 10 a.m. Reverends Mary Austin and Jim Rizer will officiate.

She was born in Oklahoma City, Okla., on Feb. 22, 1918 (though her official birth certificate said Feb. 25). She was the daughter of the late Joseph Thomas Bailey and Clara Netta Caldwell Bailey. She was the third of their four children and was predeceased by her sisters Theresa Bailey Breaux (Martin) and Elizabeth Bailey Snelling, and her younger brother, Joseph Thomas Bailey, Jr. (Marjorie Shannon).

When Freida was eleven years old, her family moved from Oklahoma City to Detroit. She attended Detroit Public Schools from seventh through twelfth grades and graduated from Northwestern High School in 1934. She began college at Michigan State Normal College (now Eastern Michigan University) and continued at Wayne University (now Wayne State University), graduating in 1939 with a Bachelor’s of Science in education. In 1960, she received a Master’s of Education, also from WU. Freida was a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority and served as treasurer of her alumni chapter. She was also a member of the international honor society for women educators, Delta Kappa Gamma, and a was life member of the NAACP.

Freida eloped and married Walter R. Greene, Jr., on Nov. 2, 1940, but that event was kept a secret from their families until after his death in 1992. They had a traditional wedding in her family home on Aug. 10, 1941, and every year for 50 years they celebrated the August date with their family and friends.

Freida worked for the Detroit Public Schools from 1939 as a grade school teacher, reading specialist, assistant principal and principal, retiring in 1977 as the head of Sherrill School. However, in 1952 and 1953 she taught for the U.S. Army in Frankfurt and Hoechst, Germany, while her husband was stationed there with the U.S. Army. Freida was also the assistant director of the Detroit Regional Center for Grand Valley State Colleges from 1980 through 1982.

Freida had a beautiful voice and relished singing in her church choirs at St Andrew’s United Presbyterian Church, Outer Drive United Presbyterian Church and Westminster Church of Detroit. She also served her churches as a faithful committee member and club officer, board of trustees member and officer, and she was ordained an elder and member of session at Westminster. In the 1960s, she was on the steering committee for Black Presbyterians United and a member of the Presbyterian Interracial Council. During the 1970s, she served the Detroit Presbytery as chair of the Urban Ministries Cabinet and also served on the Urban Strategies Task force for the Synod of the Covenant of the United Presbyterian Church. She was an observer at the World Council of Churches in Upsala, Sweden in 1969, and a board member of the Presbyterian Villages of Michigan from 1968 through 1976.

Freida’s community service activities included being on the board of trustees at Mercy College of Detroit, the University of Detroit Mercy, the Detroit Music School, and Brighton Hospital.  She was also very active with the Women’s Association for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra serving on its board of directors and as treasurer. She served on the Corporate Leadership Board for the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Metropolitan Detroit and chaired the unit management council for Bloomer Building. She was also active with the Founders Society of the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Women’s Committee of the March of Dimes, and the Cystic Fibrosis Research Fund co-chair.

Freida is survived by two sons, Walter R. Greene III (Colleen Dolan-Greene) of Detroit, and Gregory C. Greene (Debi) of Canton; three grandsons, Walter R. Greene IV (Karen) and his mother Deborah Meyers Greene, Dustin C. Greene and his mother Cheryl Maliniemi Greene, and Nicholas J. D. Greene; a great-grandson, Montgomery Walter Greene and a step-great-granddaughter Brittany Moore; and a step-great-great-granddaughter Ava Moore. She is also survived by her niece Iris Bailey and nephew Michael Bailey of Cleveland; first cousins Charles Hughes and Rudolph Caldwell, and many other family and friends.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to one of the organizations that was important to her: Camp Westminster, the Karmanos Cancer Institute, Village of Redford — Presbyterian Village of Michigan or  the University of Detroit Mercy.

Her arrangements were handled by the Cremation Society of Michigan. Please take a moment to share your memory of Freida with her family by signing her guestbook at:

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