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Longtime county resident Lewis 'Lew' Green remembered for smile, sense of humor

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Longtime Williamson County Commissioner, 5th District, Lewis “Lew” William Green Jr., 81, passed away peacefully at the Sarah Cannon Cancer Center on Tuesday, Oct. 3 after an illness.

Among his many friends, Lew will be remembered as a “nice guy” with a gentle nature; a good man and a good friend; a man of high integrity; the salt of the earth; and a family man who loved his wife, his children and his grandchildren.

Mr. Green, a Nolensville resident, is survived by his wife of 57 years, Sandra “Sandy” Morris Green, three children – Bill (Cathy) Green, Megan Johnson and Richard (Anita) Green — sister Janet Fordham, grandchildren Rich Green, Rebecca and Evan Miller, Matthew Green, Hayden Green, Ceynor Johnson and Jack Johnson and great granddaughter Presley Miller.

Mr. Green was a retired systems engineer for IBM, a Korean War Navy veteran and a county commissioner from 1996 to the present. He was a 40-year member and Sunday school teacher at the Nolensville First United Methodist Church, a Boy Scout leader and Nolensville Lions Club member and Melvin Jones Fellow, and a 1961 Ohio University graduate.

According to many loving friends and family, he will be remembered most for his smile and sense of humor.

“I know he wasn’t as old as my father, but he reminded me of my father – he always had a smile on his face and a chuckle,” said Betsy Crossley, a Brentwood city commissioner who worked on several projects with Green and got to know him as a friend.

“He had that sly grin and a chuckle he made when he got tickled with his own story,” recalled Diane Giddens, Williamson County Chief of Staff.

“Whenever I saw him, I called him ‘sweet friend dear Lew’.”

According to Giddens, that started when she and Lew were talking about letters, while waiting for a county government meeting to begin. He chuckled when he mentioned a family member who always began notes to him like it was a letter – “Dear Lew.”

County Mayor Rogers Anderson knew Green as a fellow commissioner and as a friend. He worked with him first as a fellow commissioner and then, the last 15 years, as county mayor. During Green’s 21-years on the Board of Commissioners, he served on every committee and chaired almost every committee at one time or another, Anderson said.

“Lew was one of those people who blended common sense, policy and politics to get a solution,” he added. “He was compassionate, kind, firm and you always knew where he stood on issues. He weighed each matter and looked beyond just Nolensville; he served the entire county. He was a true commissioner.”

Crossley concurred.

“Lew always had the best interest of the people of the 5th District in mind,” she said. “I don’t think they make public servants like Lew anymore. He was a real representative of the people.”

According to Crossley, Lew often went out into the district to talk to constituents about issues and projects, while working to get a good compromise on matters that affected them.

He not only represented his district on the Board of Commissioners, but he also met quarterly with Brentwood city commissioners to fill them in on the district, said Crossley and Brentwood Commissioner Anne Dunn.

“He was a tireless worker for his district,” Dunn said. “He built a great working relationship with the city commission. He was so sincere, genuine and friendly. You liked him once you met him.”

Although Green grew up in Ohio, he loved Nolensville, Giddens said. He fit in and made it his home. He was always trying to help people in the community and serve them. He was a member of the Nolensville Lions Club, the Nolensville First United Methodist Church and the Nolensville Historic Society. He was a Boy Scout leader, a Little League coach and a commissioner.

“Lew was just involved in everything,” said longtime friend Pete Mosley, who knew him for close to 30 years. “Our kids went to school together.”

When Mosley was on the county planning commission he worked with Lew on several projects.

“I don’t know of anytime he didn’t do a good job. He looked out for almost everybody,” he said. “He was a good example to everybody.”

Judy Hayes, a long-time dedicated retired commissioner said she always considered Green a friend and respected him as a commissioner.

“He loved his family; he loved the county and he loved Nolensville,” Hayes said. “He was a good all-around person. I have great admiration for Lew and Sandy. He was more than a friend.”

Visitation will be at the Nolensville First United Methodist Church, 7316 Nolensville Road, Nolensville, on Friday, Oct., 6 from 4-7 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 7, from 10-11 a.m. followed by the funeral service.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Nolensville First United Methodist Church building fund.

Carole Robinson can be reached at

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