Mary Frances Yates Green, a resident of St. Simons Island, died on Thursday, April 3 after a long and happy life. In the years before she died she wrote her autobiography to share with family and friends entitled “My Happy Life” in which she reflected on her experiences and philosophy of living- “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all” and “Do in the day in the things of the day.”
Born on May 2, 1916, Fran was the daughter of Presley Daniel Yates and Julia Richardson Yates, and was a native of Atlanta. She was the only girl in a family of boys. Fran grew up across the street from the East Lake Club where she enjoyed swimming, tennis and golf. She competed in swimming while her brothers competed in golf. Fran was a natural athlete and retained her competitive nature all her life, as her bridge partners will attest. She attended Washington Seminary (The Westminster Schools) and loved to tell about her interview with Amelia Earhart for the school paper. She graduated from the University of Georgia where she was a member of Chi Omega Sorority and shared many happy times with friends. In 1939, Fran married Henry Derriel Green, and they had 64 “good years and true” together until his death in 2003. In 1957, the Greens moved to Madison, Georgia where they had restored an 1815 plantation house, which they named Greenoaks. These were happy years and the city girl loved life in the country. She fished in the lake, looked for wild strawberries and walked the fields with Henry while admiring the herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle.
In 1971, they moved to St. Simons, a place they had been bringing their family for many years. They were members of Christ Church Frederica and the Sea Island Golf Club. Mother now had time to play golf, a game she had enjoyed all of her life. She was thrilled to have the opportunity to play golf with Barbara Bush on two occasions when Pres. and Mrs. Bush visited Sea Island.
Fran was a member of the Cherokee Garden Club and with friends formed a study group which they called “The Little Group of Ernest Thinkers.” She loved playing duplicate at the Bridge Center on St. Simons and Rumikube with friends at Marsh’s Edge, where she was also a founding member of the ping pong team. She loved entertaining her friends for lunch and dinner. She was a member of the National Society of the Colonial Dames in the State of Georgia and several times served as Chairman of the Brunswick Town committee. While chairman, the local committee erected a marker designating the site of colonial Fort St. Simons and funded the restoration of the Horton House ruins on Jekyll. On the national level, she served as the Regent of Gunston Hall and was a member of the Roll of Honor.
She was predeceased by her brothers, Charles Richardson Yates and Alan Porter Yates. She is survived by her brother, Presley Daniel Yates, Jr., and her children, Julie Green Jenkins (Mrs. Albert Felton Jenkins, Jr.) Mary Green Burdell (Mrs. William Shweigert Burdell, Jr.), Frances Green Hilsman (Mrs. Joseph Hamilton Hilsman III), Henry Derriel Green, Jr. (Kathryn Eros), 12 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren, all of whom benefited from her wisdom and love. The family would like to thank Dr. Marsha Certain and the staff at Southeast Georgia Health System, as well as her loving caregivers, Irene Holland, Angela Thomas, Gloria Morrison, and Marie Hall for their loving support.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Fran and Henry Green Endowment for the Decorative Arts, Georgia Museum of Art, 90 Carlton St. Athens, GA 30602.
A memorial Service was held on Tuesday, April 8, at 3 p.m. at Christ Church Frederica on St. Simons Island.