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Bill Green Obituary


William Green

Formerly of Palo Alto

Olympian Bill Green, who, at 45.5 seconds, once held the record as the fastest high school quarter miler in the nation, passed away March 4 at his home in Spokane, Wa, embraced by family and loved ones.

Bill, 50, who grew up in Palo Alto and brought enormous recognition to the city's Cubberley High School, learned in August that he had metastatic esophageal cancer. He bravely endured painful illness and paraplegia without anger, self-pity or complaint.

At 18, Bill collected medals throughout Europe and was selected for the Pan American Games in Cuba. Three decades later, some of his U. S. meet records still stand.

In 1980, the agony and ecstasy of his running career were realized when he won the 400 meters in Eugene, Or at the Olympic Trials. It was, however, the year of the U.S. boycott of the Moscow OIympics.

This week, friends and family recalled his love of animals, his "techno-geek" interest in electronics and computers, his collection of vintage radios and his status as a licensed ham operator. Bill spent hours in the library, loved gardening, music, cooking, hiking, camping, metal-detecting and fishing. Friends praised his sense of humor, his kindness and compassion.

William Ernest Green was born in Pittsburgh, Pa, May 1, 1961 - the fifth in a family succession to have the name. In 1979 he graduated in Cubberley's last class. He attended the University of Southern California, exchanging his black and gold Cubberley Cougar jersey for the Trojans' cardinal and gold.

Bill is survived by his parents, Palo Altans Loretta Martin Green, retired Mercury News columnist; and William Ernest Green, attorney. He also leaves his brother, Roderic Green (Tammy) of Commerce, Mi; and his sisters, Lisa Green of San Jose and Nicole Green of Oakland. He also is survived by his grandmother, Elise Martin of Columbia, SC; loving aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins and his devoted girlfriend, Karen Elwell, of Spokane.

A Celebration of An Humble Champion's Life, is 3 p.m. Saturday at the Unity Palo Alto Church, 3391 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent in Bill's memory to the Peninsula Bay Links Scholarship Fund, 1635 Candace Way, Los Altos, CA 94024. The money will fund a Bill Green scholarship for local, college-bound track and field athletes.
Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Mar. 27, 2012
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