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Bill Greene

March 7, 1944 January 21, 2023
Bill Greene
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Obituary for Bill Greene

William "Bill" Greene


Bill Greene was one of the sweetest people you could ever meet. He cooed at strangers' babies, danced with the free-spiritedness of a 5-year old, and gave hugs like there might not be a tomorrow. He will be remembered most for the way that he loved those around him with his whole heart, for his persistence and love of a challenge, and for his flamboyant nature.


He was born in Springfield, IL to William H. Greene and Kathryn Brous. Attending Waukegan Township High School, he showed off his dramatic spirit as Will in Oklahoma ("Everything's Up to Date in Kansas City"). In 1962 he entered Stanford University where he met Linda Zeigler in the spring of 1964 dancing to "I Saw her Standing There." At Stanford his eclectic interests caused him to change majors from physics to creative writing and then finally to biology, when he decided that he wanted to be a doctor. He and Linda were married on September 17, 1966. After a two day honeymoon, Bill started medical school at UCLA. While there, the Vietnam War draft began and Bill voiced his opposition to violence as a conscientious objector.


After medical rotations, Bill recognized his passion for working with children. Linda and Bill moved to the Twin Cities where Bill completed his internship and residency in pediatrics and fellowship for certification in pediatric infectious disease at the University of Minnesota.


After discussion with their wives, Bill and new friend Tim Seppa moved west to start a pediatric practice together. The Valley Young People's Clinic was born in 1976 in the Spokane valley. Besides working closely together to create the best medical care for their patients, Tim and Bill solidified a lifelong friendship sharing many miles of hiking and other outdoor adventures. The two cared for children at three hospitals in the Spokane area. Sharing after-hours call, they soon realized their schedules were not sustainable. They recruited two more caring pediatricians, David Moershal and Deb Harper and later Rob Piston. After a number of years consulting for Group Health (which later became Kaiser Permanente), they joined that organization in 1997, where Bill worked until his retirement in 2010.


Bill's intellect, combined with his kind and gentle soul, made him an excellent physician. As the only pediatrician with a specialty in infectious disease in the region in the late 1980's, he became the provider for children with HIV in Spokane. At times, it was heart-breaking work. Some doctors might have tried to remain stoic under such circumstances. Bill Greene couldn't. When one of his patients was dying, the tears flowed unapologetically.


Ever the Renaissance man, Bill immersed himself in many pursuits. From sight-reading Bach on the piano to attempting to fix his tractor, from summiting Mt Rainier to writing beautiful poetry at his old wooden roll-top desk, from traveling the world to singing in the choir, from dancing the night away with Linda to reading the latest medical literature, Bill embraced the beauty of the world by making sure that he experienced as much of it as he could. He also worked for social justice serving as the President of the Spokane AIDS network. His activism with Physicians for Social Responsibility included visiting the USSR to build relationships in the name of global peace.


A morning spent in the woods with friends - whether plodding along on foot or skis - was his idea of a good time. He loved being outside and was in constant awe of the natural beauty around him, always willing to stop for a beautiful sunset or listen to a bird sing. With his best running buddy Steve Heaps he logged 17,000 miles, finishing many ultra marathons such as the Western States 100 and LeGrizz 50. Conversations while running flowed easily from good-natured banter to politics, from racing plans to the stresses of life. On a 3-hour training run, you can cover a lot of topics.


Even with all of these passions, Bill was a doting father who always found the time to listen to his own kids' stories, explain a tough math concept, or make a well-timed but still eye-rolling pun. He was the greatest dad and took immense pride in his children. Marshall (born 1981) and Kaylin (1984) inherited his academic intellect and enthusiasm for a challenge. After trying to reach the Olympics in cross-country skiing, Marshall now does data analysis for a community health center in Bend, OR. Kaylin completed her PhD. at Penn State before becoming a professor of sociology at Montana State University where she researches the social factors associated with health and well-being.


In the last 12 years of his life, aphasia and then dementia took over his ability to communicate and complete tasks. As memories and words failed him, the love of family and friends remained. With the support of a huge community, Linda devoted herself to Bill's quality of life. When it was clear that he needed to move into memory care, she visited him daily - taking him for walks, singing him Beatles songs, and embracing him deeply. He died on January 21, 2023.


He will be missed dearly by his loving wife of 55 years (Linda), his sisters Sue and Priscilla (Dennis Sienko), his son Marshall (Marieka), his daughter Kaylin (Cody Warner) and his grandchildren Nora, Zeke, Graham, and Silas.


Online condolences can be expressed at PNW Cremation & Funeral. A celebration of life is planned for May 27th at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane.


If you would like to make a donation, please give to Physicians for Social Responsibility. You can visit their website at https://psr.org/

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