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Philip Gordon “Phil” Green, 89, died June 1, 2005, in Baker City at the home of his daughter, Aletha Green Bonebrake.
A celebration of life will be held at the Island Funeral Home in Vashon, Wash., on Saturday, June 11, at 11:30 a.m., followed immediately by the committal in the family plot at the Vashon Cemetery.
Phil was born in Olalla, Wash., on Jan. 8, 1916, but spent most of his childhood on Vashon Island with his parents, Philip and Kate Sandwith Green and his beloved brother and sister, Joseph Sandwith Green and Janet Isabella Green Okeson, all of whom preceded him in death.
He attended Burton Elementary School and Vashon High School, and then attended the Lakeside School in Seattle for his senior year when he was recruited to play football for them.
The following two years Phil played football at Whitman College where, as the varsity quarterback, he earned the name of “Rabbit Tracks.”
While at Whitman, he supported himself by baby-sitting for the young Adam West, who later became famous for playing the role of Batman. Phil initially raised eyebrows by being the first young male in Walla Walla to be employed as a nursemaid and baby-sitter, an experience that subsequently served him well when he produced his own considerable family.
Attracted by the graduate training available at the University of Washington, Phil transferred to the university for the last three years of his college training, culminating in a bachelor’s degree and a graduate certificate in social work.
As the son of a successful commercial salmon fisherman, Phil spent all of the summers from his late childhood until he graduated from college going to Alaska with his father, brother and the rest of the crew on the family boat, the “Janet G.” While in Alaska, Phil became very interested in the lives of the northern native people of Canada and Alaska. He has always insisted that this interest, and concern for their well-being, led him into the field of social work.
From his writing “The Past Remembered II, Vashon-Maury Island Memories”: “When I was nine, ten and eleven I worked in a cannery in the Queen Charlotte Islands, where I got to know Haida Indians, famous for their carvings. But I was shocked at their poverty. I wanted them to have a little fun, so I showed them how to play baseball. I have often though that this experience planted a little seed which later led me into social work.”
Phil’s professional life focused primarily on troubled youth, and eventually he became internationally known as an expert in juvenile delinquency. In 1944, Phil was invited by Seattle’s then juvenile judge, William Long, to become director of their Youth Guidance Center. Three years later, in 1955, Phil responded to an invitation to go to Washington, D.C. under the Eisenhower administration to establish and direct a new Division of Juvenile Delinquency within the Department of Health Education and Welfare (now the Department of Health and Human Services). He held this position with distinction for the next 15 years.
He traveled widely with his staff throughout the United States, Europe and the Middle East, sharing, upon request, the developing enlightened approach to the treatment of youthful offenders.
During those years, Phil served as U.S. representative to the U.N. on youth rehabilitation issues. He was also active in the classroom, teaching college classes in criminology for more than 20 years at both the University of San Francisco and the University of Maryland. After a highly satisfying and rewarding career, Phil enthusiastically retired at the age of 60 and moved to Lake Havasu City, Ariz., where he and his wife shared many wonderful years together, golfing, fishing, boating and exploring the Southwest.
Phil leaves a large family who loved him dearly and is very proud of him. His childhood sweetheart, Charlotte Canfield, and he were married on June 19, 1936. This union lasted just two weeks short of 69 years. The young couple celebrated their honeymoon by rowboating around Puget Sound for two weeks. Five children were born to this marriage: Cheryl Friedman (wife of Bill) of Seattle; Aletha Bonebrake (widow of Marv Julian), of Baker City; David Green (husband of Debby) of New Bern, N.C.; Heather Bell (wife of Calvin) of Satsuma, Fla. and Holly Green (wife of Mainus Sultan) of Amherst, Mass.
Survivors also include grandchildren Jennifer Higgins of Santa Barbara, Calif., Sylvia Bowers and Gordon Bonebrake of Baker City, Warren Green of Norfolk, Va., Brendan Flowe of Jacksonville, Fla., and Kajori Sultan of Amherst, Mass. and great-grandchildren, Charlotte, Franklin, Lena and Stella Bowers of Baker City and Frank and Emma Harting of Santa Barbara, Calif.
Memorial contributions may be made to the 4 C Coalition, a social service program for troubled youth in Seattle, in care of Hazel Cameron, program coordinator, 11800 Renton Ave., South Seattle, WA 98178.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, June 10, 2005
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor