Highly respected businessman Jim Greene was a devoted family man
A highly respected business man, James (Jim) Greene was first and foremost a family man, devoted to his wife and children.
Mr Greene died peacefully in Craigavon Area Hospital last Tuesday (August 31, 2021) aged 86.
Jim started in business at his home parish in Bleary more than 60 years ago and his natural talent for sales and his people skills saw it flourish.
He later opened a furniture store in Lurgan which is still thriving to this day under the name of Greene’s Furnishings, with his son Fergal now running the business.
The son of James and Lucy Greene, Jim was born on August 14, 1935 and was the eldest of eight children, six brothers, Brian, Willie, Dermot, Vincent, Eugene and Emmanuel and one sister Eileen.
He was born, raised and went to school in the parish of Tullylish and Gilford, Co Down. He grew up on the family farm on the Clare Moss Road and helped his father on that.
But he had a natural drawing to business and started out on that road when he went out to work in his Uncle Joe’s grocery shop on the Plantation Road in his teens, followed by the home grocery runs he helped set up before settling into business life in Edward Street in Lurgan in 1972.
Along the way he met a nurse called Mary McCauley after she moved to Lurgan to work in Lurgan Hospital in the early 60’s and they married in Mary’s home parish of Kill, Co Cavan a couple of years later on 8th September 1964.
He quickly moved into a relatively new concept at that time of doing door-to-door deliveries and sales of groceries to many homes in the greater Plantation Road/Bleary area with his own ‘mobile shop’ selling groceries given that getting into the town for many wasn’t as straight forward as it is today. He often spoke of how good his customers were in supporting him and their loyalty to him.
Ultimately, with the advent of supermarkets, his father James encouraged him to consider a ‘bricks and mortar’ type of business and when the opportunity presented he and his wife Mary acquired his premises at Edward Street in Lurgan in 1972 and switched to the household goods and the home furnishings business.
Along with his brother Dermot and the immensely loyal staff he had over the subsequent years he grew the business having, on a couple of occasions, to buy the house next door and renovate the premises to make the shop bigger for the expanding range of goods sold.
Jim Greene was first and foremost a people person, always interested in talking to people and engaging with them. His people skills came naturally to him after years of building relationships from his time in his Uncle Joe’s shop and the grocery van. He had great respect for those people that gave him their custom and, in turn, was fiercely loyal to his customers. He was an honest, unassuming and down-to-earth man and he never forgot a face.
Primarily Jim was a family man, devoted to his wife Mary and five boys Gerard, Gabriel, Joseph, Fergal and Michael. Nothing gave him greater satisfaction than time with the family.
Outside of family he was involved in Lurgan Scouts, being a leader for several years and he was also involved in the local Lourdes Committee, both of which typified his selfless personality and willingness to help others. He was also a keen gardener growing a wide range of flowers and vegetables at his home.
As a proud Down man he supported the Down Gaelic team and was immensely proud of Down’s All-Ireland successes in the 60’s and 90’s.
When he moved out to Craigavon to live he became integrally involved in Eire Og GFC and, along with other stalwarts of the club, took great pride in providing a sporting outlet for the young in Craigavon and in the development of the Club facilities at the Pinebank complex.
Jim enjoyed holidaying in Ireland with the family when they were growing up and, once the boys became independent, Jim and Mary enjoyed a bit of foreign travel.
Through the business he often supported local sports and sports people by sponsoring a range of activities including snooker, quoits, darts and football competitions.
Jim was a selfless man. His priority was to provide for the family, both in terms of a loving home and in giving every opportunity to his children.
He believed in education and made sure the boys had the opportunity to find their own way in life. He was a generous, caring, unassuming and devoted family man.
Jim and Mary had 12 grandchildren and they provided both Jim and Mary with so much joy and pride. He always had a beaming smile when they were with him.
As the eldest of his own siblings he broke the ground for them and the respect within the family is two-way and immense. They were a close family and for many years the Greene Brothers Ceilidh band was a feature of halls and clubs across the county in the 60’s, with Jim playing the accordion.
Despite failing health in recent weeks he was so proud to be at a family celebration to mark his sister Eileen’s 80th birthday, the last time he was able to be with his remaining siblings as a group.
Jim was an honest, loyal, unassuming man, fiercely protective of those close to him or those that had either helped or needed him.
He was generous with time, advice and would have no hesitation in helping those in need.
He was a man of strong faith and ensured that the values and principles he held high were handed on to his children and grandchildren.
He enjoyed nothing more than the simple things in life and was lucky to have good health most of his life to make the mark he has.
Requiem Mass for Jim Greene, of Carrigart, Craigavon, was held in St Anthony’s Church, Craigavon on Friday September 3 with burial afterwards in St Colman’s Cemetery, Clare.
He was the loving husband of the late Mary Greene and loving father of Gerard, Gabriel, Joseph, Fergal and Michael, a dear father-in-law and much loved grandad, and brother of Eileen, Vincent, Eugene, Emmanuel and the late Brian, William and Dermot.
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