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Greens Grocery founder dies at 90
Family gave $4 million from sons estate to establish heart center
Lillie Mae and Frank Green receive an artist’s rendering of their son Ronnie Green from the Northeast Georgia Medical Center in 2002. - photo by File photo
Frank Green, a neighborhood grocer in Gainesville for nearly a half century, has died after a period of declining health. He was 90 years old.

Green and his wife, Lillie Mae, gave a $4 million gift from the estate of their son, Ronnie, for what became the Ronnie Green Heart Center at Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

The donation, which was given to the Medical Center Foundation in December 2001, is the organization’s largest single gift to date.

Green’s Grocery, the family business, was opened in 1950. The store became well known for fresh meats and a selection of homemade cakes and pies. It was one of the few stores that continued to offer home delivery and provided customers with credit accounts.

The Greens and their son owned and operated the store until 1995 when it was sold to current owner Ed Waller. Ronnie Green continued to work at the store until his death.

Away from his life at the store, Ronnie Green had success with investments on Wall Street. He accumulated considerable wealth which generated the funds that his parents eventually used to honor his memory.

Nancy Colston, executive director of the Medical Center Foundation, said the value of the Green’s philanthropy is immeasurable.

"Their gift has moved health care at Northeast Georgia Medical Center to a whole different level," Colston said. She said the Greens have received numerous letters of thanks from persons who have had lifesaving treatment at the Ronnie Green Heart Center.

She fondly recalled Frank Green’s good natured manner. "He always had a twinkle in his eye," Colston said. "He was a man who enjoyed kidding and laughing. He was such an optimist."

Walter Franklin Green was born in Flowery Branch on May 30, 1917. During World War II he worked at the Alabama Dry Dock in Mobile. He returned to Gainesville where he opened his store on Riverside Drive in 1950. The stretch of roadway where the store is located has since been renamed Ronnie Green Parkway.

Green is survived by his wife. Ronnie Green, their only son, died in March 2001 at the age of 55.

A memorial service will be held Friday at 11 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church The family will receive friends immediately after the service at the church and a light lunch will be served.

Memorial donations can be made to The Ronnie Green Heart Center, in care of The Medical Center Foundation, 2150 Limestone Parkway, Suite 115, Gainesville, Ga. 30501 or The Ronnie Green Scholarship Fund, Young Harris College, P.O. Box 275, Young Harris, Ga. 30582

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