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March 28, 2013

Local Couple Leaves More Than $2 Million to Support Community Causes



The late Venita and Charles Green left more than $2.1 million in gifts to community charities through their estate.

A childless couple who called Scotland County home for the majority of their lives made heirs of a beloved community and a lengthy list of institutions that touched their lives or were dear to their hearts.

The list of partial disbursements from the last will and testament of Charles B. Green reads like a list of who's who for Scotland County charities.

Charles and his wife Venita had no children. They left a portion of their estate, approximately $500,000 to their three nieces and a nephew as well as other family friends.

But when it is all said and done, the estate of former Memphis residents Charles and Venita Green, will have bestowed more than $2.1 million to their former community.

Venita Jean Green passed away August 21, 2004, at the Scotland County Care Center in Memphis. Five years later, her husband, Charles Barb Green passed away on September 7, 2009, at SCCC, at the age of 92.

By most accounts, the couple lived a simple life, only interrupted by the unrest of World War II. Charles was a farmer and Venita a widowed school teacher. They married late in life but still were blessed with more than 30 years together.

Charles attended Walnut Grove Rural School and graduated from Downing High School in 1934. He attended Northeast Missouri State Teachers College in Kirksville for two years before entering the Army on June 8, 1942.

He served in active combat as a member of the 79th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop "Mechanized" which landed on Utah Beach, France, immediately after D-Day.

After the war, Charles returned to Scotland County and the farm where he was born to pursue his true love, the stewardship of the land.

On June 14, 1970 he married Venita Jean (Lancaster) Childress.

She was born January 2, 1930 in Granger. When very young, her parents moved to a farm northwest of Memphis, where she grew up and attended Friendship School. After graduating from Memphis High School, Jean returned to teach at Friendship School.

She was married to Wilford L. Childress on June 1, 1948. After Wilford's death on March 25, 1960, Jean attended and graduated with a Masters Degree from Northeast Missouri State University. She taught several years in Keokuk, IA before her marriage to Charles.

They lived on a farm southeast of Downing before moving to the Memphis area.

A common bond for both Charles and Venita was their time at Northeast Missouri State University, now Truman State University. Combined with Venita's teaching, it is only fitting that largest beneficiary is and will continue to be, the youth from the couple's home areas of Memphis and Downing.

The Greens established a pair of gifts of $525,000 each to Truman State University and to Northwest Missouri State University to establish college scholarships for high school graduates from Scotland or Schuyler counties. The donations to each school's endowment campaigns will ensure funding for future students through each school's scholarship foundation.

But the couple's generosity did not stop there.

Both Green's were residents at Scotland County Care Center late in their lives. So the couple's will left three percent of their final estate to the nursing home, a gift that has amounted to more than $45,000.

"This is by far the largest donation this Center has ever had," said SCCC administrator Daisy Murphy. "I have been taking ideas from residents, staff, and board members as to where it could best be spent."

Murphy said the board will be meeting this week to discuss finalizing plans for the donation.

A similar gift was bestowed upon Scotland County Hospital and Davis County Hospital in Bloomfield, IA, with both medical establishments receiving gifts of more than $45,000.

"Mr. Green's estate gift is quite meaningful to us and we are so grateful for his fortitude to plan for his estate," says Marcia Dial, SCH CEO. "His generosity will impact the lives of hundreds of patients in the future. This gift shows a deep commitment to improving health care in our communities. An estate gift of this nature makes an impact now and for generations to come."

A gift of more than $75,000 was bestowed upon the Salvation Army of Kirksville to establish food and utility assistance ministries for needy persons of Scotland and Schuyler counties.

During Charles service time, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and four Bronze Stars for campaigns in Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, and Central Europe. His troop was awarded the French Croix De Guerre Medal. He was also offered a battlefield commission which he refused preferring to remain an enlisted member of the troop.

As a member of the VFW and the American Legion, Charles remembered his service time with endowments to the Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust, combined totally more than $75,000.

The couple left gifts of more than $30,000 each for the regional chapters of the American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association research Foundation and American Heart Association as well as the Mid-Missouri Alzheimer's Association and approximately $15,000 given to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation of New York and the American Red Cross of Kirksville.

Area cemeteries were another huge beneficiary of the Green's giving. The Memphis City Cemetery and the Downing City Cemetery each received more than $75,0000 for their perpetual care funds.

The McGrady Cemetery Association of Scotland County was given a gift of more than $60,000 with the Dover, Friendship, Hickory Grove, Campground, Wyaconda, Wilmathsville, and Edinburg cemetery associations all receiving gifts of more than $30,000 each. A gift of $10,000 was given to the Lancaster Family Cemetery, which is administered by Scotland County.

The Greens also remembered the rural fire associations of Scotland County and Downing, with donations of more than $15,000. Similar gifts went to the Memphis Depot Museum, Downing Depot Museum, the Downing House Museum and to the Downing Baptist Church, the Downing Christian Church and the Arbela Methodist Church.


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Memphis Democrat
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