Aurelia Greene was a public servant to the Bronx for 50 years serving as a district leader, assemblywoman and as deputy Bronx borough president. She made history as the first African American appointed as speaker pro tempore. Greene died last Saturday at age 86.
The Bronx was her home and her heart. Our mom/grandma taught us the value of family, the strength of community and the power of trusting God, said Daughter Rhonda James on behalf of the Greene family. “We are so very proud of the legacy she left and are comforted by the outpouring of love and condolences from the many whose lives she touched.”
Statements of condolence have been pouring in for Greene who was a beloved leader in the Bronx. Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. called her a “trailblazer” and said that he looked up to her for guidance. He ordered flags to fly at half-staff at Bronx Borough Hall in her honor.
“When the people of The Bronx gave me the opportunity to serve as borough president, I knew I needed her by my side,” Diaz said. “Aurelia Greene embodied what it means to be both a public servant and profound human being. She had her own life and family, but she dedicated herself to the borough for more than five decades, and never stopped serving us.”
Born in the Bronx, Greene graduated from the former Central Commercial High School (Norman Thomas High School for Business and Commercial Education) in Manhattan. She later graduated from Livingston College at Rutgers University and entered politics when she served as the female Democratic district leader for the 76th Assembly District.
Greene was first elected to office in 1982 as a New York State Assembly Member representing the Bronx’s 77th District, which includes the communities of Highbridge, Claremont, East/West Concourse and Morris Heights. She resigned from her Assembly seat in 2009 to become deputy Bronx borough president before retiring in 2017.
During her legislative career, Greene introduced a number of bills which later became state law. After many years of rising through the ranks of the New York State Assembly, in January 2006, Greene was elevated to the position of speaker pro tempore, making her the first African American to hold the position.
At the end of her tenure in the State Assembly, Greene served as a member of the Rules, Ways & Means, Social Services and Cities Committees and was a ranking member of the education committee. Greene also served as the chair of the State Assembly’s Bronx Delegation and, prior to becoming deputy Bronx borough president, was the longest-serving member of the assembly in Bronx county.
A woman of faith, Greene was a leader at Bronx Christian Charismatic Prayer Fellowship where she handled church finances, taught Sunday school, organized events and ministered to parishioners.
Greene’s body will lie in-state in the rotunda of the Bronx County Courthouse on May 17 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for public viewing.
A viewing and wake and wake for Greene is being held May 18, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and on May 19 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Bronx Christian Charismatic Prayer Fellowship (1069 Morris Avenue). Her funeral will be held on May 20 at 9 a.m. at the Thessalonia Worship Center (941 Rev. James A. Polite Ave., Bronx, NY 10459) followed by her interment at Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, NY.
Services will be live-streamed on the Bronx Christian Charismatic Prayer Fellowship’s Facebook page.
Greene was married to the late Rev. Jerome Greene. She is survived by the couple’s two children and seven grandchildren.