Margaret Green, 74, Harford community activist

September 06, 1996|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Margaret "Maggie" Green, a Harford County community activist and civic watchdog who worked tirelessly to improve the lives of the mentally disabled, died Monday of stroke complications at her home near Edgewood. She was 74.

A dynamo when it came to getting things done, Mrs. Green had a well-deserved reputation among county and state officials for never taking no for an answer.

Mrs. Green had attended Harford County Council meetings regularly since the birth of charter government in 1972, and when she stopped recently because of illness, she began taping cable telecasts of meetings so she would not miss anything.

With her booming voice and wide smile, Mrs. Green was a formidable presence.

Her interest in politics was aroused in the 1960s and 1970s, out of concern about unmanaged development in Harford and the county's old commissioner system. But she became a critic of the executive-council form of government that replaced it, believing that it centered too much power in the county executive.

"She was strong, stubborn, independent and charged ahead, and when she spoke, you got the message," said former Councilwoman Barbara A. Risacher of Joppatown, a longtime friend.

Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, a friend, said, "She was an enormously strong and wonderful woman who spoke out fearlessly and certainly had generosity of both spirit and heart."

Mrs. Green served on the Harford County Development Advisory Board and the Budget Advisory Board and was president of the First District Democratic Club at her death.

She was equally zealous in her efforts on behalf of the mentally disabled, starting in the 1960s as a volunteer at the Harford Center, then housed in a one-room basement. She led its expansion and move into a renovated church near Havre de Grace.

Mrs. Risacher noted that Mrs. Green used her carpentry and plumbing skills to keep the center in top operating condition, her energy and dedication to motivate and assist the staff, and her political connections to ensure financial support.

She donated money to the cause, and in her home workshop made toys that she sold to support the center. She was chairman of the board of directors at her death.

She was born Margaret Kaufman in Baltimore, one of seven children, and dropped out of school in the fourth grade during the Depression to help support her family by selling newspapers.

During World War II, she moved to Harford to work as a machinist at Aberdeen Proving Ground and at a gas-mask maker.

She built her home -- laying the bricks after working all day at APG. She also built the Village Center, a small shopping center at Route 755 and Route 40, and expanded it as tenants were added.

She operated a bakery and delicatessen where she did the cooking.

Mrs. Green's Edgewood home was known for its symmetrical beds of annuals, which she carefully planted, and for its trees and other flowers, which she started from seedlings or cuttings.

Her marriage to William Green ended in divorce.

She is survived by two brothers, John Kaufman and Joseph Kaufman, both of Baltimore; three sisters, Edna Johnson, Deloris Wynn and Eleanor Chard, all of Baltimore; and several nieces and nephews.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at McComas Funeral Home, 1317 Cokesbury Road, Abingdon.

Memorial donations may be made to the Harford Center, 4 N. Earlton Road, Havre de Grace 21078.

Pub Date: 9/06/96

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