History Essay – Personalities

Francis and Byrd Greene
Francis and Byrd Greene

Mrs. Byrd Tucker Green  1913-2003
First Woman Vestry Member, Saint James’ Church

Byrd Greene, prominent churchwoman, sportswoman, and horticulturist, was a native of Richmond who came with her husband, Francis T. Greene, in 1949 to reside in Warrenton at the family’s “Hunting Ridge.”  In time, she and her husband became members of Saint James’ Church, and for many years she diligently served on various committees and projects, including the Altar Guild, taking the early service as she lived closest. 

Byrd, the daughter of Judge John Randolph Tucker, Jr., related to the writer, “I grew up surrounded by bishops… the bishops Tucker were very close cousins of my father; they were wonderful people.  St. George (the Rt. Rev. Henry St. George Tucker, Bishop of Virginia 1927-1946) lived down the road from us, and he came up in the afternoons to see my father; he was a rangy tall man – well over 6 feet.  My mother and her sister didn’t think he should walk home by himself, so two little ponies, one on each side – going down the road, took the bishop home.  The bishops were fun and worthy of respect.

Saint James’ rector, the Rev. Paul D. Bowden, “ran the church and told everybody what to do – in a very nice way, and we did it!  You had your job; you did what you were supposed to do.  When (the Rev.) David Greer succeeded Paul…I think David wanted things to be a little more modern and a little more in the present; that is how I came to be the first woman on the Vestry.  Before that, thanks to David, I had already been the second woman on the Diocesan Council and that was considered a feather in the cap for St. James’ at that time. 

“One of the funny things about Paul Bowden was that he asked Francis (Greene) to attend church and Francis would go larking with Viola Windmill (equestrienne and fellow parishioner) on Sundays instead.  So Paul said to him, ‘Francis, I’ll make a bargain with you (as a joke).  If you will come to church on the rainy Sundays when you can’t go larking with Mrs. Winmill, you might be a saved soul.  Sometime later he said to Francis, ‘It rained last Sunday, and you weren’t here.’  He was keeping track!  A really good parson, he was.  Cared about his people, and if you needed him, he was there.”

Byrd Greene is remembered with much affection as a true Virginia gentlewoman, kind and considerate to friends and strangers alike.
The History Committee

Compiled May 2015:R. Gookin