Aurelia Gramie Henry Sobers Greene was born on October 26, 1934 in the Bronx, NY the only child of Sybil Elaine Henry Holly and Edward Henry. On Saturday May 8, 2021, at 9:30 PM in Columbia Presbyterian hospital New York City she transitioned from this life into the presence of her Lord and savior Jesus Christ surrounded by family and loved ones after battling complications from metastatic breast cancer.
Aurelia was born and reared in the Bronx and grew up on 3rd Ave. She was raised by her maternal grandmother Maud Russell (Momma), who she credited as the inspiration for her life of service. She 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, where she majored in community development.
In October 1954, she married James Russell Sobers, Sr. from that union her two children, Rhonda and Russell were born.
Her lifetime of community advocacy started when Aurelia was drafted to serve as president of the parent Association at her daughter's school, when Rhonda was four years old. As an apparent leader, she championed city-wide school initiatives for community control, decentralization, and paraprofessionals (a proposal created by Jerome A. Greene). Through her advocacy, Aurelia helped establish parent-teachers associations, as she sought to unite parents and teachers in the education of children. During the 1968 UFT strike Eventually, their efforts to institutionalized paraprofessionals in the educational system became the national model for the American Federation of teachers in the 1970s.
Through her community involvement, Aurelia was introduced to Jerome A. Greene in 1969. They married on April 18, 1975. The two of them became an indomitable force in the South Bronx for decades. She joined his work with the Morrisania Education Council, which helped scores of community residents get college degrees Ann raised thousands of scholarship dollars for high school students going to college.
Prior to entering politics, Aurelia served as a public agency administrator. She also taught at Antioch College and lectured at numerous universities and colleges in the New York City area. By Jerome's side, she served as secretary on the district # 9 school board for many years in the 70’s and 80’s. Aurelia was first elected to the New York State Assembly in April 1982, after serving several years as the female Democratic district leader for the 76th assembly district. Her district (later changed to the 77th) represented the communities of high bridge, Claremont, East/West Concourse and Morris Heights.
During her 27-year assembly tenure, she used her urban planning skills to negotiate for affordable housing and affective tenant groups, quality education, employment opportunities, affordable health care and housing, senior services, Youth Services, economic development and work diligently for a fortified business community. She regularly sponsored educational and informational seminars to aid her constituents on issues of current concern.
As Assemblywoman, she introduced numerous bills, which later became state law to improve the quality of life for the residents of New York State. In 1994, she was awarded a gold helmet by the New York State Head Injury Association for her Bicycle Helmet Legislation. She also authored the motor vehicle leasing act, which was hailed as a landmark decision (the first of its kind). Aurelia also sponsored the 1996 Interstate Bank Branching an ATM Safety Act. She introduced legislation prohibiting predatory lending practices in relation to high-cost home loans, which became law in October 2002. This law protected consumers against abuses in the sub-prime lending market.
The Honorable Aurelia Greene was a trailblazer while in the legislature. She was the first woman to chair the Banking Committee and the first African American to serve as Speaker Pro Tempore. In the prestigious capacity, she presided over the assembly sessions in the absence of the Speaker. She also chaired the Assembly’s Bronx delegation having become the longest serving member of the body from Bronx County. Upon joining the assembly, Aurelia Greene was a founding member of the New York State Association a black and Puerto Rican legislators, Inc. and The Women’s Caucus. At the close of her tenure in the New York State Assembly, Greene served as a member of the Rules, Ways & Means, Social Services and Cities Committees and was Ranking Member of the Education Committee.
The dynamic woman left the Assembly in May 2009, to join her colleague, Ruben Diaz, Jr. at borough Hall as the Bronx deputy borough president, where she continued to be a stabilizing force in the betterment of the Bronx as a whole. In December 2017, Honorable Greene retired from the Bronx borough Hall, with over 50 years of public service.
While her legislative accomplishments were impressive, she was both a dedicated mother and grandmother, as well as a mighty woman of faith, who touched numerous lives in her church community. Aurelia and her husband, Reverend Jerome Greene founded the Bronx Christian Charismatic Prayer Fellowship in their home in 1983. She served faithfully in ministry, by his side until his passing in August 2004. Aurelia continued to serve in her church as Administrative Pastor, praying with the church intercessors daily, managing the finances, teaching Sunday school, organizing events and ministering at every opportunity. Beloved mother to a multitude, she always had a word of encouragement for everyone she spoke to and an infectious smile that made you know she really cared. She was always available to share the love of God with those she spoke to. No one was too distinguished or too lowly. Aurelia wanted everyone to know how precious they were to her Lord and savior Jesus Christ.
Aurelia's legacy is far reaching. She has personally and professionally touched the lives of thousands. Her fierce determination to help others changed history across the state. The work of her life will continue to impact, and power, and inspire the residents of New York State and the borough of the Bronx for many years to come.
Even though Aurelia lead a very public life, she was most devoted to her family period from large family holiday dinners to celebrating the accomplishments of her children and grandchildren, she was a significant fixture in their lives. She was always supportive and poured into them from her wisdom an experience. Aurelia adored her family and extended family. They were always a priority for her period she also loved to travel, visiting Puerto Rico and much of the Caribbean as well as South America in Central America, Canada, Spain, Thailand, China, Israel, Egypt and across the United States. In her retirement she spent many summer afternoons sharing her porch with neighbors, working on crossword puzzles. Although there were many sacrifices, her children are grateful to have shared Aurelia with those who lives she touched. She relentlessly sought to fulfill all that God had called her to Do and we take comfort in knowing that she heard her Lord say - Well, done my good and faithful servant.
Aurelia Green is preceded in death by her beloved husband, Jerome. She leaves behind to celebrate her life and victory in Jesus Christ, her children Rhonda James (Michael), Russell sobers (Vernell); grandchildren: Stacy Johnson, Carlton Johnson, Iries McCray (deceased), Brandon Martin, Tristian Adams sobers; great-grands: Malakai James Sobers, A’laya Sobers, Zion James Sobers; first cousins: Donna Fields (Tony Moss), Barbara Cato, Cheryl Russell, Darryl Russell and Brent Russell; in-laws: Margaret Sobers, Frances Sobers, Phyllis Martin (Bill), Oneida Davis, Weldon Anderson (Avis), Peter Anderson (Julia), Moses Anderson (Denise), Thomas Anderson (Sue), Marilyn Jackson, Reggie Greene (Josie), Mark Greene, Larry Green (Sherrie), and Richard Greene; as well as a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, adopted children and grandchildren, neighbors, and community members.