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News & Event

Getting their Second Wind

A conversation about sports led to new careers for Gerry and Kate Greene.

Gerry and Kate GreeneA conversation about sports led to new careers for Gerry and Kate Greene.

“I was about to retire from my global job at Procter & Gamble,” Gerry recalled. “Kate asked a really insightful question: ‘What are you going to do when you retire? You just can’t play softball and golf all the time.’ I thought, ‘you know, why don’t I try law school?’ The first week of classes, I knew this was it. I loved it.”

As Gerry began classes at the University of Dayton School of Law at the age of 59, Kate accepted a position as an administrative assistant at the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati. The couple embarked on their new roles with great enthusiasm. Gerry helped Kate with the YWCA’s art openings by serving as bartender; she attended law school parties with his younger contemporaries. (His fellow students named their softball team Gerry’s Kids.)

“We joke that we both flunked retirement,” Gerry said.

Once he passed the bar, a neighbor suggested Gerry visit Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati, which provides free legal service to economically challenged people. He told the organization he wanted to work part-time for free and there was only one caveat. He wanted to work with family law.

“I think it’s because of Kate’s job and what I’ve learned that I wanted to do family law,” he reflected. “In family law, a lot of our clients are victims of domestic violence.”

He recalls being moved by an exhibit Kate helped organize, “Empty Chairs, Painful Windows,” remembering 165 women killed in a ten-year-period due to domestic violence. “The entire exhibit got to me.”

The Greene’s new lives make for interesting dinner conversations. They share their day-to-day experiences and their computer technology learning curve with enthusiasm.

“The best part is Gerry and I have learned so much about the needs of the people of Cincinnati, especially women,” Kate said. “We understand what the other is doing.”

“Poverty, particularly with domestic violence, is a huge barrier,” Gerry said. “I always thought if your partner hits you, leave, but then you learn that economically, maybe they can’t. The batterer may bring in the only money in the family and insist that the other partner not work as a means of control. Well, if you are a victim of domestic violence and you have children and haven’t been working, the idea of leaving and going out on your own is intimidating.”

After 47 years of marriage, Gerry and Kate usually arrive at the same conclusion but take a different path.

“I describe it as, I get to ten by counting, one, two, three, four, five…Kate goes, one, eight, six, two, nine and ends up at ten,” Gerry laughed. “She’s the creative half and I’m the ‘to do’ half. She comes up with the idea and I implement it.”

Whether working for free, opening a donor advised fund at GCF, or supporting the people of the community they love, they make a united team.

“It’s a good thing to give back and we want to share that. It’s why we agreed to do this article,” Kate said. “When you really get into the community of Cincinnati and its challenges, you realize that there are opportunities there and you have to step up and help.”

Additional Information

Printed in the 2011 Annual Report