Centerville lost a tireless advocate on Friday evening, when Robert “Bob” Greene passed away at the age of 85.
Greene was born in Centerville, on the land where the Golden Age was later built, and graduated from Centerville High School in 1945. He moved away and lived many different places, eventually spending more than 30 years living and working in Sedalia, Mo., but in 1998 he and his wife, Fonda, returned to Centerville.
“There’s something about Centerville that brought them all back,” said Greene’s nephew Glenn Rodgers. “My mother died in the Golden Age facing a tree that was planted when she was a little girl. Bob died there too. They started and ended in exactly the same spot. It’s something about Centerville that the family loved so much.”
Anyone who knew Greene knew how much he cared about Centerville and how many volunteer hours he gave to projects big and small in an effort to improve the area. After his return to Centerville, Greene became involved in the community in a big way. He served for eight years on the Centerville City Council and as recently as 2012 he helped found the BOB group, Betterment or Bust, which seeks to help fundraise and complete community projects around town. Mike Thomas, with the BOB group, said Greene was the person who brought the group together.
“He called some people, me and Nancy Bennett and I think it was George Johnson and Bob we were the first group to meet,” said Thomas. “What can we do to improve Centerville, make it look better he said. He also wanted the people in Centerville to feel better about themselves and Centerville.”
Since that first meeting BOB has worked throughout the city on several projects including working to improve the VFW hall. Improving the hall is one of the group’s ongoing projects.