Remembering Lois Greene, “woman warrior” who fought racial injustice and raised a multiracial family

Lois Greene. Courtesy of the Greene family

Lois Amy Chase Greene passed away peacefully on November 10, 2021, at the age of 76 at Kaiser Hospital, Antioch, California. His sons, Jordan and Zack, were by his side.

Lois and Ron wedding invitation. Courtesy of the Greene family

Lois was born on August 14, 1945 in Alexandria, Louisiana to Bernice and Jules Chase. She grew up in Whitefish Bay, a village in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She met Ron Greene, her husband and soul mate while they were students at Northwestern University. She graduated from the School of Journalism and turned down a prestigious political internship in Washington DC to marry Ron. Lois and Ron were married for 45 years until his death in 2012. After medical school at Northwestern, Ron was drafted into the Air Force. Lois and Ron offered to serve an additional year if they could be stationed in the location of their choice, Japan.

As a military couple, Lois and Ron have made Japan their home. They immersed themselves in the culture and had many wonderful adventures. They visited shrines, stayed in temples and participated in local festivals. Lois and Ron drove through dense urban areas and back roads in a yellow Dodge pickup truck, named “Mr. Sunshine”, larger than most Japanese trucks at the time. They caused a “major international incident” when they led Mr. Sunshine through the narrow cobblestone streets of traditional Gion, Kyoto’s famous geisha district.The local community, law enforcement, firefighters and business owners joined in to help to step back, carefully avoiding the historic wooden architecture of shops, restaurants and teahouses. Lois studied ikebana, photography, the people, customs and cultural mores of Japan. Deliberate floral arrangements welcomed still visitors to Japan and the United States, photos of his rich personal connection to Japan hung on his walls.Lois and Ron adopted their first child, Jordan, in Tokyo.Soon after , in 1974, they returned to the United States and settled in Berkeley.

Lois Greene in Japan. Credit: The Greene Family

Lois was a voracious reader. Books have opened the world to him; she would often read a novel overnight. Catcher in the ryeauthor crime thrillers, between the world and me, Fear and loathing on the ’72 campaign, The hate you give to name just a few of the thousands of books she has read. She was a keen observer of people. From an early age, she developed an awareness of social and racial injustice and the exceptional qualities of all people. Influenced by the book The family no one wanted by Helen Doss, Lois embraced diversity and began her multiracial family’s roadmap. Lois and Ron adopted four children: Jordan, her son of Japanese ancestry; Sasha, his daughter of bi-racial black and white origin; half-Korean and black son Jesse; Zack, her biological son; and Joseph, his son of Mexican descent. Her children were her life. Critical thinking, she encouraged everyone around her to do the same. With her dry wit and knowledge of the world, she might make you laugh, smile, and reconsider ideology. Lois could often be found on Facebook stalking racists or engaging in cross-cultural discussions with Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z.

Lois had a passion for cooking. She took great pride in researching traditional recipes, experimenting with international flavors, sauces, meats, shellfish, fish, cheeses, spices, cultural cooking utensils and serving utensils. In middle school, she was the first of her friends to use a wok. Self-taught, she became a magnificent cook. Lois entertained guests and regularly hosted dinner parties. His house menu spanned continents and cultures, his dishes included oxtail stew, dumplings, tonkatsu, hot pot, falafel, jambalaya, latkes, smoked meats and salmon, salads , Indian curries, homemade kimchi and a much improved family meatloaf recipe. Dinner was often served with Zinfandel from California or Cabernet Sauvignon from a North Bay winery. Lois had many musical interests including Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Rod Stewart, Axel Rose, Paris and Eminem. She always stood and danced at concerts, ignoring requests to sit down. “We are at a concert; I don’t sit at concerts! she would answer.

Lois Greene with her mother, Bernice Chase. Courtesy of the Greene family

As office manager, Lois led Rainbow Pediatrics with Ron, with locations in Richmond and Pinole. Later, she was a special education teacher at College Park High School in Pleasant Hill. Lois took a personal interest in the lives of her students. She showed empathy and compassion for everyone. Lois was a tireless advocate and advocate, most effectively, for those who faced life’s greatest challenges. She understood that syntax, education, race, and economic background are not a measure of intelligence. Lois made everyone feel warm, welcome and relevant.

See a website celebrating the life of Lois Greene

Loyal to local teams, she was a fan of the Oakland Athletics, San Francisco 49ers and Golden State Warriors. She let people know that the cutest A’s were Eric Chavez and Kurt Suzuki. Lois and Ron were 49-inch season ticket holders and attended games together at Candlestick Park in San Francisco in the 80s, 90s and 2000s. She was in Pasadena to cheer on her alma mater, Northwestern in 1996, their last visit to the Rose Bowl. A longtime husky owner, Lois was an avid follower of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. She enjoyed hosting dinner parties, strolling to Vivoli’s Gelato in Walnut Square, shopping at the Co-op in Shattuck and Cedar, hiking 15 miles a day on the trails of Strawberry Canyon, driving down Arlington Avenue in her silver Volvo 544 and brown, watch Japanese grand sumo. Tournaments and contribution to Facebook ramen groups. Three times in her life, Lois has lost over 100 pounds.

Lois and Ron enjoyed being local tour guides for out of town clients. Destinations included Yosemite to stay at The Ahwahnee Lodge, Poor Red’s for a barbecue and golden Cadillacs on the way back from cross-country skiing in Tahoe, wineries on Highway 29, 101 and the Silverado Trail and long weekends in Mendocino, Monterey and Carmel.

On her 50th birthday, Lois got a shoulder tattoo against her extremely wide elbow in bright colors. Often admired by bikers, her Asian-themed tattoo featured a dragon emerging from a lotus flower. Behind the dragon were threatening and turbulent clouds above unpredictable waves and above, written in Japanese kanji, the characters of “Woman Warrior”.

Lois is survived by her five children, Jordan, Jesse, Sasha, Zachary and Joseph; his grandchildren, Mischa, Darius and Noelani; his brother-in-law and sister-in-law Ted and Frances; aunt Emilyn; six cousins ​​and his dog Reilly. She was predeceased by her husband, Ron, and her parents, Bernice and Jules Chase.

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