Mary Greene

Friends Celebrate the Life and Legacy of Mary Greene

November 12, 2015


Mary Lee Dodd Greene, longtime advocate of early childhood education and board member of First3Years/TAIMH, passed away on October 28, 2015. She was 83.

The world is a better place because of Mary Greene, and her legacy will continue. She touched an immeasurable number through her work in Civil Rights, and as a champion of Early Childhood. Not a day will go by that I won’t think, “What would Mary Greene do in this situation,” and live by her example. It was a privilege to be counted as one of her friends, and I will miss her wisdom, tenacity, and friendship greatly.

– Lisa Bracken

Lisa and Michael Engagement Party 12-21-02 014

Mary Greene and Lisa Bracken

Mary was a gift to all of us and the community. Her spirit was as big as Texas, as was her impact. Mary fought for justice all of her life and helped bring forward the importance of early childhood. She was a champion for First3Years, challenging us to become a stronger organization, which we did under her guidance. To me, she was a friend, mentor and a constant motivation.

– Sadie Funk

She took time to notice me, to see me for who I am as a person, a woman, a young professional, and cared about my future. She didn’t need to do any of that, but that’s exactly who she was. Mary was someone who took time to notice others and care for them as if they were her own. She found joy in fighting for other’s needs, and lifting spirits of those lost. She gave me a burning flame of her hope and I intend to carry that forward in her honor. Mary Greene, you will be timeless and forever loved.

– Holly Gursslin


I met Mary over 20 years ago when she was leading the new Sesame Street PEP (preschool education program).  My daughter Madeline was in one of the pilot sites and was featured in some of the video productions. One day Madeline told me that “Mrs. Greene brought Mr. Rogers to her child care program today.” This was Mr. Ralph Rogers – who became a major benefactor of KERA and the children’s programming there!

A few years later, I was working in west Dallas and Mary contacted me and asked if KERA could film some of the Ready for Life series, featuring Dr. Bruce Perry, at my community center. Of course I was thrilled to be involved – and also honored to know that Mary remembered me!

Through the years our paths continued to cross through various community efforts and organizations. Mary was the chair of the Texas Association for Infant Mental Health (now First3Years) nominating committee and she invited me to serve as board chair. I had turned down the role before – but I couldn’t say no to Mary!

It is impossible to quantify Mary’s impact on our community, the field of early education, or upon thousands of individuals – including me! She was a mentor, friend, and coach.  She challenged our thinking and pushed us to be better than we ever imagined we could be.  Her sense of humor, joy, and fun were integral parts of her being, yet she was quick to identify injustice and inequality.  She led with her heart and mind in equal measure. The world is a better place better place because of Mary and her light will live on.

– Susan Peek Hoff

Read more about Mary’s life and legacy on KERA’s website, Remembering Mary Greene North Texas Civil Rights and Education Champion.