Barbara Deanna Greene, born April 2, 1956, went peacefully to the Lord while sleeping in her home Friday, April 24, 2009. Barbara valiantly fought her battle against cancer.
Barbara was born in Spokane and was raised on the Nez Perce Reservation; she was an enrolled member of the tribe. She attended the Lapwai School District from first grade to her senior year. Barbara graduated with honors from Lapwai High School in 1974. Throughout her high school years, Barbara was active in extracurricular activities; she participated in girls’ league, drill team, Indian Club, Student Council, Annual staff, Chorus/Honors Chorus, Girls Athletic Association, Indian Student Conference. She was also Homecoming Royalty and was voted most active. Her junior year, Barbara was a page at the Idaho State Legislature.
Barbara attended Haskell Indian Junior College from 1974 to 1976. She graduated in 1976 with an associate’s degree in applied science in business education.
Barbara then moved to Pocatello to attend Idaho State University from 1980 to 1988. She graduated in 1988 with two degrees, a bachelor’s in business administration in management and organization and a bachelor of science in physical education. She continued her higher education at Eastern Washington University in Cheney. She attended from 1994 to 1996. She graduated in 1996 with a master’s degree in urban and regional planning. For Barbara’s master thesis, she developed a comprehensive plan for the city of Lapwai.
After college, Barbara returned to Lapwai (her home) to work for her tribe. She began her tribal career as the Pi-Nee-Waus Community Center coordinator in January 1995. She worked as the coordinator until 1998, when she transferred to the position of administration manager for the Nez Perce Tribe where she worked until the tribe appointed her to the executive director position in November 2008.
Barbara was elected mayor of the city of Lapwai in 1997. She held this position until 2001, when she decided to end her civic duty.
She received the following awards during her career: Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award (EWU College of Business and Public Administration, 1998), American Hometown Leadership Award (National Center for Small Communities/WalMart, 2000), Certificate of Appreciation (city of Lapwai, 2002), Employee of the Month (November, 2005), Helping Hand Award (Boys and Girls Club), Certificate of Appreciation (Clearwater Economic Development Association).
As her parents had done every spring, Barbara migrated to the Columbia River to fish the Preacher’s Eddy in Zone 6 at Rufus, Ore. She learned her fishing skills from her mother, Loretta Halfmoon, and her father, Ip Sus Nute V. Barbara managed the family enterprise and became “captain” of the Old Gray Ghost. As a family business, many of her cousins, nephews and nieces learned to respect the water, and take care of the fish. She had strong family values, and made sure that each of her nieces, nephews and cousins were loved.
Barbara began to enjoy activities outside of her long hours at work. Her travels started after winning championships at Hoopfest two years in a row. She started by traveling with her sisters, Ethel, Kerma and Scherri. Their annual sister travels included a trip to New York before 9/11, a Mexican Riviera cruise, a trip to see 10 European countries (in 10 days), trips to Hawaii (four times), a trip to National Congress of American Indians in Santa Fe, N.M., American Indian Science and Engineering Society in Houston, the opening ceremonies of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., and travels to all Nez Perce war battlefields in one year. Her annual trips to take part in Chief Joseph Days in Joseph, Ore. were also important, since it would be a big part of family gatherings.
Barbara began her athletic career as a young Nationette, playing basketball and softball for her Uncle “Esky” McCormack. She competed against Indian players from across the Northwest and with other Indian teams during her college life.
She was an avid runner. Her favorite jaunt was up and over Thunder Hill and back. She also loved her time with her dog while running and enjoyed her several cats at home.
Barbara was preceded in death by her father, Ip Sus Nute V (aka Jesse Greene); three brothers, Robert Greene, Marvin Greene, and Michael Dana Greene; one sister, Mary Lee Greene; and niece Joey Lynn Eneas.
Also preceding her in death were uncles, Larry Greene Sr., Mathew Greene and Mickey McCormack; and her aunt, Vera Tuell.
Barbara is survived by her parents, Ronald and Loretta Halfmoon of Lapwai; her brothers, Roderick Greene, Gary Greene, Dan Kane, David Kane, all of Lapwai, and Jeffery Greene, of Oregon; her sisters, Georgeanne Morrison, Ethel Greene, Candace Greene, Scherri Greene, all of Lapwai, and Kerma Greene of Garfield. She is survived by aunts and uncles, Veronica and Charlie Taylor, Esky and Marge McCormack, Shirley McCormack, Robert McCormack, Bessie and Wilfred Scott, Darlene and Alfred Pinkham, and Geneva Towner; and many cousins, nieces and nephews, who she loved dearly.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, a donation be made to the Boys and Girls Club of Lapwai, in her memory.