Dorothea Green was often referred to as “Mrs. Claus” or “Mrs. Christmas” because of her devotion to serving families in need during the holiday season.
For 12 years, Green achieved this mission as the executive director of United Christmas Service (UCS), a United Way of Central Indiana program that provides food, basic needs items and gifts to families in need. “She did not want any child to go without a gift. She had an unbelievable energy – a small woman with a big heart,” said her 100 Heroes nominator Jan Bates.
Beyond her work for UCS, Green spent a majority of her life serving the United Methodist Church alongside her husband, Rev. Robert E. Green. She served more than 25 years as a delegate to the general and jurisdictional conferences of the United Methodist Church. She also served on numerous councils and commissions, including the World Methodist Council and General Commission on Ecumenical Affairs and Interreligious Concerns.
Many groups benefited from Green’s strong leadership skills; she served as president of the Women’s Society of Christian Service, Wesleyan Service Guild and United Methodist Women. She also acted as interim executive director and a consultant for the Indiana Interreligious Commission on Human Equality.
Green was known for her energy and ability to get people involved. This, along with her contributions to the community, landed her the honor of being named the 1993 Woman of the Year by readers of The Indianapolis Star. She was also named an Unsung Hero in 1999 by the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy, now the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, and awarded the Service to Mankind Award from the Tri-County Sertoma Club.
Green passed away shortly after retiring from UCS in 2000. “She was one of a kind,’’ Ted Daniels, then-associate editor of The Indianapolis Star, said in her obituary. “A very gracious and caring woman. There are only a few people in the world that you think are truly saints, and Dorothea was one of them.”