Thursday, July 1, 2021

Don Green, RIP

 6/30/21 Press-Democrat:

Philanthropist Don Green, one of two music lovers whose names are emblazoned on Sonoma State University’s Donald & Maureen Green Music Center and who made his fortune as the father of Petaluma’s Telecom Valley, died Monday in Mexico.

Green, who turned 90 on May 12, had suffered from Parkinson’s disease for 17 years but continued to live an active life. With his wife, Maureen, Green led the way to finance building of the Green Music Center with an initial donation of $10 million in 1997. Maureen Green died Nov. 6, 2020.

I agree with the many positive observations about Don.  I worked for him at Harris Digital Telecom Systems, although way down the hierarchy from him.  I doubt that he recognized me.  When he started Optilink, I knew of it from some friends that I met on a street in San Francisco outside a trade show.  So I called up a supervisor from Harris and bullied my way in as employee 22.  Like a lot of other people, Optilink's acquisition by  DSC made a lot of us pretty darn rich.  Startups that spun off Optilink did so again.

Don had a pretty lower class (in the British sense) upbringing and his politics were influenced by this or at least his perception of Democratic Party goals.  He was a funder of Democratic causes and did a lot of charitable giving.  (A wealthy friend received a invitation to a Democratic fundraiser at Don's house.  "When you reach the gated driveway on your right, follow it 1.3 miles to the house."  This was Sonoma County, so not cheap.

Like most wealthy men he knew lots of what the left wanted him to know.  He was a big fan of gun banning, and complained in one of our conversations on the subject that there was almost no regulation of guns in America, so I brought him the BATF Green Book of state and local regulations.  He was surprised and recognized that he was mistaken.  He was a good person and capable of learning from his mistakes.  We should all have others be able to say that of us.

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