Louis Hayden Green, Sr.
Louis Hayden Green, Sr. was born on April 17, 1934, in Louise, Mississippi to Louis Hobson and Martha (Rogers) Green. Growing up in Mississippi he was known as “Hayden” but to his Alaskan friends and he was affectionately called “Louie.” Louie passed away on March 17, 2023, at Norton Sound Regional Hospital in Nome ,Alaska with his loving family by his side.
How does one write about a life such as Louie’s, a man who could do just about anything and had a long life doing it. He was a plumber by trade; fixing any kind of plumbing freeze up that a Nome winter could throw at him, an electrician, farmer, gardener, musician, mechanic; a jack-of-all-trades. He could rig any kind of motor from tractors and small engines to trucks. If he was stuck on a sand bar in the middle of the river or on the side of the road, he could eventually get that vehicle moving again to reach its destination, though it may take all night, often with family in tow.
In 1953 he joined the Airforce at the age of 19 and completed his GED in the Airforce training program. He was stationed in Nome as a radio operator where he met and married his first wife Annie in 1957.
In the 1950's after his Air Force service, he worked with Lockheed on the Polaris ballistic missile program in California for two years and returned to Nome with his family.
Louie worked at many places around Nome over the years. In 1959 he worked for Chuck Reader at Q Trucking on the Teller Road building project. During the 1960's he worked at the National Guard. In the mid 1960’s Louie and Annie owned and operated the Golden Goose bar on Front Street for eight years, closing in 1973 sometime after the first Iditarod.
During the Iditarod, Louie had the door of the Goose open as a musher was finishing his final leg down front street, the lead dog saw the open door, turned the team and with sled and musher in tow ran straight into the bar looking for a drink to everyone's surprise including the musher.
Other places of work were as follows: mid-1970's the Bering Strait School District, the 1980's Alaska State Housing Authority, and the 1990’s - 2000’s the Bering Strait Regional Housing Authority, retiring at the age of 72.
He was a city council member during the 1960's and 2000's. He played city league basketball and was a member of the Papa Bears team who were the 1986 B league Champions. He went on to play with the Ole Minors beside his son Louie Jr, becoming the first father and son to be Iditarod Champions in 1999 and playing their last championship game together in 2001 at the age of 68, just before his 69th birthday.
He raised his family at Pilgrim Hot Springs from the late 1970’s to the 1990’s, managing a small farm which consisted of pigs, goats, ducks, geese, chickens and vegetable gardens, with the main crop being potatoes. Many a Nome kid spent time at the Springs picking potatoes in the fall and were sent home with a 100-pound bag of potatoes as payment for helping.
Louie was a very social man, his presence was felt throughout the community, whether he was working at someone's house or running daily errands through town. He always had time to visit with people wherever he went.
He was the Pilgrim Springs caretaker for many years. In 1993 he married Nancy, and together they spent many enjoyable summers at their Pilgrim Springs camp. They also enjoyed gardening at Triple Creek in their later years and during the fall harvest would sell their produce locally. On Easter every year he would host a family easter egg hunt at Triple Creek for all his grandchildren and their friends. He was also a staunch Democrat, attending many Democratic party functions with Nancy by his side.
He loved plowing the fields, growing potatoes, and the biggest turnips you ever saw at his Triple Creek Garden. He loved playing the guitar and singing with his bandmates and friends, performing many concerts in and around Nome over the years. He also participated in the Friendship Flight to Russia with his band in the 1980’s. In 2020, Louie was voted Citizen of the Year and was presented the award during the July 4th celebrations on Front Street. In his later years he returned to his Mississippi roots playing with his band during the Green family hoedowns in Stewart, Mississippi near his childhood stomping grounds.
Louie possessed an ingenuity that allowed him to solve many problems in unconventional ways, such as when he came across a car with a blown fuse with no replacement available, placing a handy nail in the slot allowed the car to start so the occupants could go on their merry way. This ability to think creatively when solving mechanical and maintenance problems carried him throughout his entire life allowing him to perform his many jobs and live his life as he wanted.
Louie was preceded in death by parents Louis and Martha (Mattie) Green, brothers Dewey and Bobby James Green, sisters Pauline Setzler, Virginia Wilson, daughter Lucile Ann Jimmie, son Kelley Green, grandsons Lindsey Reader, Logan Green-Reader, and first wife Angeline (Annie) Green.
He is survived by his wife Nancy, children Louis Jr. (Lee Ann), Briday, D.M. Stacey (Mary), Brenda and Kohren Green, stepchildren Ivy, Mercie and Jerry Patton, twenty-one grandchildren and six great grandchildren.