Chicago political wonks are remembering Paul Green as a man with honesty, intellect, and wit.
Most recently, Green was the director of the Institute of Politics at Roosevelt University, but he worked for decades in public service across the city. He also authored several well-respected books about local politics, and his knowledge of the field is widely-respected.
Green died Saturday. His wife Sharon said it was “very sudden.”
Jay Doherty, President of the City Club of Chicago, said he’s known Green for more than thirty years, first as acquaintances and later as colleagues at the City Club, where Green was chairman. There, Green moderated panels, made presentations, and gave lectures.
“We were all lucky to know Paul,” Doherty said. He called Green loyal, generous, and “impeccably honest.”
“Impeccably honest and brutally frank,” Doherty said. “He just called it like it was. He had a very biting wit. As he said many times, ‘I don’t give a rip. I’m going to tell it how it is.’”
Ed Mazur, who knew Green since they went to college some fifty years ago, seconded the sentiment. “He didn’t care much for what you might call BS,” Mazur said. “He didn’t like to dance around the edges. He liked to get to the heart of the matter.”
But his candor was appreciated even by Dick Simpson, political science professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago, who said that he and Green were frequently sparring partners. “We would show up to media events, and generally, he supported the Democratic machine. And usually I opposed him,” Simpson said.
“We nonetheless were good friends. He was a good colleague, and we collaborated and cooperated on many projects,” Simpson said.
Doherty said Green was a great student of government, and great fun to be with.
“We’re all lucky to know Paul,” he said.
Paul Green was 73. His wife Sharon says a public memorial service will be held at Maggiano’s banquet hall, in the coming weeks, but that it hasn’t yet been scheduled.