By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Delcena “Betty” Greene
Tri-Cities Funeral Home
Delcena Greene
Delcena Greene

Born Delcena Hermes Gill on Trinidad and Tobago, a tropical archipelagic republic just off the northeastern coast of Venezuela on August 28th, 1936 to Ralph Browne, a professional cricket player, and Gladys Louise Gill, nee Coulthrust, an entrepreneurial baker who was struggling to make ends meet after leaving her husband in Costa Rica and years of missionary service as an officer of The Salvation Army in Central America and the Caribbean. From her earliest beginnings, “Betty”— as she was affectionately called — was in so many ways, just like her mother. She was a strong woman, never afraid to say her piece, and never allowing her desires to be limited by gender, time, or space.

Like many in the Gill clan, Betty had natural athletic ability. She was a competitive netball player in Trinidad up into her late teens; she would also perform with her sister, Merlyn, a renowned Trinidadian Limbo dancer. Growing up in Port of Spain (South), she was immersed in Calypso music and Carnival culture. Her love of the capital city would never cease even after emigrating to the United States in her adulthood.

Betty left her children, Ann, Andy and Arlene in Trinidad to be watched by the elders while she sought out a better life for her family in New York City. While on a tourist visa, she first found a job making wig heads in Manhattan. On her first trip on the subway, she missed her stop. Afraid to get lost, she rode the train all the way around the city until it returned to her intended destination. Years later, upon seeing a newspaper advertisement for a special visa program for tailors, she briefly returned home to Trinidad to perfect the art of tailoring, learning from her older brother, Cecil, a master of the trade. Upon getting permanent residency, she worked tirelessly to bring her children to New York. She would later become an American citizen, an accomplishment she took pride in—even actively engaging in the political campaign of former U.S. Congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney. 

After marrying Mr. Neville Greene in New York City, Betty had two more children, Dilleon and Devern. She started her own transportation business, and many of her children and grandchildren helped her manage her route along Brooklyn’s Flatbush Avenue. Not quite ready to retire in Trinidad, she relocated to Georgia in the late 1990s after visiting Decatur, GA to help her friend, Esther.

While in Georgia, she studied under the Christian teachings of Creflo Dollar and later, Dr. Charles Stanley, attending church services and tithing regularly. As a grandmother, she instilled in all her progeny a love of God, the importance of Biblical scripture, and the imperative of service. Betty was always giving something away, feeding the needy, and sending things back home to Trinidad. Betty spent most of her final decade of life in Trinidad and Tobago, and despite her age, she continued to help others in need and fought for the improvement of her community. During the pandemic, she spent two years quarantined in Tobago with her sister, Merlyn and great-nephew, Dr. Lyndon K. Gill (Teba) enjoying mangoes, ocean breezes, and the beach.

After celebrating 86 years of life surrounded by her family, Betty took her last breath on September 9, 2022 and joined her son Dilleon, granddaughter, Zybeide, sister, Ivy, and brothers, Horace, Joseph, and George.

She is survived by her son, Anderson Gill (Andy), her daughters, Annmarie Greene (Annie), Arlene Gill (Ginger), and Devern Greene, her siblings Cecil and Merlyn Gill, grandchildren, Tandy, Keith, Trevor, Alexander (Hajj), Joel, Daequan, Zoey, Destiny, Patrice, Michael, Camryn, a host of great-grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, and all of the honorary and adopted children, grandchildren who she has taken in, loved on, and prayed for over her lifetime.