Malachi Greene, who served two terms on Charlotte City Council in the 1990s, died Thursday after an extended illness, his friends confirmed to Qcitymetro.com.
A Democrat, Greene served in the administration of N.C. Republican Gov. Jim Martin and was later appointed under Gov. Mike Easley to the state Lottery Commission.
Green was diagnosed with cancer several years ago.
Friends remembered Greene Thursday as a man who enjoyed debating politics and social issues, often holding court at the Bojangles’ restaurant on West Trade Street – a place that Greene and his compatriots jokingly called “The Office.”
Green also had been a fixture at the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Forum.
Charlotte artist Tommie Robinson, who had known Greene for more than 40 years, described him as “a philosopher.”
“It’s hard to say what you like about somebody,” Robinson said. “I liked him because he was Malachi. He was open and willing to discuss anything, any subject – there was nothing off limits to him.”
Ken Koontz, a former Charlotte television reporter, said his association with Greene dates back to the 1960s, when Greene was in junior high school. Koontz described Greene as a practical politician who never let political affiliation stand in the way of what he wanted to accomplish. That sometimes led to spirited discussions between the two men, Koontz said.
“We had our differences from time to time, and battles and cussin’ out each other,” Koontz said. “But at the end of it all, we’d just hug each other and call each other whatever we call each other and move on.”
Koontz said that when he last saw Greene, just over a week ago, his friend was in good spirits and was looking forward to regaining his strength, as he had during previous bouts with cancer. “He was saying, ‘Boys, I’m coming back,’” Koontz recalled.
Koontz added: “I admire his courage in the face of mortality, and I admire his taking the struggle head on and giving it a full fight to the very end — and the depth and sincerity of his friendship.”
Greene was a 1960 graduate of West Charlotte High School and a 1966 graduate of Livingstone College. He served on City Council, representing District 2, from 1995-1999.
He is survived by a wife and two daughters.