Rosa Polhill Green
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Rosa Brown Polhill Green departed this life at her home in her beloved Jefferson County on February 5, 2021. Born in Louisville on July 29, 1924, she was the second child and first daughter of James Brown Polhill, Jr. and Rosa Lewis Brown Polhill. She spent the roaring twenties in the quiet of Louisville, living on Highway 1 watching mules and wagons and the rare early car making its way into town. As a child Rosa attended the Louisville Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church with her mother, and, later, she attended the Louisville First Baptist Church with her father, where she was a member most of her life. After graduating as the Valedictorian of her 12 person Louisville Academy class, Rosa chose to attend the University of Georgia and major in English. She was a member of Phi Mu Sorority and spent the early war years in Athens. She had a lifelong love of music. Through the connections of a UGA music professor, Rosa was invited to spend a summer on the New England coast in the conservatory of a wealthy music patron, an experience she cherished all her life. Rosa was the pianist and then organist of Louisville First Baptist Church for many years, and she shared her musical talent by playing at many weddings and funerals.
Rosa joined the United States Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) as a Yeoman in 1944, and she processed requisitions for the Manhattan Project in Washington, D.C., for the duration of World War II. After the war, Rosa returned to college on the G.I. bill, first, in 1947, at Shorter College, then returning to and graduating from the University of Georgia in 1948. Back home in Louisville, on August 21, 1952, she married William Colson (Bill) Green, a fellow veteran who had left his home in the North searching for the warmth and charm of a small Southern town. Together they created a family of three loved and loving girls who knew the same security of a Louisville childhood. Rosa worked with her father at Polhill Insurance Agency. She later was employed at the Urban Renewal Project, and then had a twenty year career with the Jefferson County Department of Family and Children Services where she developed many lifelong friendships.
After Bill's death in 1994, Rosa, at the age of 70, started a new chapter in her life. She audited classes at Georgia College in Milledgeville, embracing women's history and thought. She was a staunch Democrat and became a proud member of the National Organization for Women. She joined the March for Women's Lives in Washington, D.C., in 2004, and, in 2020, at the age of 96, she participated in the Black Lives Matter march in Louisville. She and her daughter Em also traveled together to many places including Maine, Arizona, and New York. Passionate about family and Louisville history, she researched and wrote a history of the Phillips family. Throughout her life, Rosa continued to make new and lasting friendships, always eager to meet, to embrace, to extend a welcome to others. She had friends from all walks of life, including her most cherished lifelong friendship with Louise Abbot. With enthusiasm and joy she brought into her circle the many friends of her children. Though her body began to slow, her warmth, her commitments, her interests, and her loving embrace of life never waned. After 96 years, her loved ones are still so reluctant to let her go as she joins the ones who went before her: her husband, Bill Green; her mother and father Jim and Rosa Polhill; her brother, Jimmy Polhill; and her sister Emily Watson. She is survived by her sister, Lois Sheppard; her daughters, Rosemary Belger (Jim), Jane (William "Bucky" Bailey), and Emily (Ande Burke); grandchildren, Nat Belger (Holly), Rob Belger (Sallie); and great-grandchildren, Betsy and Beau Belger, and generations of nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Rosa's life will be held at a later time. Those wishing to honor Rosa may make a donation to the City of Louisville, P.O. Box 527, Louisville, Georgia, 30434, Attention Ricky Sapp, for improvement projects at the Helen Clark Memorial Park.