Jackson County Times

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Green Jordan Jr., One of Malone’s Best

A Testimonial By Bo McMullian

Residents of the small town of Malone were still reeling Tuesday from the sudden and unexpected death of one of their leading and most revered citizens. Green Jordan Jr., 82, was reportedly working at his lake property north of town last Friday when he suffered a massive heart attack and fell into the pond. His wife of 57 years, Florence, pulled him out but he could not be revived. His son Scott told the TIMES Tuesday night that “there was no suffering involved since we believe he died instantly.” Jordan’s funeral was held Monday; he was buried in Pinecrest Memorial Gardens.

“He didn’t act or look like he was 82,” Malone Mayor Gene Wright told the TIMES on Tuesday, “he got around pretty good.” Wright said he had lunch with Jordan the day before the heart attack at Yates Pharmacy downtown. “It came as quite a shock to everyone. Every town has certain people known for being good, and Green was one of the good ones. I never heard a bad word about him.” Wright has been mayor for the last 14 years.

“I’ve lived in Malone for 26 years,” Wright said. He first met Green at the grocery store he owned for nearly 50 years. “He was famous for always being in that store, and always with a smile on his face, morning, noon and night. I found out quickly that he was a humorous man. He was very funny and loved a practical joke.” He was also known for taking good care of his employees.

Green, or “Junior” as he was known to the older citizens, sold the IGA store more than 10 years ago but that didn’t keep him away. “He was in every day,” says current owner Ben White. “He let me know what I was doing right and what I was doing wrong.”

Green built the IGA building, on State Road 71 which divides the municipality, in 1973. Before that he had the grocery store downtown, closer to the intersection with State Road 2. Green started in the grocery business after running a meat market in the 1950s with the late Arthur Kingry, according to a former employee of Green’s father, Robert Peeler. “Junior cut good meat,” Peeler said. “he put in the IGA store when I was working for Green Jordan (Sr.) Trucking.” The building for the trucking business still stands downtown on S.R. 2, but is vacant. An old sign says “Green Jondan” from when it was used as a seed, feed and fertilizer store.

Green Junior didn’t follow his father in the trucking or agricultural businesses. He bought the meat market from Kingry in 1953. Soon he expanded into groceries and the rest is history. A quick visit to the isolated Panhandle hamlet of Malone, pop. 768, will show that a grocery store is a lifesaver now, just as it was those many years ago.

There’s no record of Junior actually saving someone’s life, but there is a record of him saving a house from burning down. Former Mayor Ben Hall, 72, shared a story with the TIMES about how he and Jordan put out a fire at Ben’s house. Jordan was mayor from 1966 to 1971, during which time he found an old “Seagrave” open-top fire truck for the town. That fire truck was the town’s fire department. “Lightning struck my house,” Hall said, “and Junior was the first one there, with that old fire truck. We put the fire out and saved the house.”

“He was active in everything,” Hall said, “from the Joy Club to the Lion’s Club. If you went to a ball game he was there. He was a great supporter of the ball teams.” Those teams made Malone famous for winning several high school basketball state championships in the 1980s.

Scott likes to tell the story of how his dad met his mother. “He bought a car in the late 40s, after coming home from the service,” Scott said. “A friend wanted to borrow the car but dad said no but I’ll drive it for you and your date. But while the friend was inside the store buying milkshakes, dad climbed over the back seat and stole a kiss form the date. That date would become my mother.”

So another Panhandle pioneer of sorts is gone. The unique pastoral name of Green Jordan was retired Monday. No one knows why the fathers were named Green but the town of Malone will never forget the name, having been improved substantially because of it.

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