Teddy Lee Greene, 71, of Bryson City went home to be with the Lord Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.

A native of Swain County, he was the son of the late Vance Wilbar Greene Sr. and Ellean Martin Greene.

Teddy was a lifelong member of Cold Springs Baptist Church, where he served as the Sunday School superintendent for many years. He was a former member of the Bryson City Jaycees, for which he received several awards and recognitions. He was a member of the Oconee Masonic Lodge #427 of Bryson City and served as a Master Mason for 47 years. Since 1984, he has been a member of the State Employees Association of North Carolina, where he has served in many capacities including chair, vice chair and treasurer. During his time as chair, he also served as a member of the Board of Governors. He was an active member of Western Carolina Alumni Association. He was also a member of the Catamount Club and served on the Board of Directors for several years in the 1990s. Teddy was involved with the inception of Folkmoot and served on their board for many years, finding hosting sights and venues for the groups to perform as well as assisting with lodging, promotion and transportation.

Teddy graduated Swain High School in 1967. While in high school he worked at the local A&P grocery store where he was a bag-boy and stocker. He continued working there while in college.

Upon his graduation from Western Carolina University in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in business education, he then gained employment at Singer Furniture where he was the accountant. Following this, he then began his career working for the N.C. Department of Transportation, where he was a right-of-way agent. Over the years, his work area ranged from Raleigh to the Western North Carolina state line. The last several years of his employment he was the Division 14 agent of the Department of Right of Way. Teddy also worked for Harrah’s Cherokee Casino for the last seven years. He had many odd jobs over the years from driving a bus for Young, delivering the paper on Wednesday nights for the Smoky Mountain Times, picking up cars for used car lots and occasionally assisting as a licensed auctioneer.

Teddy was a jovial person and could be found about anywhere west of Raleigh at any point in time. He was a self-taught photographer and worked for many years taking photos for the Smoky Mountain Times. He covered many local events and goings-on in the community. His photography status allowed him access to various engagements and events, many times at no cost. He was well traveled across the United States and abroad.

In the early 1980s he took what was called the “Grand Tour” of Europe. While on this trip, he took what he considered to be the best picture of his career. He was able to attend an event where Pope John Paul II was going to appear. He was allowed to either shake the Pope’s hand or take a picture. Of course, he chose to take the picture at a location approximately two feet away from the Pope. The picture has the sky in the background and is clear as day, which was a feat in the days before auto focus.

He could be found at many high school, college and professional sporting events across the Southeast. You could almost guarantee if there was an event going on, Teddy would be there, unless there was a football game at the same time.

Teddy had a big heart and has helped many people in many different ways. He has encouraged many young people about the importance of an education. He loved to make people laugh, even at his own expense. He was a die-hard conservative, but never allowed that to get in the way of the friendships he had with so many. On most occasions he could be found giving away the photographs he so loved to take and has captured so many memories for so many people. Teddy never believed in editing pictures, he believed a picture was a moment in history and nothing should be done to alter that moment.

He has been such a large part of Bryson City and Swain County, it will be hard to imagine the future without him. There are so many things that need to be said to honor him, and these few words do not do him justice. Teddy was not an emotional person but if anyone ever lived life to the fullest and gave love and joy to those around  it was Teddy Lee Greene.

He is survived by his brother, Vance W. Greene Jr. and wife Kathy; niece, Julie Robin Laws and husband Michael; nephew, Vance Greene III; great-nephews and great-nieces, Mikel Laws, Emily Smith, Olivia Greene and Karin Greene.

Funeral services were held at 3 p.m. Sunday in the chapel of Crisp Funeral Home. David Postell, Danny Shuler and Earl King officiated, with burial in the Lauada Cemetery.

The family received friends from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home.

Pallbearers were Michael Laws, Mikel Laws, Danny Shuler, Robbie Bumgarner, Jacob Smith and Caleb Rowland.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Cold Springs Baptist Church Building Fund, P.O. Box 946, Bryson City, NC 28713.