Greenie worked at the Des Moines Register for 30 years, serving as the Director of RAGBRAI for 15 years. His work with RAGBRAI focused on making the ride safer for everyone.

James “Greenie” Green, the energetic, passionate and talkative longtime RAGBRAI chief, died Sunday.

Friends and family said Green struggled with health issues after a stroke about two years ago. He was 79.

“He was a good man, a good friend,”said retired Register feature writer John Karras, who founded the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa in the 1970s with the late columnist Donald Kaul.

Green grew up in east Des Moines. His father died when he was young, and the priest at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church took him under his wing, having the young Green work in the church.

Green got a paper route delivering the Des Moines Register, which led to a permanent job in circulation at the newspaper.



James William Green II

Des Moines - Jim, or Greenie as many knew him, left this earth on June 17, 2019 to join his beloved father, mother, sister, and son. Family was always Jim's first love, and if you walked into his home, his church, or his presence, you were considered family. There wasn't anyone, human or animal alike, who wasn't welcomed with open arms, and usually Oreos or Butterfingers, by Jim.

Greenie worked at the Des Moines Register for 30 years, serving as the Director of RAGBRAI for 15 years. His work with RAGBRAI focused on making the ride safer for everyone, partially through his Ride Right initiative. One surefire way to get Greenie upset was to be on a bike without a helmet. One of his proudest accomplishments was creating the Dream Team, which sponsored and trained teens who wouldn't have had the opportunity to experience RAGBRAI otherwise. Outside of work, he gave his time to the churches to which he belonged (St. Joseph's of Des Moines and St. Patrick's of Grand River) and to Catholic Youth Camp (CYC) and Teens Encounter Christ (TEC). Greenie is likely the oldest alter boy and camp counselor the Catholic Church has encountered; and also likely one of the most enthusiastic and passionate in both roles.



As Iowa said farewell to RAGBRAI’s Jim Green, an all-time fun-lover

It was 30 years ago this summer when I decided to get my ear pierced and start wearing an earring. It was 29 years ago when I met Carla Burt during a bicycle ride on a recreational trail. Jim Green inspired both big moments in my life.

On Friday morning, June 21, at St. Bernard Catholic Church in Osceola, Iowa says its formal farewell to Jim “Greenie” Green, who inspired thousands of us — as director for a dozen years of RAGBRAI (the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa), as the influential pal of struggling teenagers, as a devoted family man, and as one of the most fun-loving individuals who ever came our way.

His pastor and lifelong friend Father David Polich said Greenie had a stroke a couple years ago, and his health had slipped recently. On Sunday night, Greenie knew he was dying “but he was Greenie to the end,” Father Dave said. “His family was all there, he was hugging everybody, telling them he loves them and even telling jokes.”


Brian's artwork captured the moment perfectly.



We got to know Jim Green in the early days when we were partying more than we were biking.

it was the years when the RAGBRAI Routes were hard and the RAGBRAI buses were popular. He didn't like our style.

But over time, we gained each other's respect as we became involved with with Bike to Work Day, Bike Week and Bike Month along with the growth of

Jim made RAGBRAI what is is today. He wasn't always winning the popularity vote, but he did what needed to be done to make the ride safe.

We'll miss his style and sense of humor.






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