South Charlotte

5 generations living in the same neighborhood

Charlotte is a city in which fewer than half its residents were born in North Carolina and an even smaller percentage were born in Charlotte.

But that's not the case for the women in the Green family.

Five generations of Green women were born in the Charlotte area and lived in the Madison Park neighborhood, where "Nanny Green" resided most of her 101 years before passing away earlier this month.

Lottie Elizabeth Green, or "Nanny Green" as she affectionately was called, was born in Charlotte in 1910. She and her husband, Ed, also born in Charlotte, had four sons and a daughter, Judy Elizabeth.

Judy, born in Charlotte in 1941, married a fellow Charlottean. She met Robert Gilbert when he was a DJ at radio station WGIV, and they married in 1956. They had two daughters, Tina and Debbie.

Judy recalls what it was like to live near her parents when they were raising their daughters.

"Being a young mother, at age 16, I enjoyed having my mother close by to help out when I needed her. Mother always gave me good advice but never overstepped her boundaries, even if she really wanted to," said Judy.

Tina, Judy's oldest daughter, married and moved to Lenoir; however, youngest daughter Debbie found love in Charlotte and remained here to raise a family.

In 1987, Debbie met Phil Gray while they worked together at Trane & Co.: She was in customer service and he was a technician. They have one son, Jesse, and one daughter, Megan Elizabeth, named after her grandmother and great-grandmother.

When Jesse and Megan were young children, Debbie and Phil moved to the Madison Park neighborhood to be closer to Debbie's family.

"Growing up two doors away from your grandparents was every little kid's dream," said Megan of that time. "Some of the favorite things to do with Nanny and Poppy were going to Freedom Park, shopping, swimming at their house and painting terracotta pots."

Debbie said she believed her children would learn a lot by living close to their grandparents and great-grandparents.

"Their wisdom has been able to teach (our children) life lessons and morals about family and loyalty," said Debbie. "Responsibility and respect were especially important characteristics that were instilled at an early age, which has made Megan such a great mother."

Megan met Steve Hopkins in 2004, and they were married six years later. On Nov. 23, 2011, they had their first child, Madison Elizabeth. She is the namesake of her mother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother and is the fifth generation to live in the Madison Park neighborhood.

Megan said she hopes that living near her mother and grandmother will help her daughter understand the importance of family.

"I would like my daughter to take our strong family values to heart and make family her first priority," she said.

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