Sylvia Abernathy Green died peacefully on March 22, 2021 at the age of 89 in her home at the retirement community of Westminster at Lake Ridge, Virginia, with family and her beloved dog, Della, at her side. She was preceded in death by her husband, the Rev. James McIver (Jim) Green.
Sylvia was born to Dulcie and Sam Abernathy on February 20, 1932 in Mt. Holly, NC. She was known to family and friends by her nickname “Dibbie,” owing to her sister not being able to pronounce Sylvia and calling her instead “di baby.” Growing up in Mt. Holly, she could often be found helping in her father’s grocery store, along with her three sisters. While attending Flora MacDonald College, she met her husband Jim Green. They lived in North Carolina and Kansas before settling in northern Virginia in the 1960s. Dibbie helped raise their family while Jim attended Virginia Theological Seminary and became rector of Alexandria’s Church of the Resurrection.
Dibbie loved meeting new people of all ages and walks of life and always made a point of asking people their names. She was more a listener than a talker and this endeared her to many. She was a talented seamstress, especially hand smocking, and worked for a time at a children’s clothing boutique. Later she served as a receptionist at the law firm of Burns Doane Swecker and Mathis in Old Town Alexandria for many years. Every summer the family vacationed at Sunset Beach, NC, where she satisfied her love of fishing and crabbing. Dibbie also had an adventuresome spirit and was widely traveled, climbing the Great Wall of China, riding a camel in Morocco, and white-water rafting in her 70s, among other incredible experiences.
Survivors include her three children, Elizabeth Earle Green (Robert Grovac) of San Diego, Thomas McIver Green (Noelle) of Alexandria, and Nancy Green Jackson (Burt) of Severna Park, MD, and her three grandchildren, Amanda Wimer and Ben and Robert Jackson.