Volume 76, Number 45 | April 4 - 10, 2007


Aline Greig, 86, children’s educator

By Albert Amateau

Aline Greig, a much-loved and innovative leader of Hudson Guild children’s programs from the late 1950s until she retired in 1986, died March 19 at the age of 86 in her Village home where she lived for more than 50 years.

“She was a very private person and didn’t want any funeral services. I’m sure she wouldn’t want us talking about her like this,” said one of her daughters, who declined to speak further last week with The Villager.

Nevertheless, several Chelsea residents were eager to pay tribute to her lasting impact on people in the neighborhood.

“She was a fabulous person and had a tremendous effect on all classes of people on both sides of Ninth Ave.,” said one admirer, who recalled Aline Greig’s leadership of a Hudson Guild preschool program in the mid-1960s that included children from the middle-income Penn South co-op on the east side of Ninth Ave. and Head Start pupils from the Elliott Chelsea city housing project on the west side of the avenue.

“She had already retired by the time I started in 1987, but she made a major difference in the way people thought about preschool and she had an impact on a generation of Chelsea residents,” said Janice McGuire, who retired as Hudson Guild director in 2006. “The [Head Start] program fell by the wayside because of government funding regulations, but Aline got it right that settlement houses weren’t just about social services but also about education and community-building,” McGuire said.

Aline Greig also organized a Hudson Guild food co-op around 1970. When her children were attending P.S. 41 in the Village, she became a leader in both the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.

“She was the kind of woman who would tell a child, ‘Oh, your bike wheel needs tightening — here’s a wrench,’ and she’d pull a wrench out of her bag,” said one admirer.

Born Aline Corton in Manhattan, she went to Cornell University, where she met her husband, John Greig, a physicist, whom she married in 1945. John Greig died in 1983. As a young married woman she was known by the nickname of “Pete,” taken from the name of a little dog that she frequently carried with her.

She is survived by three daughters, Joan Greig Gillman and Peggy Greig, both of Manhattan, and Betsy Thornton of Maryland; and a son, Sandy, a State Department officer in Washington, D.C.

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