Opal Hurley Mann Green
Early in life, Opal Hurley Mann Green was interested in education. Green received her bachelor’s degree in home economics in 1944 and her master’s in family studies in 1965 at the University of Kentucky. She taught high school in Illinois after graduation. In 1945, she returned to Kentucky to begin her professional career in Cooperative Extension.
From 1945 to 1961, Green held positions of assistant county home demonstration agent and home demonstration agent, and in 1958 she became the first female county coordinator. In 1961, Green moved her family to Lexington to accept a position as central district leader of home demonstration agents. After completing her master’s degree, she served as a state program specialist at UK.
In 1971, Green earned her doctoral degree from The Ohio State University and moved to Washington, D.C., to serve as deputy assistant administrator, Home Economics, Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Her career at USDA spanned 11 years, and she was promoted to deputy administrator, Extension Service, Home Economics and Human Nutrition before her retirement in 1982.
As a USDA deputy administrator, Opal was a member of the senior executive service, the highest level position held by civilian government employees. For many years, she influenced the direction of extension home economics programs in the U.S. and was instrumental in the expansion of the National Extension Homemakers Council membership to additional states.
Green’s life was driven by a passion to serve others, especially those who were deprived of many opportunities in the U.S. During her career, Mann encouraged the scholarship of engagement. She modeled these practices by authoring and co-authoring more than 40 publications and manuscripts.
After her retirement, she embraced community service projects that allowed her to continue the “missionary spirit” that guided her life. In 2000, Green moved to Florida and joined with a pioneering team to build the Fairway Christian Church in her community.