Stan Green, a longtime Newsday editor recognized for his graceful writing and known as a mentor to young reporters, died Dec. 7 at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, his family said. He was 93.
Green began his journalism career at Newsday as a rewrite reporter and copy editor, rose to copy chief and later became the managing editor of the paper’s Sunday magazine before retiring in 1992. He was also one of 25 Newsday journalists who penned “Naked Came the Stranger,” a sexually explicit book that was conceived as a parody of romance novels but became a New York Times bestseller.
Green originally trained to be a pharmacist, and as a teenager enlisted in the Navy, where he trained field medics during World War II, Green’s son, Rick Green, said. He later served in the Korean War.
But the long hours of working at a drugstore did not appeal to Green, who eventually earned a journalism degree from New York University and soon after began working at Newsday, his son said.
Green quickly established himself as an excellent editor and as a calming presence in a sometimes chaotic newsroom, according to Harvey Aronson, a former senior editor at Newsday and Green’s colleague.
“I never saw him get nervous under pressure,” Aronson said. “It was a hard job that he had, but he never got rattled.”
In the office, Green was quiet and presented himself as a “seemingly sedate, ex-pharm guy,” said Aronson, a co-editor of “Naked Came the Stranger.” So when submissions for the novel were being collected, Aronson remembers being pleasantly surprised at Green’s “irreverent” and exceedingly funny contribution — a chapter about an abortion provider who has an affair with his patient.
The novel was published in 1969 under the name Penelope Ashe, who is described on the book’s jacket as a “demure Long Island housewife” and was revealed to be a hoax later that year.
“I always enjoyed telling people I was the son of a New York Times best-selling dirty book author,” said Rick Green, 59, of Manhattan, who eventually joined his father at Newsday as a business editor.
Green was a careful editor and showed a commitment to his craft, said colleague Howard Schneider, who is now dean of the School of Journalism at Stony Brook University.
“Stan was part of a generation of editors who were true gatekeepers,” said Schneider, a former reporter and editor at Newsday. “No detail was too small for scrutiny, no error of fact inconsequential. No unanswered question worth rushing a story into print.”
He also exhibited a knack for “building narratives and nurturing reporters,” Green’s son said.
“He could think up bigger and more interesting ways of presenting a story and he could get his reporters to do the same,” said Green, who is now an editor at Bloomberg. “To this day, I hear his voice when I’m editing stories — something like, ‘Gotta tighten that up.’ ”
Green was a doting father who never stopped adoring his wife, and in many ways “led the archetypal Long Island life,” Rick Green said.
After returning from the service, Green married Sandy Green in 1952. They had three children together and settled in Bay Shore. Green loved cars and owned a white Dodge Dart convertible, which on many warm summer days he’d drive down to Robert Moses beach with the top down and his family in tow.
“He was a boy from the Bronx who moved to Long Island, won the heart of a beautiful girl, bought his dream home and got to spend weekends cruising down to the beach in his convertible,” Rick Green said. “If you stop to think about it, I think he got exactly what he wanted.”
In addition to his wife and son, Green is survived by two daughters, Linda Green, 61, of Newton, Massachusetts, and Hope Green, 54, of Medford, Massachusetts; and six grandchildren.
A service for Green was held Dec. 10 at Star of David Memorial Chapels in West Babylon. Burial was at Mount Ararat Cemetery in Lindenhurst.