Rachel was born in Utica, New York, and grew up in Massachusetts, Maryland, and the Netherlands. She graduated from Boston University with a BFA in costume design in 1981 and worked in professional theatre including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the Santa Fe Opera.
In 1987, she got an MBA from Simmons College in Boston and worked in sales while she was raising her children, Harrison Greene of Somerville, MA, and Eleanor Greene of Washington, DC. She went back to school, studying at Framingham State University and becoming a registered dietician in 2015. She worked in food service at nursing homes and hospitals in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania until she was diagnosed with glioblastoma in October 2018.
Rachel lived in Grafton since 1992 and was an active community member. She always went to town meetings and advocated for the expansion of the Grafton Library in particular. She served on the Grafton Music Boosters when Harrison played trumpet in high school. She became involved in the Town Democrats and in 2018 she was proud to be chosen as a delegate for the state democratic convention. After her diagnosis, she joined the Unitarian Universalists Society of Grafton and Upton, where she found inspiration and friendship.
Anyone who knew Rachel knows she was multi-talented with many passions and interests. She was an active gardener, quilter, cyclist, and traveler. She would never turn down a chance to see live music or theater, no matter who was playing. She kept in touch with friends and family members, even distantly related or faraway, for the decades of her life.
In the past two years, her cancer fight became a big part of her life. She was lucky to have access to some of the most advanced care in the world, at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. When her cancer came back in September 2020, she joined a clinical trial, testing the use of an oncolytic virus to fight glioblastoma, an extremely fast-moving terminal cancer. She also volunteered to donate her brain to the study after she passed. Her doctors called her a pioneer for science and when a cure is found someday, we will get to thank her for her contribution.
Rachel was the daughter of Irene Blum and Harry Blum. She is survived by her older sisters, Flo Blum of Salt Lake City, UT, and Hannah Blum of Boston, MA, as well as her children and their father, Stephen Greene of Amherst, MA, and many beloved cousins and friends.
All are welcome to share photos, songs, and videos, and memories here as a virtual memorial. An in-person memorial service will be held in March with details to come to be posted here and on CaringBridge (https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/toughasamother). In lieu of flowers, consider donating to one of the charities where Rachel was involved: the Community Harvest Project of Grafton, the Jane Fund, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund of Worcester, and the Virginia Thurston Healing Garden.