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Joe Green, WBZ traffic reporter who flew the "Green Machine," dies at 76

Joe Green, whose traffic reports on WBZ from the "Green Machine" high above Greater Boston guided commuters back and forth to work for over 30 years, has died.

Mr. Green, who was 76, died at his Beverly home on Wednesday night.

An obituary on the well known radio personality who flew the skies during both the morning and afternoon commute from 1963 to his retirement in 1995, was posted today in

It stated Mr. Green was a Boston police officer in 1952 when he learned to fly.

The obituary continued:

"It was at that point that his life took off in another direction. His "hobby" became his passion and that passion led him to become Boston's only helicopter pilot to do his own traffic reports.

"His traffic reports were concise and to the point. Green did not like to hear himself talk for the sake of talking. He once told reporter Robert G. Pushkar in the Professionals that 'the most important thing a traffic reporter can do is tell the people what the problems are. For example, why the motorist has moved just a short way in a half hour. A traffic reporter can't do anything about the problem except let people know why and maybe help release them of their frustration.'

"Joe Green's "Green Machine" would fly as long as there was a 300 foot ceiling and a quarter-mile visibility. He would also fly as long as winds were under 50-60 miles per hour. Green says he would not fly in treacherous conditions. However, he would take chances to help the public. Joe Green was a very courageous man.

"On several occasions Green's heroism saved lives. In 1972 he rescued two boys stuck on a raft in the Neponset River in Dorchester. He also helped retrieve a man and his dog from broken ice on the Charles. In 1975 he came upon a burning apartment building in the Back Bay of Boston. He landed on the rooftop to aid in the rescue of a woman and her child. However, a faulty fire escape gave way and the mother and child perished. Longtime WBZ personality Dave Maynard said that bothered Green greatly.

"There were better results in 1976 when Green was asked by the United States Coast Guard to help rescue a man stranded on a rock amid swirling rapids in the Merrimack River. He brought his helicopter upstream against the wind, brought it up against the rock, pushed open the door, the man clung to his float and then climbed in. Green was given a special commendation by the Coast Guard as well as President Ford for that rescue.

"Green was a private man in a very public arena. He wanted no part of publicity. He just wanted to do his job."

Mr. Green leaves 5 daughters and 4 sisters. Visiting hours at the Lee Moody and Russell Funeral Home at 9 Dane St. in Beverly are 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 7. There will be a prayer service at 5:30. The burial is private.

For the full obituary, visit the WBZ website.

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