Tributes to pioneering Herefordshire architect and builder

John Greene was born in Eardisland on February 8, 1949, the much-loved son of Ethel and Reg Greene and brother to Sue and Sally.

John first attended Dutton House Prep school in Leominster, then Leominster Grammar school after passing his 11+ exam at the age of nine. John and Patsy met at school, married aged 20, and had three children and six grandchildren.

In the late 1970s John felt that his lifelong passion for oak framing would make a good business and he decided to revive the long-lost art of green oak framing.

He started Border Oak with his brother-in-law Mark in 1980 – to offer more people the chance to build their own bespoke ‘self-build’ homes from green oak frames. John was a leading figure in self and custom build arena, creating and shaping the emerging sector that has now become mainstream.

John later enrolled at university to study architecture, at the same time as raising a young family, restoring a medieval oak framed barn and running his new business now based in rural Kingsland.

John was an exceptional designer of vernacular buildings, as well as a pioneer and innovator – creating many products and details that have changed the UK housebuilding sector. He loved creating homes for families and was forever grateful to those who placed their trust in him and what he did.

John’s broad range of skills and boundless positivity enabled him to navigate several recessions, wars and even a pandemic and through the struggles he often found a way to prosper and have fun, notably exporting his handmade oak frames across the globe.

In 2019 John suffered a cardiac arrest at work and was thankfully revived by colleagues. Against the odds he emerged from this ordeal more determined than ever to build and restore beautiful buildings.

John was a passionate Herefordian and was incredibly proud of Border Oak and everyone he worked with. He achieved so much during his time, despite endless obstacles and barriers, and all of this remains a lasting testament to his legacy.

John was shy, humble, kind and generous – as well as being unwaveringly loyal, very funny and a wonderful friend and boss. He loved people and lived a good and happy life.

Above all he was a devoted husband, an incredible father and magnificent grandpa.

John died on June 2 after bravely battling ill health with fortitude, humour and dignity.

His mind was as sharp as ever and true to form, he left us with a long list of things to get done.

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