Spotlight on B.B. Brick: Swingshift and the Stars

If you ask B.B. Brick how she volunteered to dance for Swingshift Fall 2017 to raise money for BrickWays Sandy’s Fairway project, her answer is pretty succinct. “I don’t know!” she laughs. What she does know is the huge impact her late mother-in-law, Mary Jean Brick, had on her.  “She was so much fun to be around!” Married 26 years now to youngest son Terry, who works out of Chicago, B.B. got to know Mary Jean during summers in Traverse. They stayed with “Nana” and Terry’s sister, Becky (Brick) Reed and family, at Mary Jean’s East Bay home. That introduced B.B. to one of Mary Jean’s foremost passions— creating affordable housing and teaching independent living skills for adults with developmental disabilities.

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“We got to know a lot of them because they always came by the house. Mary Jean’s door was always open to them.” Moving to Traverse City full time four years ago allowed this arm of Bricks to become even more involved in maintaining the vision now known as BrickWays and the community living situations and services for adults under its auspices. “My kids and I do the Christmas tree at CLC. It’s kind of become our job,” she says. They try to get residents involved too.

Such continued involvement is typical of ongoing generations of Bricks. How could they be otherwise? She truly lived her life by example,” says B.B. “She was an influence on my life.” Mary Jean’s daughter-in-law B.B. will devote weeks learning to dance for charity. Come Friday evening, December 15, 6:30-9:00 p.m., she’ll perform in public for BrickWays current community housing project, Sandy’s Fairway.

“She had a vision,” says current foundation president, Beth Footh of founder and first board president, Mary Jean Brick.

Susan Onan