Flint’s “Gentle giant” – Commissioner Bryant “B.B” Nolden honored and remembered by Flint City Council

By Tom Travis

As Flint reels from the sudden and untimely death of County Commissioner and Berston Field House Director Bryant “B.B.” Nolden,  the City Council honored his legacy through a resolution of condolence in Monday’s meeting.,

Councilperson Jerri Winfrey-Carter (Ward 5) brought the resolution forward and read it. “In the name of the people of the city of Flint a resolution of condolence:

Be it resolved on behalf of the citizens of the City of Flint. The Flint city council expresses its profound regret upon the learning of the passing of Mr. Bryant B.B. Nolden, former city of Flint councilman, Genesee County Commissioner of the 1st District and Berston Field House Director. Who will be remembered for his outstanding leadership and dedication and for his many other contributions to our community. Moreover he will long be remembered for his devotion and commitment to his family.

By order of the Flint City Council, in this city of Flint, Michigan on this day.”

The resolution was signed by all City Council members.

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Winfrey-Carter closed by saying that the resolution will be presented to Nolden’s family  Dec. 17. Nolden’s obituary and funeral arrangements can viewed below and at the Lawrence Moon Funeral Home website. According to Nolden’s obituary, he was 57 (May 31, 1965 to December 7, 2022) and died at Hurley Hospital.

Obituary: Nolden, Mr. Bryant “BB” – Age 57, passed away Wednesday, December 7, 2022 at Hurley Medical Center. Family hour 10 a.m. Saturday, December 17, 2022 at New Jerusalem Full Gospel Baptist Church, 1035 E. Carpenter Rd. with funeral service commencing at 11 a.m. Pastor William J. Wyne officiating. Interment Sunset Hills Cemetery, G-4413 Flushing Rd. Friends and pallbearers will assemble at the church 10 a.m. Saturday. Mr. Nolden will lie in state at Berston Field House, 3300 N. Saginaw St. and may be viewed from 12 noon until 6 p.m. Friday.

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Several council members shared thoughts and memories of Nolden.

Councilperson Ladel Lewis (Ward 2)

“When we talk about Bryant Nolden we’re not talking about any ordinary man. We’re talking about a teacher. We’re talking about a fighter. We’re talking about an advocate. We’re talking about a north side hero. We’re talking about a Genesee County trendsetter. We’re talking about a community champion. We’re talking about a changemaker. We’re talking about someone who took Flint and put it on his back. We’re talking about someone who was Flint. We can’t say the name Flint without accompanying it with Mr. Bryant B.B. Nolden. What a lot of people don’t know is that he worked behind the scenes.”

“Instead of talking about shoes that can’t be filled, let’s talk about our obligation to doing better and to filling those shoes. I challenge everyone that takes his legacy seriously to take a not from his playbook, take a page from his playbook, a chapter no just take the whole playbook and do the great work that he was doing. Continue with the legacy. Wherever you are in life … you don’t have to be County Commissioner, you don’t have to be on the Land Bank board. Wherever you are you can be in a neighborhood association, you can be a regular resident of Flint, a city council member. I challenge you to take a page from his playbook and keep Flint first and move the city forward. Because we can’t talk about his great legacy and the great things he’s accomplished without stepping up and filling in his shoes.”

Councilperson Jerri Winfrey-Carter (Ward 5)

“I think it’s fitting that we take the time to recognize Commissioner B.B. Nolden.”

Choking with emotion, Councilperson Winfrey-Carter said, “I’m gonna try to get through this without getting emotional.” Councilperson Tonya Burns, sitting to Winfrey-Carter’s left, wrapped her arm around Winfrey-Carter’s shoulders comforting her.

“I’ve known B.B. since we were 10 years old. A good family friend. I could call B.B. at anytime and he’s right there for me for whatever. B.B. was a gentle giant. We would get into our little arguments. He could say whatever he wanted to say to me and I could say whatever I wanted to say to him. But we were still remained friends. Whenever I saw him he would hug me and I would hug him.”

Councilperson Eric Mays (Ward 1)

“I served on this council when Commissioner Nolden was then councilman in the Third Ward.” Mays recalled when Nolden got the key for Berston, “He did a fantastic job with Berston and bringing Berston back to life.”

Mays and other councilmembers suggested the renovated Berston Field House or a gym be named after Nolden. Mays said he stood with Nolden in the council chambers on Monday last week for Mayor Sheldon Neeley’s swearing in ceremony.

“Then two days later my phone started blowing up and it was a surprise. It caught me off-guard,” Mays said.

Councilperson Tonya Burns (Ward 6)

“I couldn’t even register it in my mind. It is with deep regret and deep condolences to his wife and family. He was a steward of his community. He served his community. Commissioner Nolden never stopped working. He was everything Flint and he was Mr. Berston Field House. He has gone off into glory and he can rest assured, ‘a job well done’. It is a great loss to our community.

Councilperson Eva Worthing (Ward 9)

“Mr. Nolden was a kind man. Always a smile. Politics can be a mean and nasty environment but he was one of the good ones. He was in it for the right reasons. He did his work and he did it with passion and compassion.”

Worthing recalled reading the news of Nolden’s passing right after school ended and she gathered with other teachers.  She said they all recalled memories of Nolden.

“We need others to step up and continue the work he did. But he is honored and we will miss him” Worthing said.

Councilperson Quincy Murphy (Ward 3)

Councilperson Quincy Murphy pointed out Nolden served as the Third Ward councilperson. Murphy said that when he ran for council last year all the former Third Ward councilpersons [Santino Guerra, Kerry Nelson, Johnny Coleman], including Nolden, endorsed him.

“That was a great moment for me,”  Murphy said.  Nolden and Murphy served together on the local MTA (Mass Transportation Authority) board and the Genesee County Land Bank board.

East Village Magazine wishes to express our profound grief at B.B.’s passing and wish to send our care and condolences to his family, close friends and all of the Flint community.

Banner Photo: Paul Rozycki

EVM Managing Editor Tom Travis can be reached at tomntravis@gmail.com.

Author: Tom Travis

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