Berston Field House executive director Bryant Nolden outside the Flint facility. (Photo courtesy of Flintside.com)

Flint, MI—Bryant “BB” Nolden will be laid to rest this Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, but not before one last visit to his beloved Berston Field House.

The Genesee County commissioner and executive director of Friends of Berston died unexpectedly on Dec. 7, leaving behind a legacy of impact on the Flint community. He was 57.

According to his obituary from the Lawrence E. Moon Funeral Home, a public viewing will be held on Dec. 16 from noon to 6 p.m. at Berston Field House, located at 3300 N. Saginaw St. in north Flint. Nolden served as the facility’s executive director since 2014 and is credited with keeping the field house open through the City of Flint’s financial hardship.

“It has taken us a moment to grapple with the passing of our fearless leader…and we are still grappling,” read Friends of Berston’s statement on Nolden’s passing. “To know the history is to know that BB was Berston. When at a time where Berston had closed its doors, BB asked for the keys to the building and came every day to open it up for young men to come and play basketball. He woke up at 4 a.m. to volunteer his time to cut the grass or shovel the snow. BB knew the needs of not just the north side of Flint, but all of Flint!”

Nolden graduated from Flint Central High School in 1983 before completing a bachelor degree in elementary education at Central State University and a master of public administration in education leadership from the University of Michigan-Flint.

He went on to teach for over two decades in Flint Community Schools, serve on Flint City Council and later as 1st District County Commissioner, as well as run the day-to-day operations of Berston Field House—the sports and community center which he recently positioned for a multi-million dollar renovation.

When the renovation project secured funding last month, Nolden told Flint Beat that Berston had “always been a beacon of hope for the City of Flint.” But, given the outpouring of love from Flint residents on social media and in community meetings since his passing, it’s clear Nolden was also his own beacon of hope for the city.

“His loss is unexpected, incalculable, and deeply heartbreaking for all who knew him,” wrote Dale Weighill, who was recently elected to serve alongside Nolden on the Genesee County Commission. “We are a better people and a better community because of you, BB. You will be profoundly missed.”

Nolden’s funeral service will be held at New Jerusalem Full Gospel Baptist Church on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 11 a.m. before his burial at Sunset Hills Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, his obituary asks that donations be sent to The Friends of Berston in care of Bryant “BB” Nolden.

Kate Stockrahm

Kate is Flint Beat's economic development reporter. She joins the team as a corps member of Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered...