Second Annual Brookby Christmas Ball


Last weekend, we attended a very special Christmas party that has now become  as the event of the Holiday Season. A party designed to celebrate the history of Brookby and its future with Aquinas College.

In October of 2011, Sam and Janene Cummings gave Aquinas College a generous gift. They donated a large portion of their home, the Brookby Estate to the College to be used to enhance the academics, fundraising and visibility of the School. The property was donated after residing there for 14 years. They now co-chair a committee at the college that overlooks Brookby and all the historical sites on campus.

Brookby, which is located on Plymouth Avenue at the Southeast corner of Plymouth and Robinson Road, has close ties to Aquinas. The home, designed by New York architects Walker and Gillette with grounds by famed landscape architects Olmsted Brothers of Brookline, Massachusetts, was built between 1926 and 1927 by early Grand Rapids philanthropist, John W. Blodgett, Sr.

The Brookby House is now the personal home of Dr. Juan R. Olivarez, Aquinas College president. The home is also used for college-related functions.

This was the formal affair’s 2nd year and was hosted by Sam and Janene CummingsDan and Pam DeVos and Juan and Mary Olivarez. Amont the guests were Governor Rick Synder, his wife Sue, Steve Heacock, wife Brenda, Mimi Cummings, Phil and Mary Ann Weaver, Maureen and Don Burns, Mimi Amash, Mike and Sue Jandernoa, Bob Delamar, Matt Sova, John O’Neill. Attendance was by invitation only and was limited to 100 guests.

The home was its most elegant, spectacularly adorned with holiday decorations in the spirit of the season. The beautiful Black Tie event included cocktails and appetizers and dancing in the ballroom to the Thristy Perch Blues Band. A special performance by The Choir of Men and Boys brought seasonal favorites to the guests opening the event. Tickets were appropriately priced as an effort to raise money for the ongoing maintenance and support of Brookby and its important part of Grand Rapids history.

Many thanks to our friends Sam and Janene Cummings for inviting Stellafly to capture this special historical event. It remains to be such a treasure to our city.

Read about the history of the Brookby House on the Aquinas College:

More interesting history:


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