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Saying goodbye to a friend

We had the celebration of life for Dr. James (Jim) Emmerson Brick on Saturday. It was bittersweet.

Jim was an esteemed physician, friend, brother, husband, father and grandfather.

He loved his family and was very proud of each of them. He was especially proud of his grandson, Conner, and would send almost weekly clips of Conner growing up with texts like:  “He has no hair, he’s a Brick,” or “He is almost walking, he’s a Brick.”

He loved being a physician and he loved that he was a physician at WVU Medicine with his brother John.

He loved fly fishing.

He loved West Virginia and its people.

He loved outreach and loved learning people’s stories of their lives.

He died too young, although we say that about many that left their life in the midst of living out their purpose.

He lived a meaningful life and to borrow the title of Buck Harless’ book, a most fortunate life.

Anais Nin wrote, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”

Jim saw the world in terms of service, as a native West Virginian whose heart always remained in the state, and for people are in need.

He and John talked about the Nola test, named after his mother. If Nola would approve and it was good for West Virginia, then Jim and John were all for it.

He and his twin brother John were both chairmen and leaders of large departments in our School of Medicine, but their heart drew them to a different service for the state.

They stepped down from their leadership positions to provide medical specialty care for the people in the southern part of the state.

To provide hope and love through the practice of medicine.

They got busy starting clinics in Mingo County, Glenville, at the Greebrier Clinic and the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine to bring specialty care where it was needed.

Helping with camps for underprivileged kids.

Helping get food to children that didn’t have enough.

Recruiting more physicians to do the same.

David Brooks wrote in his book, The Road to Character, that the Greatest Generation – the Americans who lived through World War II -- didn’t want to be famous or rich or served.

They believed in the American Dream and John F. Kennedy’s adage, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but for what you can do for your country.”

The Brick brothers are from a great generation of physicians that serve, know and love their patients, and who pass on the sacred art of medicine to a generation of students.

Doctor means “to teach” and they are both master teachers of medicine.

Like a pebble thrown in the stream of life, Jim has created many concentric circles from the stone of his life that has amplified in the lives of so many.

To meet the Bricks was to know them and to know the Bricks is a blessing.

They lead by example and for Jim, he lived a meaningful life and leaves a great legacy for all of us to follow. He is and will be celebrated in the annals of our institution, as was evidenced by the full house that attended his celebration of life.

Our celebration of him and John and the great service, love and caring they give each day.

Would his life’s work pass the Nola test? With flying colors and with our eternal gratitude.

Godspeed Jim and pass a good word for us in (Almost) Heaven.