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‘Such a lovely apartment’

Walton floor plan a perfect fit for this active couple

Created date

January 4th, 2018
Mary and Don Briggs relax in their Walton-style apartment home at Fox Run. They moved to the Erickson Living community in Novi, Mich., from Grosse Pointe Farms in 2016.

Mary and Don Briggs relax in their Walton-style apartment home at Fox Run. They moved to the Erickson Living community in Novi, Mich., from Grosse Pointe Farms in 2016. 


A little over a year ago, Mary and Don Briggs moved to Fox Run. They had previously lived in a three-bedroom ranch-style house in Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich. Their property bordered a golf course, and they had a large English garden in their yard. 

“We had loved to do it [garden], and my husband was master gardener,” Mary says. “But when you get older, those things become difficult to keep up. That was one of our primary reasons for checking out Fox Run.”

Mary and Don also had a home in Palm Springs, Calif., where they spent winters. They have one son and his family in California, and the other with his family in Michigan, so when it came time to look for a retirement community, they searched in both states. 

Mary says one of the things that stood out about Fox Run is that the apartment homes are more spacious than those at other communities. She and Don chose a Walton-style floor plan, which has two bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, a living room, a dining room, and a family room.

“That may have been the most influential factor in our decision to come here,” Mary says. “It’s just such a lovely apartment.”

Calling all sports fans

Sports are a big part of Mary and Don’s life together. They met while studying at the University of Michigan, and both of their sons graduated from the school as well, so the whole family are dedicated Wolverines fans. And over the years, they’ve played tennis and done a lot of skiing too.

“My husband interested me in fly fishing, so we’ve spent a lot of time in Montana,” Mary says. 

Baseball is one of Mary and Don’s favorite sports. In fact, Don played on two traveling baseball teams. He was in the U.S. Navy in the 1950s when he and Mary were stationed at a training center outside of Chicago; he played on their baseball team. 

He was also on a Class A team in Dearborn, Mich. The team played against various teams, including some prison baseball teams. Mary says it wasn’t as intimidating as one might think. 

At Fox Run, Mary and Don have found many other baseball fans. They belong to the community’s Hot Stove League, a group of avid Detroit Tigers fans who meet to discuss the team’s performance and strategy and periodically take in a baseball game together. 

Aside from baseball, they also belong to the campus bird-watching group—something they enjoy for the friendships as much as the bird-watching.

“The thing I’m most impressed with here at Fox Run is relationships between residents—the openness and friendliness,” Mary says. “I think that is one of the things you notice; you hardly ever pass people in the halls without a friendly greeting. People are very open and interested in one another, and it’s a wonderful community in that regard.”

Perfect fit

Mary only recently retired from her career in audiology. She originally studied and worked in speech pathology but had always been interested in audiology. She went back to get a master’s degree in the field when she was in her 60s.

Don retired from dentistry and had a practice in Grosse Pointe Farms. He was a member of the Detroit District Dental Society and often received invitations to lecture on dentistry in foreign countries. The lectures took him and Mary to places such as China, Russia, Greece, Kenya, and Switzerland. 

“We would interact with other dentists and their families, and sometimes they entertained us in their homes,” Mary says.

Mary and Don collected many items during their international travels. They displayed those items in their house in Grosse Pointe Farms and wanted to be sure they’d have space for them at Fox Run.

“I was surprised at how much of the furniture from our Grosse Pointe home could be accommodated here,” Mary says. “We did have an estate sale, but so much of what I wanted to keep did fit.”

In November, Mary and Don’s family, including their four grandchildren, all gathered in Michigan to celebrate Don’s birthday. They went out to dinner one night and then hosted their family for brunch at one of Fox Run’s on-site restaurants.

“It’s so nice to be able to offer your guests this fine cuisine without having to expend so much effort yourself,” Mary says. “It allows you to be more relaxed and join the party.”