Marilyn K. Glick
One of Indiana's most generous philanthropists, died at her home Friday. She was 90.
Determined and driven to accomplish whatever project was at hand, she led civic groups, founded charitable programs, and gave generously to the causes she championed. To her husband, real estate magnate Gene Glick, she was the perfect partner - in family life and business, on the golf course and the dance floor. The couple celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary January 7, 2012.
Together with her husband, Marilyn Glick funded the Glick Eye Institute at the Indiana University School of Medicine, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, the Indiana Authors Award, and a wide array of charitable projects benefiting the arts, education, public health, and aid organizations throughout Central Indiana.
Born March 8, 1922, she was the only child of Abraham Jacob Koffman of Detroit and Rose Budd Koffman of Indianapolis. Her early childhood was spent in a Detroit community filled with friendly neighbors, Good Humor ice-cream wagons, and hawking newsboys. The family worshiped at Congregation Shaarey Zedeck and spent summer days boating on Lake St. Clair.
Her father, who owned and managed rental properties, lost his savings in the 1929 stock market crash and died suddenly in 1933. Though still very young, Glick became the primary source of emotional and financial support for her mother. It was during this time that she learned to manage a household, cook, and stretch a dollar.
As a teen she moved with her mother to Indianapolis, where she graduated with honors from Shortridge High School in 1940. She completed advanced business courses and began a career at Indianapolis Life Insurance Company, where she rose from a clerk in the policy loan department to the head of the reinsurance department and secretary to the vice president.
Though life could be challenging during this time, she developed a determined and independent spirit, building close friendships, taking on leadership roles in civic and Jewish organizations, and facing the world with the belief that something better was always around the corner. An unexpected bridge game with a young WWII veteran in December 1945 proved to be that bright turning point in her life.
During their courtship, Gene and Marilyn took their respective nest eggs and began investing in real estate together. After their marriage in 1947, they founded what would become the Gene B. Glick Company, one of the largest privately held real estate development firms in the country. In the early days of the company, Gene ran the business while also holding down a day job at Peoples Bank in Indianapolis. Marilyn supervised their construction projects and was tenacious in securing scarce building materials.
Their new partnership coincided with the greatest housing boom in U.S. history, and by 1962, the company was the largest builder of single family homes in Indiana. During that same year, the company began developing apartment communities, which would become its sole focus in later years.
As the business grew and Glick became the mother of four girls, she transitioned to full-time parenting and community service. She made substantial personal leadership contributions to the Indiana State Symphony Society and its Young Audiences program, she was president of the Borinstein Home Guild (now Hooverwood Guild) from 1966-1968, and she founded People of Vision in 1981 to support Prevent Blindness Indiana.
This dedication to eye health culminated in the Glicks' largest philanthropic grant to date, a $30 million gift to the Indiana University School of Medicine for the construction of its new Glick Eye Institute in Indianapolis. Marilyn Glick hoped that the Eye Institute would become a national center of research and development of new treatments to restore and preserve vision.
The bulk of the fortune the Glicks earned through their business has been used to fund civic projects and charitable organizations throughout Central Indiana. In 1982, the couple established the Eugene & Marilyn Glick Family Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the state. The pair also established The Glick Fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF), and The Glick Fund of the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis. "Most of us see the Glick name attached to buildings around town, but what fewer people see is the way Gene and Marilyn's vision is carried on by the next generation," said Brian Payne, president of CICF. "In my experience, it's rare to find a family with such a unified and generous approach to making our community a better place. What Marilyn has taught her children and grandchildren may be her most important legacy to Indianapolis."
Jewish causes were a particular passion for Marilyn. She served on the boards of her Temple Sisterhood, the National Council of Jewish Women, and Hadassah - The Women's Zionist Organization. She and Gene funded several projects and fellowships through the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem and have been major benefactors of the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis and its programs and services.
Glick began collecting glass art in the 1980s and was one of the nation's most noted studio glass collectors. She cultivated what she referred to as her "addiction" by meeting artists, traveling to their studios, and immersing herself in studying the medium. Her private collection includes works by Dominick Labino, Harvey Littleton, Howard Ben Tré, Bertil Vallien, and Dale Chihuly. This love of art glass inspired the Glicks' recent gift to Ball State University to construct its new Glick Center for Glass, a hot-glass studio and instruction center.
Her contributions to the arts community were recognized by Governor Evan Bayh, who appointed her to the Indiana Arts Commission in 1990, where she served for eight years. She received the Sagamore of the Wabash honor from Governor Frank O'Bannon in 1997, and she and her husband also received the Indiana Governor's Arts Award in 2003. In 2011, she received honorary doctorates from both Ball State University and Indiana University.
As a young woman, Glick learned that she had been adopted, and in subsequent decades attempted to trace her roots, with little success. It wasn't until the early '90s that she discovered she had an older sister, Frances Ornstein Ellison. Though her sister had died in 1972, Glick was able to establish a relationship with her sister's children.
Known as Bunny to her close friends, Marilyn Glick was a member of Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation. She is survived by her husband, Eugene B. Glick, and their four daughters: Marianne Glick (Mike Woods), Arlene Grande (Thomas), Alice Meshbane (Andrew), and Lynda Schwartz (Mark). She is also survived by her many grandchildren and three great grandchildren, as well as her niece and nephew.
A memorial service will take place Monday, March 26th at 10:00 am at Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, 6501 N. Meridian Street. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Glick Eye Institute at Indiana University School of Medicine. Arrangements entrusted to the Aaron Ruben Nel son Mortuary .