Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Maxime's Obituary

Maxime's obituary was in the Peoria Journal Star on January 24, 2007. We are grateful to report that today, the U.S. consulate in Port-au-Prince granted Maxime's brother Jean Marcel a visa to travel to the United States for the funeral. Jean Marcel leaves tomorrow for his journey to say good bye to his brother.

EAST PEORIA - Maxime Petion, 21, of St. Georges, Haiti, who was hosted by an East Peoria family, died on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2007, in Cleveland, Ohio.

He had traveled from Haiti to Cleveland Clinic for medical treatment through arrangements made by Haitian Hearts, Dr. John Carroll, Senator Mike DeWine and Cleveland Clinic. Maxime was born on May 6, 1985, to Anne Marie D'Haiti. She survives, along with three brothers, Jean-Marcel, Jean-Paul and Frandy, and one sister, Anilia, all of Haiti. He is also survived by his host family, John and Jeanette Johnson and their sons, Adam, Andy and Evan of East Peoria.
The Johnson's hosted Maxime in 2002, when he had heart surgery at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center. Becky Noss, Maxime's teacher and friend, also survives. Also surviving is Maxime's Haitian pastor and special family friend, Reverend Todo Julien. Maxime was also survived by Mary Hurley, who hosted him while he was in Cleveland.

Though Maxime lived a very poor life in Haiti, he exuded joy and gratitude through his beautiful smile. He was a very devout Christian and read his Bible so much that he wore out its binding. Maxime touched the lives of many people in central Illinois and also during his brief time in Cleveland. One of his caretakers at Cleveland Clinic wrote the following poem in tribute to Maxime.

Thank you, Maxime, for lessons taught-

how to pause and enjoy the minutes,

to be grateful, to breathe, and to sleep,

and to laugh with beloved family and friends.

As Jesus did, and Jackson and so many others,

you have again taught us by example,

a quiet persistent message,

despite being wracked by pain and exhaustion,

despite smashing into nightmares

of inequity, injustice, man's arrogance and fear.




My faith and hope have been, once again,

healed by your life example, your love of life.

Now is the moment, not tomorrow or next year.

Thank you for the reminder Maxime.

I will try, again, to make NOW count.

Services will be held on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2007, at 10 a.m. at Mason Funeral Home, Germantown Hills Chapel, with visitation an hour before. Burial will follow at Sand Ridge Cemetery. Rev. Dr. Donald Whitman will officiate.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Maxime's Haitian family members in care of John Johnson.

Online condolences at
Maxime and his big brother Jean Marcel, are pictured in front of the national palace a few days before Maxime left for the United States.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maria--thanks for posting this. Please extend our sympathy to Maxime's family in Haiti and here in Illinois. My niece suggested I read a book called "Stolen Voices" by Zlata Filipovic that is about children growing up in places ravaged by war or poverty. It tells the stories of children much like Maxime who have their lives and/or childhood taken from them. How they lose their innocence and are forced to face life's difficulties and tragedies at such an early age--never to regain it.

I really do believe God will be asking us why we allowed this to happen to His people and will remind us "what you did to the least of them, you did to Me."