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. Faith. Hope. Love. 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 www.masonfuneralhomes.com.
Published in the Peoria Journal Star on 1/24/2007.