Dr. Yvon Jeune Nazon was a Renaissance Man
Yvon Jeune Nazon, M.D., a board certified gynecologist, obstetrician and fertility specialist, and a member of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, has died. Dr. Nazon was 92 years old.
A medical practitioner in both Chicago and Gary, Indiana, Dr. Nazon moved to Chicago in 1959 from Port Au Prince, Haiti where he had been a practicing physician. However, upon arriving in Chicago, he was unable to secure employment as a physician and took a position as a resident at Provident Hospital, one of the few hospitals that serviced patients of color. This was the height of racial inequity and the only hospital where doctors of color could practice at that time.
Dr. Nazon was later credentialed to practice medicine at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago and Methodist Hospital in Merrillville, Indiana. He retired from active practice in 2016. Dr. Nazon is a member of the Advocate Trinity Hospital Hall of Fame. During his tenure at Advocate, he invented Nazon’s Solution which helped women to recover more quickly from surgery.
Always an enterprising and compassionate person, Dr. Nazon recognized the need for a quality nursing home for people of color when his mother, Sylvia, became ill and needed 24-hour care. He founded the Cojeunaze Nursing Center, which was the first nursing home owned by a person of color in Chicago, located at 3311 S. Michigan Avenue. Opened in 1980, the Cojeunaze Nursing Center was a 200-bed facility in Bronzeville that consistently received five star ratings, the highest honor for a nursing home. He sold the nursing home in 1995.
In 1987, Dr. Nazon opened the Cotton Club which became one of the most popular nightclubs in the city. The Cotton Club is credited with launching the careers of late comedian Bernie Mack and late jazz saxophonist Art Porter, Jr. and other talented performers. Patrons of the Cotton Club enjoyed jazz, R&B and early hip-hop music, as well as comedy acts. However, as the South Loop began to spread and develop into a new neighborhood, Dr. Nazon closed the club located at 1710 S. Michigan Avenue in early 2008.
The author of Dare to Dream Big, Dr. Nazon told his personal story in a beautiful narrative. Published in 2010, he always sought ways to help other people. His book provides inspiration and advice on a variety of subjects.
As a child in Haiti, Dr. Nazon grew up poor. He and his five siblings often went to school hungry. His parents, Lenoce and Sylvia Nazon, were hard workers; however, life was difficult. A smart and industrious student, Dr. Nazon helped the family by earning money as a tutor to his classmates. With no electricity in the home, he studied at night under the street lights. After earning his BS degree in math from Lycee Petion, Dr. Nazon planned to become an engineer. When asked by a few friends to help them study for the medical school entrance exam, they later convinced him to take the exam with them. Of the 500 candidates, only 35 were accepted to the University of Haiti. Dr. Nazon passed the exam and was ranked number eight. He graduated in 1955.
Dr. Nazon died recently at Northwestern University Hospital of respiratory failure. He is survived by his loving Life Partner Jennifer Barnes and eight children: Dr. Maryse Nazon, Yvon Nazon, Jr., Dr. Ronald Nazon, Jeune Nazon, Cosette Nazon-Wilburn, Germaine Henderson, Pasquelle Reeves and Raquel Barnes. In addition, Dr. Nazon leaves one sister, Erma Nazon DuBois, 10 grandchildren and many family members, friends and colleagues.
A Celebration of Life Memorial will be held in Dr. Nazon’s honor on Saturday, April 6, 2019 at Gallery Guichard, 436 E. 47th Street, Chicago, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.