John Michon, Obituary

OBITUARIES

It is with sadness that the family of John Joseph Michon, MD announces his death on January 14, 2024, at the age of 64.

John lived a life full of joy, adventure, and purpose, and his family and friends are fortunate to have been graced with his laughter and light.

John was born in Berwyn, IL on October 16, 1959, to Joseph and Stephanie Michon. He was the youngest of 4 children, and enjoyed growing up in Chicago with his extended family. His family moved to the Chicago suburb of Palatine, IL when John was around age 8. John was smart and gifted but enjoyed typical boyish summer adventures around town with his friends – riding bikes around Palatine, flattening pennies on the Metro line, etc.

He adored music and learned to play guitar and piano by ear. He was an excellent musician and could play classical, pop, and rock music. He was in a band in medical school, and he played guitar or piano almost every day of his life even while being a busy physician and father. Music was an enormous part of John’s life: he had an extensive collection of sheet music and songbooks, and he relished taking requests and learning songs so he could play them for his family.

John was also witty and very well-travelled. He read voraciously, especially about philosophy, history, and religion. He skated and skied, and he loved hiking. He astounded his wife with his knowledge of mathematics, physics, astronomy, etc. John was a polymath – a true renaissance person.

He took joy in learning, and he was an interesting and entertaining conversationalist. He also was extremely funny, and had great jokes.

John attended the University of Illinois and received a Bachelor of Science in biophysics. He received a Master of Science in molecular biology at the University of California – San Diego, and then completed medical school at the University of Illinois. After completing an internship at Columbus Hospital in Chicago, he went on to do an ophthalmology residency at Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins Hospital. John then completed a fellowship in oculoplastic, reconstructive, and orbital surgery at Doheny Eye Institute – University of Southern California (now affiliated with UCLA).

During this time of training, John did cataract surgery in Kerala, India, travelled to war-torn Armenia, and even found himself on the pages of National Geographic when he was photographed performing eye surgery at Wilmer. He authored or co-authored many papers, won many awards, and was a member of the medical honor society Alpha Omega Alpha.

Never one to miss out on adventure, John moved to Hong Kong in 1994 after completing fellowship training. There, he was an assistant professor in the Dept. of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Chinese University of Hong Kong. John learned Cantonese and spent every moment of free time exploring Hong Kong and travelling throughout Asia. He made a trek to Mt. Everest base camp during this time. He never forgot his friends and colleagues from his time at Queen Mary Hospital in Hong Kong, and considered those 5 years in Hong Kong as one of the favorite periods of his life.

John returned to the US in 1999 to complete a Master of Science in bioinformatics at Stanford University. There, he was clinical assistant professor of ophthalmology at Stanford. He was Chief of Division of Oculoplastic Surgery in the Department of Ophthalmology at Duke University from 2001-2006, and during this time met his wife, Amrit Singh, MD. John and Amrit subsequently relocated to the northwest suburbs of Chicago, IL, and John opened a very successful solo practice, Midwest Eye Plastic Consultants.

He was on the attending staff of St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates, IL. John was a person of purpose – he took exceptional pride in his ability to be a doctor and surgeon, and he found so much joy in the connections he formed with his patients. Known for his excellent skills, he was passionate about his practice and delighted in improving his patient’s lives.

John was also a great dad. His children, Simran (“Simmy”) and Rajan, were the light of his life. Every weekend he would do activities with them, whether it was swimming, bicycling, or sledding. He took them to every playground, forest preserve, museum, zoo, festival, or cultural event he could. He celebrated summer in the Chicago suburbs by getting a pool pass for multiple suburban pools and spending the days taking the boys to all their favorite pools. At the end of the day, they would talk about which pool they liked the most and which high dive they tried.

John was a dedicated husband, a funny, playful father, and a gentle soul. He rode his bicycle for fun, he would push his kids’ strollers through the neighborhood while wearing some old in-line skates he found at a garage sale (the “roller stroller”), and he relaxed by playing his guitar – he would drag his lawn chair out on the driveway and just sit in the sun playing guitar. He collected T-shirts and had great fun wearing them. His standard recreational uniform was a floppy hat, a T-shirt from his collection, shorts, socks and sandals, and a fanny pack. His wife joked that in his hat and wire-rimmed glasses, he had a striking resemblance to Teddy Roosevelt.

In addition to all of his accomplishments, John was a child at heart. His favorite animal at the Lincoln Park Zoo was the pygmy hippopotamus, and he would take his bike down to the Chicago Lakefront, have a great day riding around, and then cap it off by dropping in at the zoo to photograph the hippo. John once performed oculoplastic surgery on a race horse at the nearby veterinary school (at the request of the horse’s owners), and he kept a framed picture of the horse on his office wall.

He was always taping new pictures of his sons and family on the refrigerator doors at home, and in between these pictures he would randomly post photos of boyhood favorites like Howdy Doody and wrestler Dick the Bruiser. He once made his mother-in-law laugh riotously when he sang a mildly inappropriate version of Popeye the Sailor Man that he remembered from his 3rd grade playground. John was a curious mixture of a serious physician and academic and a person who knew how enjoy the silly moments of life.

After moving back to NC from Chicago, John engaged in bioinformatics, continued to read voraciously, enjoyed his sons, and supported his wife in her career. John was a loving person who did the most he could with his abilities and who fully lived his life. His family misses him more than they can express.

John was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Stephanie Michon. He was also preceded in death by his mother-in-law, Harpal Singh, who he enjoyed greatly. He is survived by his wife, Amrit Singh, MD; and by his sons, Simran and Rajan Michon (Chapel Hill, NC). Also surviving are siblings, Janice, James, and Joel Michon; and nephews. Alex, Stephen, and Max. John was greatly loved by his in-laws, who survive him: father-in-law, Dr. Rabindar N. Singh; brother-in-law, Satwindar Singh; and sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Sukhwindar Singh and Donald Schwartz and their children, Eden, Leah, and Ethan.

There will be a Sikh funeral service scheduled for February 6, 2024, followed by private cremation. The Sikh funeral service is open to the public. Condolences can be expressed at the Brown-Wynne website: https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/raleigh-nc/john-michon-11640240.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you donate to the Seva Foundation which helps underserved populations throughout the world gain the gift of sight. Seva is an organization to which John volunteered his surgical talents in India. It was near and dear to his heart. www.seva.org. (Seva is a 501(c)(3) charity and rated 4 stars on Charity Navigator.)


As a community service, The Local Reporter publishes obituaries of local residents free of charge. Send to editor@thelocalreporter.press.

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