‘Fair-Well Fest’ retirement party honors longtime Chicago Heights pediatrician – Chicago Tribune
For more than 35 years, Dr. Robert Jordan treated children in south suburban communities, offering routine check-ups, immunizations, and important medical consultations in an area where private practice pediatricians were rare.
“He dedicated his life to taking care of those who were indigent who would not get the love and care usually given to people with means,” said his wife, the Rev. Jeanette Jordan.
On Saturday, hundreds of members of the community and former patients gathered at a Chicago Heights park to thank Jordan for his service, with an all-day retirement party dubbed a “Fair-Well Fest.”
At the event, former patients took turns on stage giving emotional speeches about Jordan’s care. One mother said Jordan treated her like his own daughter, offering sound medical treatment even when she was on disability leave from work and unsure of how she would pay medical bills. Another little girl told the crowd, “He never let me die. He made sure I was always healthy,” before running off the stage and jumping into her doctor’s arms.
The festival, which also featured food, live entertainment, free blood pressure tests, diabetes screenings and other health offerings, was organized by Jordan’s children in partnership with several community sponsors. It came one week before Jordan’s South Suburban Pediatrics will be turned over to a new owner, a pediatrician who has agreed to continue serving the low-income community, said Allison Jordan, his eldest daughter.
“He cared about your well-being,” said Felicia Moore, of Crete, who brought her three children regularly to see Jordan beginning in 1989. “He would have questions that I would never be asked by other doctors.”
Born and raised in Laurel, Mississippi, the 75-year-old Jordan said he was inspired to become a doctor from an early age, after his younger sister died from complications of asthma that would not have taken hold if his family, who were poor, had access to better health care.
But it wasn’t until after Jordan was married with three children that he decided to go back and earn his medical degree at Rush Presbyterian Hospital.
After completing his residency, he opened up a private practice that began in Chicago’s Roseland community, then moved to Homewood and eventually Chicago Heights, where it has remained for the last 17 years.
Jordan and his wife also opened the Far South Side Community Health Center in 1992, which offers health education, food for the hungry, mentoring and other services.
“He never made himself unreachable,” said Craig Hodges, the former Chicago Bulls player who grew up in Chicago Heights and was on hand for the celebration.
Hodges, his former son-in-law, said having a positive role model like Jordan had a great impact on young people who grew up under his care.
“These young people realize what they’re capable of,” he said.
After retirement, Jordan and his wife plan to travel and her continue to do pastoral work with her church, Journey to the Cross Ministries. He also plans to continue educating patients at Far South Side Community Health Center.
“I loved every one of them, they knew my first name, they came to my house,” he said. “I’m not burning my stethoscope. I’m not burning my lab jacket.”