January 27, 1954 - April 28, 2020
Jean Robert Metellus was born in Gonaives Haiti on January 27, 1954. After graduating from high school, he moved to Port-Au-Prince for college then went on to the Institut Superieur Technique D’Haiti to pursue a civil engineering degree. During this time, he taught French and Spanish at College Modern to help pay for his tuition. It was then that he met Marie Durcie Gedin, who was a nursing student - whom after 3 years became his wife.
Their first child, Jean V. Metellus, was born in 1979 and two years later they had a daughter, Pascale C. Metellus. A few weeks after their daughter was born, in 1981, he made the difficult choice to leave his beloved family and country due to political distress. While in the United States, Jean Robert and Marie D. Metellus would go on to have two more kids - Robert B. Metellus born October 15, 1986 and Rodney P. Metellus born August 11, 1992.
In 1982, after spending time in New York and Florida, Jean Robert settled on the North side of Chicago with the help of his brother and sister-in-law, Serge Georges and Jacqueline Foster. Jean Robert became a respected leader within the Chicago Haitian community and through his actions, uplifted and brought support and hope to Haitians locally and abroad.
In the 90’s, Jean Robert started an organization called ‘Men Kontre’ (meaning ‘hands united’) . Through his ‘Men Kontre’ fundraising efforts, Jean Robert helped Illinois Haitian refugees find homes, jobs, and directed medical supplies, clothes and essential funds to Haiti. Also, with the help of Father Murdock of St. Ita Church, Jean Robert helped Haitian immigrants study for and acquire U.S. residencies and green cards.
A few years after starting ‘Men Kontre’, Jean Robert and others in the haitian community started the radio show ‘Radio Men Kontre’. Through this radio show, Jean Robert was able to extend his message of a united Haiti to listeners around the world.
After 38 years of working to support his family and many others, Jean Robert retired in December of 2019. In retirement, he continued to serve the Haitian community. Jean Robert’s legacy will continue as he is survived by his mother Innocia Metellus, wife Marie Durcie Metellus, son Jean Metellus, daughter Pascale Metellus, son Robert Metellus, son Rodney Metellus, Grandson Axel Turner, brothers Paul Max and Thony, sisters Suzette and Gladys.
He will be missed dearly and forever in our hearts.
INTERVIEW Me Lyonel Jean-Baptiste