John T. “Jack” Johns, Jr., M.D., age 80, passed away, suddenly, at his Chicago home on July 9, 2021.
Jack devoted his career to fight substance abuse in Chicago, caring for thousands of people of all ages over the course of his 55 years of practice. He worked his entire life, from his first paper route for the Lincoln-Belmont Booster, with many jobs during his schooling, and attending to patients up to the day he passed away. A true Chicagoan and Loyola alum, Jack attended the Academy, the University and then the Stritch School of Medicine. After his first trip to Mexico while in college, he studied and became fluent in Spanish, choosing to do his internship at San Juan City Hospital in Puerto Rico. It was in San Juan at the end of his internship where he was sworn into the U.S. Army as a Captain. He served in the 199th Light Infantry Brigade in Viet Nam. His hundreds of letters home focused as much as was possible on the Vietnamese people and the wonderful culture he found there. Jack was awarded a Bronze Star for his medical service in Saigon during the infamous Tet Offensive in 1968. The growing problem of many young men returning home from Viet Nam with heroin addiction led him to specialize in Addiction Medicine. He was the medical director at various clinics in his many years of practice, and in 2005 opened his own clinic, NEXA, which eventually became part of H.A.S., a behavioral health resource for Chicago’s Latino community. An honor that Jack received in 2011 stated it well: “In recognition of your outstanding commitment to patients and significant contributions to enhancing the quality of medication-assisted addiction treatment in Illinois.” A lesser-known fact about Jack was that his community spirit extended to beach clean-ups!
He loved Lake Michigan and would periodically pick a beach and clear it of trash people thoughtlessly discarded on the lakefront. He also performed this task at beaches in and near Dominical, on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, gathering debris from cruise ships that ended up on the shore, for the twenty years he routinely visited on vacation.
Jack loved nature and the outdoors; the cabin in Michigan he owned for many years; Chicago architecture; orchestrating home improvement projects; and monitoring the weather. He was artistic, loved to sing and had a great whistle. At times irascible but always good-hearted, his death is being met with grief from his family and friends, here, in Michigan, and in Costa Rica. We will miss his big smile, quick wit and generosity.
Jack is survived by sister Trisha (Michael) Clare; three nephews, Alexander, Roderick (Eunkyung), and Patrick Clare; one grand-niece, Erin Clare; Aunt Martha Dimas; and good friend, Adolph Bailey. He was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. John and Mary Johns.
Visitation, Friday, July16, 2021, from 3 to 8 p.m., at HABEN Funeral Home & Crematory, 8057 Niles Center Rd., Skokie.
Funeral, Saturday, July 17, 2021, 11:30 a.m., from the funeral home, for Interment Service with Military Honors at Memorial Park Cemetery, Skokie.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Indian College Fund (https://collegefund.org), Doctors Without Borders (https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org), or the humanitarian charity of your choice.
Funeral info: 847.673.6111.