Chicago mourns loss of Jim Myles, former Union leader, advocate for inner-city medicine and nursing students
James W. Myles, President, Provident Foundation and the First African American to Chair the Board of Trustees, Northern Illinois University, Dies at 75*
James W. Myles, affectionately known as “Jim,” president of Provident Foundation died on Saturday, October 13, 2012, at North Shore Hospital after a short term illness. Jim was a member of the Board of Directors of the Provident Hospital at the time it was closed and later acquired by the Cook County Board of Commissioners. Provident Hospital was the first privately owned African American hospital in the nation and the catalyst to the development of the African American Black Metropolis Community, later called Bronzeville. The Provident Foundation evolved out of this painful closure of what Jim termed “One of the most Enduring Historical African American Institutions in Chicago’s history,” especially the history of African Americans.”
It was decided that the Provident Foundation would be the organization that would perpetuate the history of what Dr. Daniel Hale Williams and Emma Reynolds did in 1891 when they organized to found the first Provident Hospital and Training School. Jim Myles became the first president and the heart of the Provident Foundation for nearly two decades. Prior to becoming President of the Provident Foundation, Jim served as Secretary Treasurer for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73, serving the union for over 25 years. Jim also served as Chair of the Board of Trustees, Northern Illinois University in 1996, and Chair of Academic Affairs Committee, 1996-1997, the first African American to hold this position. He received the Outstanding Trustee Award, Illinois Committee on Black Concerns in Higher Education in 1994, and the Outstanding Representation Award, Union Stewards of Mt. Sinai Hospital, 1990.
In 1995, the Provident Foundation was established; Edward G. Gardner was the Chairman and James W. Myles became the passionate leader of the organization. Under Jim’s leadership, Provident Foundation gave scholarships, $10,000, nearly annually to medical school and nurse training students. The Provident Foundation Future Doctors – Future Nurses Program, partially funded by Chicago Public Schools, was established in seven CPS schools during the period of 2005-2010 to motivate and inspire inner city youth to believe that healthcare professions could be a part of their futures if they committed to the academic rigors required.
Jim Myles, himself, was born at Provident Hospital in 1937. The Foundation started the Provident Baby Club in 2004 to keep alive the great contributions Provident Hospital made to the African American community. Jim was happy to realize that the First Lady, Michelle Obama was, too a Provident Baby, and Jim sent a letter to the First Lady recently honoring her as the Most Famous Provident Baby.
Jim Myles desired for all to understand and recognize the significance of the founding of the Provident Hospital in 1891 at a time when African Americans in Chicago could not receive healthcare services from any hospital in the city because of racial discrimination and legal segregation. The African American community supported Dr. Daniel Hale Williams efforts giving what they could to establish this first privately owned African American hospital in the nation. Jim believed that this level of commitment to self sufficiency could again come from the African American community if they realized the accomplishments of Dr. Dan and others at the turn of the 20th century.
Provident Foundation was second only to Jim’s family that he adored and loved. He is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Hennie Myles, four children, Keith Myles, Karen Myles, Kim Mathis, and Kriss Myles, mother, Maxine Branham, sisters, Sharon Gamble and Veela Gonzalez, twelve grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements for James W. Myles:
Monday, October 22, 2012
Christ Bible Church
7877 South Coles Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60649
Wake - 11:00AM - 12:00PM
Services - 12:00PM - 1:00PM
In Lieu of flowers the family is requesting donations be made to the Provident Foundation.
Checks should be made out to Provident Foundation
Mailed to: Provident Foundation
1525 E. 53rd Street, Suite 433
Chicago, Il. 60615
For more information you may contact Margo Crawford at (312) 659-1759 or 312-850-1422.