Dr. Iligino Fernandez Salon, M.D. passed away peacefully at the Bowers House Hospice early Saturday morning, January 18th, 2020. He was a loving husband, father, dedicated physician, and devout Catholic who served others his entire life. He lived to be 88 years old. He was born January 2nd, 1932 in Santa Barbara in the Philippines as the son of both the late Demetria Fernandez and Aurelio Salon. He was the eldest of eight siblings, predeceased by Natalia Casunuran, Aurora Layon, Ernesto Salon and Valentina Salon, survived by Aurelio Salon, Lilia del Campo, Perla Gantz, Florian Salon and adopted sister, Marivic Banta. He graduated from the University of Santo Tomas, College of Medicine in 1955. The same year, he was awarded the license to practice medicine by the Philippine Civil Service. An impressive part of his practice was when he returned to his hometown of Santa Barbara, Pangasinan, barrio Matic-Matic right after he acquired his doctor’s license. There he offered his services free to people who could not afford payment for medical services. He expertly used medical acumen and became a household name – not only for his medical expertise but his willingness to serve his community “gratis” with unconditional kindness and compassion to those sick and suffering. His medical practice continued until he was approved for a working visa by the US government. He left his hometown and country to seek new opportunities while leaving a long-lasting impression and legacy in the Philippines as a good, kind and humble man, always serving his community.
Following his move to the United States, he practiced as a medical resident at Milwaukee Hospital in Wisconsin where he met his future wife Pacita, who was also a nurse as part of an exchange program from the Philippines at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, MN. They were married in a year and moved to Toledo, OH where he became part of the hospital staff at St. Charles Hospital. From there they moved to Detroit, MI where he was a resident at Deaconess Hospital and had their first son (Ely Jose). They then moved to Windsor, Ontario Canada where their daughter (Sheryl) was born and then onto Montreal, Quebec, where his second son (Ely Jean) was born. After that he was accepted as a medical officer in Newfoundland, Canada where he practiced the same willingness to serve his community until he received an offer to practice medicine again in the United States.
This move brought him to his forever home in Beckley, WV in 1971 where became a US citizen. He was a faithful parishioner at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church where he was a member of the Knights of Columbus and the choir. He was also a medical officer for the U.S. Army Reserves. In Beckley, they had their second daughter and fourth child (Michelle) where he tirelessly and compassionately served the Beckley population as a physician for nearly 50 years.
He worked at Raleigh General Hospital, Beckley Appalachian Regional Hospital, Beckley Hospital and had a group clinic practice called the Doctors Clinic of Beckley started by Dr. John Daniel, along with fellow physicians Dr. Jereza, Dr. Santos, Dr. Maramba, Dr. Oyco, Dr. Ben Rojas, Dr. Munoz, Dr. Ida Villaneuva, and Dr. E. J. Salon. He was then employed by Access Health until retirement. He held several leadership positions as President of the Raleigh County Medical Society, as well as President of the Philippine Medical Association of WV where he served in many medical missions to the Philippines.
Dr. Salon was loved by his patients and their families, known for telling jokes and spending much time answering any questions they may have had. He was well-known for being a compassionate doctor who was patient and kind to nursing and other employee staff.
Dr. Salon loved to travel, sing, ballroom dance, bowl, and play tennis. He also enjoyed playing Mahjong, as well as a competitive game of chess.
He will be greatly missed by his wife of 59 years, Pacita Cendaña Salon, their children and their spouses, Jay Salon (Miami, FL), Sheryl Deaconson (Tim), EJ Salon (Deena), Michelle Luiken (Valentijn), adopted son Gyl Cendaña (Cindy); twelve grandchildren Christian, Chandler, Nick, Alex and Connor Deaconson of Minneapolis, MN, Sofia, Maria and Elysia Salon of Daniels, WV, Espen, Bodhi and Zayden Luiken of Centreville, VA, and Nathan Cendaña of Morgantown, WV.
The family will be receiving family and friends Monday evening, January 20th from 6 to 9 pm at the Melton Mortuary Chapel. The Funeral liturgy will be celebrated on Tuesday, January 21st at 10:00 am at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church with a lunch and reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to be made to one of the following in Dr. I.F. Salon’s memory: St. Francis de Sales Church, Alzheimer’s Association, Bowers Hospice House, and Raleigh County Commission on Aging.
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