Lily Yuzon’s life has taken a number of turns since she emigrated from the Philippines and eventually found her way to Amherst. She adapted to her new home by joining. She’s been a board member or actively involved with the Lorain County Community College Foundation. Leadership Lorain, the Community Foundation of Lorain Country, Buckeye Community Bank and Catholic Health Partners, among other organizations. She welcomes Filipino immigrants to the area and, perhaps most visibly, spearheaded the drive to restore Lorain Palace Civic Center.
“I met my husband, Florencio, in 1965. He was also from the Philippines, but we met in Hoboken, N.J.. He was an intern at St. Mary’s Hospital and I was doing my internship in medical technology.” Back home, Yuzon adds, “I had a bachelor’s of science in pharmacy and a master’s in pharmaceutical chemistry. I came to America because my primary goal was to get my doctorate in pharmaceutical chemistry.”
The young couple got married and had four children, which switched Yuzon’s educational priorities. The family moved to Ohio, where she got her MBA at Case Western Reserve University so she could help Florencio manage his practice in internal medicine and gastroenterology in Amherst.
“We speak English in the Philippines,” says Yuzon. “We weren’t quite so Americanized when I came here, but it seems today like the Philippines has embraced American culture.” Yuzon says she was shocked at public displays of affection seen here at first. “We weren’t used to seeing hugging and kissing,” she laughs. “We were brought up more conservatively.”
Yuzon was asked to help raise funds to restore the Lorain Palace Civic Center. “The preliminary study revealed that it was only possible to raise $850,000,” Yuzon recalls. What the experts didn’t take into consideration was Yuzon, the tireless chairman of the board of the Palace Civic Center, who was charged with raising funds for the much-needed renovation. “We raised $2.2 million,” she says, then quickly and characteristically drops the names of businesses, board members and other civic leaders who helped in the effort. Her newest cause is Lorain County Community College. “I’m on the board,” she says. Then adds with a chuckle, “I’m always on the board.”