Dr. Neil Lee Spector
June 30, 1956 - June 14, 2020
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CHAPEL HILL- Dr. Neil Lee Spector, 63, passed away Sunday, June 14, 2020 at Duke University Hospital. Dr. Spector was born June 30, 1956 to the late Sydney (Syd) and Bettie Spector in Philadelphia, PA. Syd was an internationally renowned research pharmacologist who eventually became one of Neil’s greatest collaborators. Dr. Spector is preceded in…

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Janice Foster left a message on August 29, 2020:
To a true warrior, and champion of the vulnerable. Your work and your spirit will never be forgotten
Julie Ann Brown left a message on August 24, 2020:
Dear Mrs. Spector and Family, I have never met Dr. Spector, but I came to "know" him through his YouTube interview with a local TV station and anchorwoman. He seemed to be an extraordinary man with so much to offer the world - especially those, like possibly myself, diagnosed with lyme disease. I truly hope someone is taking the reins from where he left off. I have been having similar symptoms (fluctuating BP and Heart Rates) since April. I was bit by a tick here in Florida in 2008 and have been having many strange symptoms, besides. No one knows what's going on and no one, so far, has offered to do much more than the typical lyme test, which the past 2 I have had turned out negative (of course!). I was very hopeful after I heard what Dr. Spector had to say, regarding lyme, and I just cried and cried when I learned he passed away. I feel so bad for you - his family - and I felt so discouraged by his death, but I am trying not to lose the hope he was trying to find for so many suffering with late/post/chronic lyme disease. Thank you for allowing Dr. Spector the much time he most likely spent away from you (due to research, being a lyme Advocate, etc.) to help the many "someones" like me. I have prayed for you and hope God continues to sustain you all in this most difficult time of your lives. Hugs, Julie Ann Brown Casselberry, FL (407) 927-2429
Cheryl left a message on August 23, 2020:
May your family have all of the love they need at this time, and may you walk in the beautiful flower garden of paradise. Your story helped me to see that I was struggling with something real, and I have shared your words and story with so many. I know you are in a better place, and you will remain in the hearts and memories of so many of us, most of all your family, friends, patients, and the Lyme community, which needs more people like you. Rest in peace, Neil.
Wim Tunzi left a message on August 11, 2020:
My thoughts go out to the wife and daughter of Dr. Neil Spector as well as other family members, friends, acquaintances and colleagues. I guess even after almost 2 months, I still don't want to accept that this great human being has left us. Unfortunately I never had the privilege and honor to meet Dr. Spector in person but seeing some of his work especially on the Lyme disease research online it becomes clear wat a tremendous gap he is leaving in the search for the cure of chronic Lyme disease . Being a 56 year old male Chronic Lyme patient for more than 20 years it brings tears to my eyes to realize that this brilliant brain, sympathetic, gifted man lost the battle against this horrible disease and it's complications. My he always be remembered for his work on cancer research as well as his research on Lyme disease and for his effort in helping the lyme suffering patients all around the world. God Bless you Dr. Neil Spector my you find eternally peace, warm regards, Wim Tunzi. Switzerland.
Dana left a message on August 2, 2020:
Sincere condolences to the family; I am so sorry and so sad for the loss of Neil.
Planning ahead is prudent. Call us now.
Pamela ammons left a message on July 19, 2020:
I'm sorry for your loss
Ann Krumbine left a message on July 18, 2020:
In memory of Dr. Neil Lee Spector, Ann Krumbine lit a candle
Joel Abramson left a message on July 16, 2020:
In memory of Dr. Neil Lee Spector, Joel Abramson lit a candle
Tom Webb left a message on July 15, 2020:
Dr. Spector inspired me and thousands of others who were told by the dominant medical community that we did not have Lyme disease, that it was all in our heads. Here was a brilliant researcher and medical doctor who could not reasonably be dismissed who had the courage to speak out. He made it easier to believe what we knew in our hearts was true, that we had Lyme disease. He gave people courage to seek treatment even when the infectious disease establishment desperately tried to deny it. My heart goes out to those close to him, those who loved him, in their time of loss. His courage and contribution to making our world a better place will live on. Thank you for sharing his life with us.
Maureen Andariese left a message on July 13, 2020:
Dear Denise, Celeste and the extended family and friends of Dr Spector, , I read the obituary in a link given by The People‘s Pharmacy about a week ago. I was so moved after watching his Ted Talk and lectures that I ordered his absolutely beautiful book. I could not put it down, was so deeply moved by the poetic compositions and all the love that poured from every page. If ever there was evidence of the saying that “ We are not humans having a spiritual experience, we are spirits having a human experience” it was Dr Neil Spector. He truly was an angel, in touch with all hearts on a very deep level. God rest his weary soul and bless you, Denise and Celeste, for your enduring and steadfast love. Your reward will be his abiding presence always in your hearts , your souls, your surroundings. His eloquent expressions of love for you are truly some of the most beautiful words I’ve ever read. By the end of the book, I felt as if I knew him so personally. I can’t imagine the pain of your loss. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers always. He was such an exceptional person. All blessings for you always.
Katy Moore left a message on July 12, 2020:
Neil was an amazing human being, exceptional scientist, and a compassionate leader. He always made time to have a conversation and listen — he was such a great listener and full of empathy. Neil made the World a better place — every single day. My deepest condolences to his family, close friends and colleagues.
Yosi Spater left a message on July 11, 2020:
Baruch Dayan HaEmet !!! 😢
Ken Losi left a message on July 9, 2020:
I do not have the words to express the depth of my sorrow upon hearing the news about Neil.  Over my 35 years in education I had somewhere in the vicinity of 6000 students.  I don’t have a brother but I have told a number of people I worked with and who were acquainted with Neil that, “He could have been my brother.” He embodied many of the traits that define a model human being:  Trustworthy, brave, helpful, courteous, kind, loyal, friendly, compassionate, inquisitive, accomplished and more.  I once said to Syd that, “of all the students I have had he was #1.”  I always thought he reflected a mix of his father’s clinical side with a strong overlay of his mother’s compassionate side.  I tried a number of times to have Neil honored at Livingston Education Foundation’s Alumni Hall of Fame Day but, between their waiting list and the fact that they haven’t held one these past few years, the opportunity never arose - they have never had a more deserving candidate. He will always remain a dear friend in my thoughts and prayers.
Corinne Clements left a message on July 9, 2020:
Dear, sweet Neil. There will never be another like you. Thank you for helping me in the short time I knew you. For your wisdom, guidance and most of all your love and encouragement.
Chip Petricoin left a message on July 9, 2020:
I am beyond sad to hear about Neil's passing. I have known Neil for nearly 20 years since he was at GSK and I was at the FDA. We became great friends and I came to know of his brilliant mind and compassion, biting wit. As a professional colleague - I can say he was indeed truly one of the smartest people I have ever met- a physician researcher who touched and changed the lives of many patients battling cancer who developed and commercialized one of the most important targeted therapies ever developed in oncology. More important than all of these- he was one of the kindest, soft spoken and courageous people I've even known, The word courage itself- comes from being heartfelt: “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” That is what I will take with me for the rest of my life when I think of Neil. Godspeed, my friend.
kiara eily left a message on July 3, 2020:
To Dr. Spector's family condolences from our Carolina Center for Restorative Medicine family. I am sure the great loss we feel for the medical community does not come close to the loss of a loving caring father and husband. He is gone too soon but more so he is a life well lived',
Linwood D. Moye left a message on July 3, 2020:
What a kind, down to earth person; always willing to help and support those of us affected by Lyme Disease. He will truly be missed in so many ways. My heart felt condolocences
Yusuf JP Saleeby left a message on July 2, 2020:
Deepest sorrow for the loss of this great man.
Yehudis Meshchaninov left a message on June 30, 2020:
I stumbled upon “Gone in a Heartbeat” and read it in one sitting today. Immediately upon finishing it I googled the author, only to discover that he had recently passed away. What an exceptional human being; what an extraordinary role model of faith, humanity, goodness and humility. I will share his story with others. May his memory be a blessing for all his loved ones.
Ginny Schmith left a message on June 27, 2020:
Denise and Celeste Neil was such an amazing person and I loved the obituary you wrote as it described him so well. Although I never worked scientifically with him, I was always amazed by him. He taught me so much about life and how to live with chrinic illness. He is the one who introduced me to Reike, hypnosis, and meditation, which were amazing experiences and improved my quality of life. He taught me about strength as well, just by watching him live through so many obstacles. He will never be forgotten. Send me an email and I will tell you a more personal story. I will be praying for you.. Ginny
Planning ahead is prudent. Call us now.
Karen Johnson left a message on June 26, 2020:
Neil was so warm, compassionate, and kind —-just a remarkable human. He touched so many lives including mine. We have lost a tremendous soul and spirit. Rest in peace, Neil.
Luke Holland left a message on June 26, 2020:
Such an exceptional person and an exceptional life. Thoughts Prayers Always
Kathy Gravino Finnegan left a message on June 26, 2020:
Denise & Celeste, I just learned about Neil’s passing and I’m so sorry for your loss. Please know that I am praying for peace in your head and happy memories in your heart. Love you! Your cuz, Kathy
Carolyn Hamilton left a message on June 25, 2020:
Thank you Neil for all you've done in your life. You will never ever be forgotten. I'm so glad to have known you. I know we talked about this, so I know you are safe and out of pain. You gave us all so much ~ you live on in our lives.
Harold Bullard left a message on June 25, 2020:
I am Heart Broken To Hear The Passing Of My Friend. He and I Had Many Many Conversations About Lyme Disease These Past 4.5 Years Due Too The Fact We Both Have Exact Diagnosis and Symptoms.. He was Always A Pleasure To Talk To and Always Asked Me if I Had Learned Anything New Since Our Last Conversation.. He Never Rushed our Talks Over The Phone and MADE Me Feel Important.. The Crazy Thing Is.. We Never Got To Meet..I was Never Even a Patient or related To anyone that Was... I read His Story One day 5 years ago online... Called Duke Left a Message for him and A week Later he Called me back and we spoke for an hour almost... Thats who he was!!!! HE could have easily said...idk you...your not a Patient..im sorry.... but he didnt.... He called back.. and we Bonded that day..and continued to talk for next 4.5 years... My last conversation with him was about 8 months ago when I had just came back from a Lyme Clinic in Florida.. he was so excited for me and Wanted to Talk To the Dr.. Down there about Their Treatments... 😢😢 What a Great And Special Man he was... I can only Imagine the Blessing it could have been to have him as a Dr...Father or a Husband ...Thank God!! I WAS ABLE TO HAVE HIM AS A FRIEND...🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏❤❤❤❤😢😢
Marilyn Gamble left a message on June 24, 2020:
I was so honored to have worked with Neil and could call him my friend. The world has lost a beautiful soul. My prayers go out to Denise and Celeste I am so sorry for your loss. He will truly be missed.
ALEXANDRA MACLACHLAN left a message on June 24, 2020:
Thank you for everything you did for us Lyme patients. You're such an inspiration and will be deeply missed. My thoughts to your wife and daughter.
Katherine left a message on June 24, 2020:
In memory of Dr. Neil Lee Spector, Katherine lit a candle
Jack Geltosky left a message on June 23, 2020:
I had the supreme pleasure and honor to work with Neil on the CPRIT (Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas) program. As a dedicated grant reviewer, Neil took his responsibility to the highest level. He passionately believed in the value of the CPRIT initiative to tackle cancer. The rigor of his reviews was second to none, and he delivered his opinions with keen insight and good humor. I just wish I got to know Neil better because these obituaries highlight what a terrific and unique individual he was. He will be missed.
Kathie Swift left a message on June 23, 2020:
I contacted Dr Spector via Facebook message when I was very ill with a heart condition due to Lyme disease. I never expected a reply from such a busy physician/scientist. Not only did he reply, he contacted me the morning of my surgery with kind words and prayers. He will be sorely missed by so many. May we keep his memory alive and may all his good works continue.
Cindy WalkerPeach left a message on June 23, 2020:
The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) extends our deepest condolences to Dr. Neil Spector’s family and friends. He will be greatly missed by all who were privileged to have known him. He touched many lives, including many associated with CPRIT
Peter Ho left a message on June 23, 2020:
I had the pleasure of being Neil's colleague at GSK and witnessed firsthand his scientific acumen and absolute commitment to patients through his work on lapatinib. Were it not for Neil's critical work and discoveries in the very early clinical trials, lapatinib would not be an option today for breast cancer patients. Besides being a valued translational scientist, Neil was great fun to work with and I enjoyed his sense of humor as much as I did his ability to analyze data. He will be greatly missed by those who had the chance to work with him and the many patients he touched both directly in his clinic and indirectly through his work in drug development. Condolences to Neil's family and friends.
Michelle left a message on June 22, 2020:
In memory of Dr. Neil Lee Spector, Michelle lit a candle
BETTY GORDON left a message on June 22, 2020:
“Denise, Celeste, & family members, Our heartfelt sympathies to each of you on the loss of your husband/dad. It was a total shock to us as we thought he was improving with the help of the experimental t cell therapy he started. I never met neil, but we talked on messenger when he would post. He was dedicated in replying to each person's comments. He was so positive, giving compliments galore; never heard him say a negative comment. May god bless you all. Betty Gordon, Ames, Iowa
Maria Edwards left a message on June 22, 2020:
Denise, you married a remarkable man. I'm so sorry to you and Celeste for your loss. Apparently he was well loved by many and touched many people that he healed. His smile lighten up the room,. You are in my prayers. You have a very special angel.
Jim Luther left a message on June 22, 2020:
Dr. Spector was a wonderful man who selflessly offered his assistance to us in providing guidance for our daughter's Lyme diseases. 3 years ago, not knowing his prominence in the field of Lyme disease, I emailed him and introduced myself as a Duke employee with a daughter sick with Lyme. He immediately responded and provided us many tips and ideas. We also met on campus where he further shared some ideas. A very, very special person who will be missed.
Michael Blum, M.D. left a message on June 21, 2020:
My sincere condolences to Neil’s family, friends, and patients. A terrible loss. May he RIP.
KRISTIN KASSIS left a message on June 21, 2020:
Denise, Celeste and family, I am sending love, grace and my gratitude. Thank you for sharing Neil with all of us. The love embodied in your family shone through to all of us. I am one of the many that sent a note to Neil in hope I would find a guiding light. I never really expected to get a response - but he emailed me back less than 24 hours later. That email response was the most amazing gift he could have given me and my family! Before I reached out, I had watched a video interview - and his spirit and kindness was so evident. I knew I needed to know this man. I never really expected that he would become a friend - but I am honored that he continued to grace my life. His kindness, care and ability to put the focus on whomever he was helping in that moment was such a gift. He was so willing to listen to ideas, collaborate and invite all of us in. His legacy is exponential! The inspiration he has planted in each and every person he helped - that he unconditionally supported - will flourish. Happy Father’s Day Neil – you epitomized the definition of a father to all of us! Whenever your name popped into my inbox, it immediately made me feel less alone on this crazy journey. The biggest thank you I can give you is a promise that we will all press on and make you proud. Denise and Celeste - My heartfelt love and prayers are with you.
Rafy and Sue Orenstein left a message on June 21, 2020:
We are fortunate to have had Neil, Denise and Celeste as our neighbors. Our youngest played with Celeste at many a birthday celebration. We spent time eating dinners in their warm, welcoming home. We loved shooting the breeze with Neil eating dinner on their porch. He was so friendly and down to earth, you would never know he was a powerhouse in the scientific world. He was that rare combination of super-accomplished and easygoing. May his memory be a blessing.
Carolyn Hamilton left a message on June 21, 2020:
I, like so many others are devastated. I remember one conversation we had 3or 4 years ago. He was sitting in his car and we had been chatting for 30 + minutes. He was worried about losing ķ=
Planning ahead is prudent. Call us now.
M.A. Pickard left a message on June 21, 2020:
Dr. Spector made a caring difference in so many lives. My heart goes out to his family and friends.
The McDonough Family left a message on June 21, 2020:
Thank you for your amazing strength, compassion, teaching, and being a source of hope to all Lyme patients. We will surely miss you, Dr. Spector. May God be with you, his family and close friends. Thank you for being just wonderful, loving people in this world that made all the difference to his life. This lead to his having saved many lives. He was a true hero and an inspiration to all of mankind. Stay strong and we will be praying that you are surrounded by the love of many to sustain you as well as many beautiful memories.
Tracey Allen left a message on June 21, 2020:
Dearest Neil, You answered the email from a total stranger worried about Lyme carditis when the VA's cardiologist said it doesn't matter. You took the time to look at the report and reassure me that it wasn't normal but wasn't very serious either (yet anyways). I'll never forget and always be thankful for the immense amount of time you spent on FB reassuring Lyme sufferers that they were heard and valued . Even when you were getting a heart transplant and again when you were critically ill you kept us informed (or Denise did) so we could pray for you and your family. You truly are a hero in every way possible. My heart is broken from the loss of you and your gifts to society but you are no longer suffering and are in a better place. I know that if you have any way of doing so you'll be looking out for us here below. My condolences and blessings to your family and friends. The world has lost a wonderful man.
Bobbie left a message on June 20, 2020:
I did not personally know Dr. Spector. As a person with chronic lyme disease, I read about him and his work. He was a brave, brilliant and compassionate man. His life was one of great purpose. All my sympathy to his family. Rest in peace Dr. Spector.
Thomas Lamparski left a message on June 20, 2020:
I share in grief with so many that are afflicted with Lyme disease at the loss of brilliant and caring Dr. Spector. He was one of the rare champions in the fight against Lyme, and his contributions to that fight will long survive him.
Tracee Drnec left a message on June 20, 2020:
In memory of Dr. Neil Lee Spector, Tracee Drnec lit a candle
Ellie Lobel left a message on June 20, 2020:
Dr Neil, Thank you for gracing so many lives with your beautiful caring spirit. Thank you for being a voice of many. May you Rest in peace and your family be looked after knowing how very much you were treasured. In life as in death we will never forget you. Deepest condolences.
Chris Myers left a message on June 20, 2020:
I didn't know Dr. Spector but I felt compelled to write a quick note. I told his story many times to help increase awareness of Lyme and how it can affect us all in different ways. My sincere condolences to his Family. Please try to take comfort knowing that his life has touched many people, especially those within the Lyme Community who continue to struggle to make their voices heard. Chris Myers
Christina Christensen left a message on June 20, 2020:
Such a kind and generous man. Always willing to help the Lyme community with his knowledge and personal story. His legacy will live on through his research and book he wrote. My deepest condolences to his family. 💚
Cathy Breshears left a message on June 20, 2020:
Neil shined a light into my life during a very dark time. He was a generous, thoughtful, brilliant soul. My blessings and condolences to Denise and Celeste. His love for you will always be with you.
John Odell left a message on June 20, 2020:
Neil meant so much to so many. He stood up to a terrible disease and never let it get the upper hand. His work will lead to eventual cures in several chronic illnesses. The same open heart surgeon who extended Neil's life gave me extra time to fight the Lyme battle. I will not let Neil's memory fade. "Heartfelt" condolences to Neil's family, friends, and all who have benefited from his exceptional life.
Alison Hope Jesse left a message on June 20, 2020:
All of us are heartbroken at the passing of Neil. He did so much good in his life and was one of the most genuine people to know. He made our days brighter when we talked to him; how lucky to be next door neighbors for 10 years. Even when in so much pain, he always was there to help friends and patients. An extraordinary man. I don't think you get much closer to being an angel. We will miss you terribly Neil. Your legacy will live on. Love Alison, Peter, Sam and Ellie Jesse and Rob Wheeler
Kath Cook left a message on June 20, 2020:
Sending Neil's family & friends heartfelt condolences from Australia. Neil we always be remembered in the LD community, forever in our hearts. Rest in peace....
Tim Carpenter left a message on June 20, 2020:
I met Neil just once at a dinner party put together by his friend Janice and will never forget the conversation I had with him. He was so smart and such a Renaissance man and I read his book and loved it. I am sad that he is gone and I am sad for his family and friends. But, I feel lucky to have met him and had this electric connection at a party that I have not forgotten. My sincere condolences to you all for his loss.
Sarah H left a message on June 19, 2020:
So many of us in the Lyme community are mourning. Deepest condolences to the family. He shared his gifts with the world. A great loss for the world. Best wishes to his family. With much respect and gratitude- Sarah H
Tovah Williamson left a message on June 19, 2020:
Neil Spector was the greatest person I have ever known. I heard about most of his amazing life through my mother—he was always too humble to ever really share the extent of his achievements. The rest of his life I read in his book Gone in a Heartbeat: A Physician's Search for True Healing. I remember reading every word on a single plane ride, not stopping to put it down (and forgetting that I was in public when I started to cry). That book changed my life on its own, and it was surreal to have known the author. Neil allowed me to volunteer in his lab during one summer, and having Neil as my mentor was an unbelievable part of my life. He has not only changed countless lives through his career in both clinical and experimental medicine, but overcome so much. Above all that, he was the kindest, most caring human being I knew, and I was lucky enough to work with him and hear his thoughts, let alone be his friend. One of my greatest memories of him was when we were talking on my second day in the lab. He eventually drew an explanation of our project, writing on a paper towel and when he ran out of room slowly migrating to a broken piece of a styrofoam box. I think I was carrying a notebook, but I can't remember why we never used it. I kept asking questions, so we were probably standing there for at least an hour, just discussing his hypothesis and previous research. Years later, when I had to decide who to ask to write my recommendation letters for medical school, I knew immediately that Neil would be the first person I would ask. There is no doubt that I was able to get into medical school largely because of Neil. He changed my life with his intelligence as well as his kindness, and I will never forget him.
Andrea Chernus left a message on June 19, 2020:
My deepest condolences to Denise and Celeste - I was a lifelong friend of Neil's and reconnected shortly after his heart transplant. I'll never forget the day that he told me he was writing a letter to the donor family to tell them that their loved one's heart is now in a person who will go on to save many, many lives. Rest assured it had a great home! That was typical Neil to be so giving, thoughtful, and caring. I believe he is one of the 36 hidden righteous ones. RIP my dear friend. You are sorely missed. Denise and Celeste, may your wonderful memories eventually bring you healing.
Brigit Carter left a message on June 19, 2020:
My dear Denise, I am thinking of you and pray for comfort. I am here whenever you need a ear, hand to hold, shoulder to cry. I love you.
Joyce Mackler left a message on June 19, 2020:
Denise, you married a remarkable man and I'm so sorry he is lost to you and Celeste and all of the people he would have touched and healed. You are in my prayers.
Caroline Benard left a message on June 19, 2020:
Dr Neil Spector was kindness to me. He was hero. Condolences his wife Denise, his daughter Celeste, his family and his friends. Lyme Warrior
Cyndi left a message on June 19, 2020:
In memory of Dr. Neil Lee Spector, Cyndi lit a candle
Autumn Casiglia left a message on June 19, 2020:
To the wife children that supported and loved the man that helped save my life. I do not know you but I feel so connected to you. First I’m a Lyme survivor that read your husband’s and dad’s book and was able to fight for treatment. One of the things you fight as a Lyme patient is self doubt. It’s incredulous that you can be this sick. Hearing his Dr. Spector’s story gave me permission to spend the money on going out of state for treatment. I was diagnosed with an AV 1 block and told if I had not come for treatment then the damage could have been permanent. His story saved my life. I’m so sorry for your lose. Second I have a husband that gives a 100% of himself to help others. He is a pastor. My heart is breaking for you now as you grieve. Your husbands legacy must live on and permanently change how we treat Lyme patients.
Dianne left a message on June 19, 2020:
Prayers for peace, love and comfort for his family!
Kelly Koncewicz Kitchens left a message on June 19, 2020:
He was such a kind soul. He is our Lyme champion. Through his journey he was able to inform doctors of the realities of this disabling and often deadly disease. He will always be a Lyme angel in our Lyme community RIP my friend
John left a message on June 19, 2020:
Deepest Condolences to the whole family, he gave us all hope that somebody was actually working on our behalf. It's very rare that a professional like Neil had an open mind about things, i believe that is how we are going to find a cure for Chronic Lyme one day. R.I.P.
Daria left a message on June 19, 2020:
With deepest respect and empathy to Neils family. He was an amazing soul. And may God path his way in the ethereal world with amazing grace and deep peace and freedom. Much love Neil. ❤️
Sam Harper left a message on June 19, 2020:
My thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time. As a fellow Lyme Warrior, I would like to say that Neil brought awareness to the Lyme community and gave us all hope and compassion. R.I.P. Neil.
Jamie Freedman left a message on June 19, 2020:
I didn’t know Neil well but we were professional colleagues. When I once lived in North Carolina he helped me get a pro bono voluntary job at the Duke VA where he had a stint as well. His reputation in pharma and academia was stellar. He seemed to love everyone and wanted to help. I was in touch with him a couple of weeks before he died offering to help with his diagnosis and treatment. I only wish I knew him better.
Dana Parish left a message on June 19, 2020:
There will never be another like you, Neil. Eternal thanks to Denise and Celeste for graciously sharing you with me, with the world. I love you all.
Tina Rovaris left a message on June 19, 2020:
Denise, I am so saddened to learn of Neil’s passing. He was truly a special gift to everyone. I pray you will find comfort and peace in the days and weeks ahead. In the sadness and grief, never lose your light. I’m praying for you. Sincerely, Tina
Jill Loftiss left a message on June 19, 2020:
I worked with Neil for many years. He lived his life with three main pillars: people, science and art. He valued genuine relationships and gave his time and full attention selflessly. Often at international meetings I had complete strangers see my name badge with my place of business and ask “do you know Neil?” He had that impact on people. When my mother became very ill, he wrote her a poem and gave my family excellent references for physicians. Even as his health failed due to lyme disease, he never stopped fighting or fell into darkness. His energy and curious spirit drove him forward. Neil always had a smile and joke. He will be missed by all.
Janice Sutton left a message on June 19, 2020:
I am shocked to hear of Dr. Spector's sudden passing. As a mom of a child with Chronic Neurological Lyme Disease, I had reached out to Dr. Spector by email, and to my surprise he wrote back to me. I was stunned that a man with such a busy life would take to the to help a stranger. We, in the Lyme Community are devastated to hear of his loss. He was our hero. Please accept my deepest condolences to his wife, family, friends and colleagues.
Donna D’Onofrio left a message on June 19, 2020:
I am beyond devastated over the lose of my sweet, loving, caring, and compassionate brother in law Neil. No words can explain the grief that our family and friends are feeling. I am sending much love and prayers to my beautiful sister Denise. (Neil’s wife) and my sweet niece Celeste (Neil’s daughter) in these dark times. He will be deeply missed by many of people that he touched in so many ways. May you rest in peace my brother ❤️
Elisha Hallberg left a message on June 18, 2020:
In memory of Dr. Neil Lee Spector, Elisha Hallberg lit a candle
Carolynne Hirsch left a message on June 18, 2020:
Neil and his family have been among our closest and most valued friends for many years. Steve and I are great admirers of Neil's professional accomplishments and his kindness to friends and colleagues. We are mourning him greatly and praying for the family's peace and comfort. We send our love to Faye and Denise.
Marlene jones left a message on June 18, 2020:
My deepest condolences. Dr. Spector has touched so many on a personal level and been a hero and leader in his field to the wider world. I was touched by his compassion and the way he made you feel an immediate friend. He gave us hope and he gave us courage. May he rest in peace.
David Young left a message on June 18, 2020:
We are saddened by Dr Spector's untimely passing. He was so accommodating and kind to our questions about my wife's illness. His advice was thoughtful and appreciated. Our condolences to his family and loved ones.......David and Shirlene Young
Mary Jane Heppe left a message on June 18, 2020:
Neil Spector was a remarkable human being who easily embraced EVERYONE, and he could do so intangibly as well. How many people do you know that can do that? Neil was the epitome of love, compassion, and composure; he could maintain equanimity.
Ann Maher left a message on June 18, 2020:
Condolences to Dr Neil's family. He was a bright light shining for all us Lyme Disease Patients here in Ireland. Ar Dheis de go raibh a n-ainm. Ann (Lyme Chat - Eire)
Paul Branch left a message on June 18, 2020:
Rest in peace, dear friend. World is a sadder place without you.
Joanne Baskett left a message on June 18, 2020:
Thank you from the whole Lyme Disease Community globally for all you have done to advocate for us the sickest of patients I’m so very sorry such a bright light from our world has been taken so suddenly you will leave your mark on the world and footsteps in our hearts. May you rest in peace and God Bless you Dr Spector love & condolences to the family love from the UK x💚🙏🏼💚x
Janice Lynch Schuster left a message on June 18, 2020:
To the Spector family, especially Denise and Celeste: Neil was such a good man. Meeting him by chance at a Komen lecture led me to realize the severity of my daughter’s Lyme disease and to get help. Whenever I came to Raleigh we’d try to meet at the Mad Hatter. His eyes lit up about ideas, but with pure love whenever talk turned to his beloved family. I am so deeply sorry for your loss and I hold all 3 of you in the Light.
alex Bliss left a message on June 18, 2020:
You were a priceless gem of a person. I shall carry your indomitable spirit, in my heart, always. From across the pond, with love and missing.
Alexis Matsoukis left a message on June 18, 2020:
my deepest condolences! his book was the first I read when I was diagnosed and it gave me a lot of strength and courage. he will always be in my memories.
Sandy Pappas Segall left a message on June 18, 2020:
An extraordinary man who led an extraordinary life and was a gift to us all!
Sheri Allen left a message on June 18, 2020:
So very sad and sorry. Wishing much comfort to his beloveds and ongoing advancement of his unparalleled work. Much love.
Vicki-Anne Parker left a message on June 18, 2020:
In memory of Dr. Neil Lee Spector, Vicki-Anne Parker lit a candle
Laura Piccolo left a message on June 18, 2020:
Sending prayers and deepest condolences to Dr. Spector’s family. I also have Lyme Disease, and Dr. Spector has been the superhero we needed. I appreciate how much passion he had towards helping the Lyme community. He was truly a uniquely compassionate and humble human. I can only hope to leave such deep impression on humanity as Dr. Spector did 💚❤️💚
Lisa wofford left a message on June 18, 2020:
In memory of Dr. Neil Lee Spector, Lisa wofford lit a candle
Kenneth Liegner left a message on June 18, 2020:
Such a fine man. A great loss. Condolences to family & friends.
Jody Mello left a message on June 18, 2020:
In memory of Dr. Neil Lee Spector, Jody Mello lit a candle
Allison Grochev left a message on June 18, 2020:
You have been an inspiration to me from the first week I was diagnosed with late stage Lyme disease until now. Your story makes me keep pushing on and enables me to get out of bed everyday and keep fighting.I know that is true for thousands of others with Lyme disease. Prayers to your friends and family and I know you will be truly missed.
Julia Wagner left a message on June 18, 2020:
Our heart goes out to Neil's wife, daughter, family and friends. Neil was a point of light for so many, and he gave of himself here in Pennsylvania educating our public, and practitioners, always wiling to share his personal story, and his brilliant intellect to shed light on this controversial topic. I am so sorry for your loss - he was valiant, brilliant, passionate, loving and so very kind. His mark on this world is tremendous and I believe his legacy is strong and lives on in the inspiration he planted across so many scientists, practitioners, patients, and in his friends and family. Thank you for sharing him with us!
Sue Ferrara left a message on June 18, 2020:
I will be forever grateful that for a bright shining moment our paths crossed. Neil was truly a rare human being. https://beginwithaquestion.com/2020/06/17/how-do-we-know-a-champion/ Sue Ferrara
Lew Watson left a message on June 18, 2020:
Denise, we were devastated when we found out the news. We only have great memories of Neil and you. I so remember looking out our condo in Topsail and seeing you and Neil so relaxed on the beach. Neil was such a big help to me with my transplant and his book that I read cover to cover. His smile is ingrained in my memory. Love to you and your family, we are here for you if you need us. Love, Lew and Kate Watson.
Suzanne Kinkead left a message on June 18, 2020:
In memory of Neil Lee Spector, Suzanne Kinkead lit a candle
Vicki-Anne Parker left a message on June 18, 2020:
Its not very often that we see specialists around the globe reach out to patients in far away places like my country New Zealand. Neil was one in a million, a guiding light, a beacon of hope, hugely compassionate and kind. He reached out many times to me In New Zealand telling me not to give up even though NZ does not believe lyme disease exists in NZ. Thank you for all you have done to help many of us around the globe. You were an inspiration to many and sadly now are our guardian angel . Soar high Neil you will be sorely missed.
Terry Mayfield left a message on June 18, 2020:
Deepest sympathies are with Dr. Spector’s family, and my heart goes out to all who were blessed to have known and worked with Neil. Although I never had the opportunity to meet Dr Spector in person, like many, I admired his accomplishments, advocacy and personal strength from afar. Dr Spector graciously shared of himself with each and every exchange on social media, taking precious time to offer encouragement and support to others, including myself. I can only imagine how many lives have been blessed through a connection with Dr. Spector. I know the Lyme community will forever admire, cherish and deeply miss our beloved advocate, physician scientist, researcher, fellow patient and friend. Rest peacefully, Neil. Thank you, Denise and Celeste, for sharing your him with us. Comforting prayers are with you now, and whenever in need.
Harold Armstrong left a message on June 18, 2020:
From your old college roomate I am so terribly saddened by the death of Neil. Thank you my friend for the endless conversations during our college years. For the opportunity to reconnect with you the past few years. Your humanity, wisdom and grace will live forever in my memory..
Susan Green left a message on June 18, 2020:
Neil will be dearly missed by all. He has impacted so many and everyone he met was better for having known him. Heartfelt condolences to his wife Denise, daughter Celeste, family members and all those who loved him.
Elaine Paul left a message on June 18, 2020:
Neil was a gifted oncologist and had a brilliant mind for translational biology. I recall the days when we worked in the GSK Sanders building and he would talk to us about signal transduction pathways, drawing them up from memory on a flipchart like it was so easy when many of us struggled to grasp the basics. He was generous in sharing his knowledge in a kind and helpful way. He was brilliant and yet he was humble. I recall listening to him give a talk at a conference about tyrosine kinase inhibitors. He began with a story about a man from Missouri who survived the Great Flood of 1993. I may not recall the story exactly, but I think I can give you the key points. After surviving the flood, this man from Missouri went round the speaker’s circuit giving lectures on how to survive floods and became quite well known for his talk. Eventually when he died end entered Heaven, he offered to give a talk on surviving the Great Flood, noting that it had received rave reviews on earth. God agreed and when the audience assembled, God tapped him on the shoulder and said – “oh, by the way….Noah is in the audience”. Neil likened himself to this man, noting that he realized he was giving the talk but there were experts (“Noah”) sitting in the audience. He started his talk with self-depreciating good humor and immediately put the audience at ease. That was typical Neil – no airs and graces – but he really was the expert! I sought Neil’s advice and help on many occasions when friends and family members had cancer. He advised on diagnostic and biomarker tests to consider and possible treatments and/or clinical trials. He provided contacts to help through his expansive network. He always provided words of comfort and hope. He could see through the eyes of a patient because he had experienced life-threatening disease himself. However, he never placed himself in the limelight. I recall how one of the drugs we worked on caused a decrease in heart function and we had plans in place for treatment interruptions if the heart function went below 50% - and yet all the while unbeknownst to his co-workers, his heart was functioning at ~10% or thereabouts – I never knew this until many years later when he published his book, Gone in a Heartbeat. He never placed the focus on himself but was always looking to help others. In 2009, Neil received a heart transplant. All his friends and neighbors rallied around him providing support and logistical help, meals etc. Several of us set up a website Lotsahelpinghands to help with communications and organization and I know that Neil took a lot of strength and encouragement from the messages people posted to him on the site. Neil was a poet and a number of years before he had shared a poem with me to give to a dear friend who had cancer, by way of encouragement – the poem was called “The Challenge of Faith”. It was a poem that held a special meaning to him and so I asked my Dad to write it up nicely using his lovely Calligraphy skills so I could get the poem framed and give this to Neil as he was recovering from the transplant. Much later, when my Dad passed away from cancer, my Mam asked me if I would read this poem at Dad’s funeral. Neil was very touched by this gesture and it held a special meaning to me too. Now I find myself re-reading the poem and seeking strength from it. Denise and Celeste – Neil loved you both deeply. I can’t begin to imagine how you are feeling right now. My family sends our deepest condolences to you both and gratitude for sharing such a wonderful person with all of us. We will miss him.
Kathleen taylor left a message on June 18, 2020:
To Dr Spector family I send my love and will include you in my prayers forever. Our Lyme community lost a leader, a mentor, a friend. Myself having Lyme and being Her2+ I trusted dr Spector advise. I valued his word, am grateful for knowing him. I will miss him. In faith I believe he is comforted in peace forever
Sandra Silberman left a message on June 18, 2020:
Neil made us realize the best of what we are as humans, the most we could accomplish, the strength that we had despite any difficulties we faced. I am devastated that he is no longer able to be an inquisitive scientist, passionate physician, mentor to fellows, and incredible friend. To Denise and Celeste - may his memory sustain you both.
Deb Trager left a message on June 18, 2020:
A truly heartbreaking loss...One of the good ones (of which there are so few today) He did so much for the lyme community and the field of oncology... Despite never having met him he was always ALWAYS giving of his time and advice/assistance—whether it was helping me find and get into see Dr Phillips in CT back in 2016, or checking in after that to see how I was doing...and even helping me (and my family) last year with some much needed information/advice when my aunt was dealing w Primary Myelofibrosis PMF —and was having complications after her bone marrow transplant. No matter what was going on in HIS life, he always let it be known that he was there for OTHERS. A true Angel... A tremendous loss for all of us, but especially for his family and close friends...my deepest and most sincere condolences to you at this time. ❤️
Cassandra Ffrench left a message on June 18, 2020:
In memory of Neil Lee Spector, Cassandra Ffrench lit a candle
Bridget Calendo-Spaeth left a message on June 17, 2020:
The world was a better place with Neil in it. He changed hearts and lives. I hope to lead with as much empathy and compassion as he did. He made us all better. There will never be another like him. Blessed to call him friend. You will be sorely missed, Neil. Thank you for all the support & encouragement. I will miss you. Duke forever. -Bridget
Amanda Elam left a message on June 17, 2020:
What an incredible loss for humanity. Neil was a brilliant scientist, a compassionate doctor, and an incomparable friend and colleague. Right now I am brainstorming ways to keep his important collaborations at Duke and NCSU going. I will honor his legacy in every way possible. He showed us all how it is possible to lead with abundant kindness and make significant impacts not only through science, but through simple daily interactions. I will miss his ready smile, his profound intellect, and his relentless dedication to medical innovation and the best patient care. Denise and Celeste, wishing you every possible comfort from wonderful memories of your time together and deepest condolences as you grieve such a great loss. Peace and love.
Andrea Walens left a message on June 17, 2020:
I first met Neil during my interview for the Duke Molecular Cancer Biology program in February of 2014. I credit his interview and my interactions with him after as one of the main reasons I decided Duke would be the best place to pursue my PhD. He expressed a real interest in my experiences, both research and personal, and validated my passion for cancer research. I had my first rotation in his lab and got to know him even better. He was an amazing scientist, mentor, and person. He was a constant positive presence during my time in graduate school, and I know he has impacted the lives of many other students. He will be greatly missed.
Marti Brauer left a message on June 17, 2020:
In memory of Neil Lee Spector, Marti Brauer lit a candle
James L Abbruzzese left a message on June 17, 2020:
In Neil we have lost a very accomplished scientist and physician. Because he worked primarily at the VA I did not get to know Neil as well as I would have liked. But on those occasions when we talked I could appreciate his tremendous intellect and curiosity coupled with the humility of a fellow human being who wanted to know and help others find their way. Neil's search for new knowledge and understanding expanded to meet the challenges he faced in life. I encourage everyone to read or re-read his book "Gone in a Heartbeat: A Physician's Search for True Healing". The description of his battle with Lyme Disease and his evolving interests to understand pathogens such as Borrelia tell a story of an individual who was driven to generate new knowledge for the common good. I will miss Neil's indomitable spirit and I am saddened that we have lost a wonderful physician, researcher, mentor, and good friend.
Mohammed Dar left a message on June 17, 2020:
Neil was a colleague while working at GSK. While we overlapped for only a few years, he left a remarkably strong and positive impression. He was a strong leader, scientifically rigorous, and always put patients first. He was a great role model and touched all those who worked with him. This is a great loss and my condolences and sympathy go out to the Spector family.
Diana L Temple left a message on June 17, 2020:
My heartfelt condolences to the Spector family. A very remarkable and caring man has passed over to heaven.
Virginia Walcott left a message on June 17, 2020:
My deepest sympathies to Dr. Spector's wife and daughter. He touched the lives and inspired so many. He was a modern day Saint, reaching out to people he didn't even know during difficult times. He will be sorely missed. Rest-in-peace Dr. Spector. "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand." John 10:28
Ed and Melanie Kirk left a message on June 17, 2020:
Neil was remarkable friend. A gift to this world. He always went the extra mile. Always offered encouragement. I know of no man like him. We cannot be present physically present, but our hearts are with Denise and his whole family in spirit.
Paul Milone left a message on June 17, 2020:
Neil was a classmate of mine in Livingston NJ. Ever since meeting him on the soccer field in Junior High School he was nothing other than a wonderful friend, a great team mate, and someone who always had a smile. We have been lucky to revisit old times over the past few years at reunions. My thoughts to his family, and please know that he will be remembered as a wonderful, thoughtful person.
Jeremy Force left a message on June 17, 2020:
Dear Denise and Celeste, Neil was such a wonderful human being and one of the kindest persons I have ever met. He positively impacted so many people around him. His wisdom transcended medicine into life and spirituality. I am honored to say that I knew Neil and he was a true friend and mentor to me. He will be deeply missed! My thoughts and love are with you both! Sincerely, Jeremy
Michael Cannon left a message on June 17, 2020:
Rest in Power Dr. Spector. Gone and never ever forgotten. My deepest heartfelt condolences to the entire Spector family.
Lisa Troy left a message on June 16, 2020:
In memory of Neil Lee Spector, Lisa Troy lit a candle
Angela Mainberger left a message on June 16, 2020:
Our deepest condolences and prayers for Denise and Celeste. Neil was an amazing man and will never forget of his smiles and his strength that he beat his health. Biggest hugs, Angela and family. 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
Kim Malugen left a message on June 16, 2020:
Dear Denise, I am heartbroken for you and Celeste and I am sending my love and prayers for your family. Neil was just so very special to everyone that ever knew him. He had the best personality and outlook on life even in the hardest of times. He was always so very kind to me and I will always love and remember him.
Corinne Clements left a message on June 16, 2020:
In memory of Neil Lee Spector, Corinne Clements lit a candle
Eileen Valerio, RN, BSN left a message on June 16, 2020:
My heart aches to hear this news. My thoughts and prayers are with you. May God bless your family and may you always feel the wind of Neil’s angelic wings passing and sitting on your shoulder everyday. Dr. Spector, the entire world loved you! You are a hero!
Suzanne Tompkins left a message on June 16, 2020:
Denise, there are no words of comfort at this time. You and Neil have been through so much together. The Lord called him home for a reason that we may not understand. But i know he is happy. He told me once about a "dream" he had of being in Heaven and the very air and surroundings were pure love. He loves you and daughter very much and always will whether on this earth or on the other side of the veil. He was the nicest, kindest, most compassionate man I have ever known. I will pray for peace and comfort for your family. I am so sorry. Heavenly Father knows your needs and will provide comfort and your needs. I was Neil's admin. Love, Suzanne
Hudson Funeral Home left a message:
Please accept our deepest condolences for your family's loss.
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