Delmar, NY – Dr. Neil Lempert, a pillar of the surgical community in the Capitol District of New York, passed away on December 6, 2022. Born on November 25, 1933, in Astoria, NY, Dr Lempert graduated from the famed Stuyvesant High School in 1950, and immediately matriculated at Hamilton College, where he won the Golding and Cobb essay prizes. He entered Albany Medical College in 1954. He did his surgical training under the direction of Dr. Charles Eckert. His surgical training included a year of transplantation research (1960-1961), and a year as a Research Fellow in Transplant Surgery at the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, NY (1963-1964), under the tutelage of Dr. David Blumenstock. His surgical research focused on the emerging field of organ transplantation. Immediately after completing his surgical training, he was conscripted into the United States Army. Serving as a Captain, he spent six months of research in the burn ward at Brook Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Upon eight days’ notice, he was transferred to the 249th Hospital in Tokyo, Japan, where he served out the remainder of his army career caring for Vietnam casualties. He returned to Albany Medical College in 1967, where he rose to Professor of Surgery in 1978.
Dr. Lempert founded the Section of Transplant Surgery at the Albany Medical Center in 1969 and served as its Director until 1992. In addition to his clinical and administrative leadership positions, Dr. Lempert also had an active basic science research program and is the author or co-author of 91 peer reviewed publications, the bulk of which deal with various aspects of immunology and organ transplantation. Active in many surgical societies, he was particularly proud of his membership in the American Surgical Association.
Dr. Lempert was an excellent role model and beloved teacher for generations of medical students and surgical residents. He mentored medical student summer research fellows in his laboratory over a 28-year period. Many of these students won awards for the quality of their research. He took a personal interest in his students and residents and followed their careers long after they left his tutelage.
He was a leading figure in the Alpha Omega Medical Honor Society, serving as Secretary of the Albany Chapter (1985-1989) and Counselor (1989-2019). In this role, he mentored scores of outstanding students. The loyalty and affection of his students and residents were expressed in the establishment of the Neil Lempert Professorship in Surgery in 2005 and in 2019 the establishment of the Judith and Neil Lempert, MD ’58 Endowed Scholarship Fund.
An early pioneer in transplantation, Dr. Lempert remained engaged and intellectually curious to the end of his life. His life was characterized by love and loyalty for his family, friends, his patients, his students, and the Albany Medical College. He was predeceased by his son, David. He is survived by his beloved wife of 60 years, Judy, and their children, Elizabeth Markowitz, Heidi Zaner and her husband Dovid, Nina Lempert and her husband Ross Ginsberg, and Katie Sklar and her husband Mitchel, as well as 9 grandchildren, Alex, Chaim, Yeshaya, Anna, Caroline, Yosef, Madeline,
Corrine and Didi. His family will remember him best for his enthusiasm for tennis and golf, the Saratoga Race Track, and a huge catalogue of off-color jokes, which he took great zeal in relating.
Services at the Levine Memorial Chapel 649 Washington Avenue in Albany on Sunday , December 11, 2022 at 11:00 am. The period of mourning will be observed at the Lempert residence, 19 Phesant Lane in Delmar, New York on Sunday from 2-4[, pm
In lieu of flowers, Dr Lempert’s family would appreciate donations to the Dr Neil Lempert Endowed Chair in Surgery at Albany Med, or to the Judith and Neil Lempert MD ’58 Endowed Scholarship Fund. Donations can be sent c/o Albany Med Foundation, 43 New Scotland Ave, MC-119, Albany, NY 12208
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