January 29, 2023

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Hill neurosurgeon and classic car enthusiast dies at 86

by Len Lear

In March of 2018, I went to the annual Fur Ball, a fundraising function for Morris Animal Refuge in Middle Metropolis, America’s to start with animal shelter. The event was held at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum, found together the industrial corridor driving the Philadelphia Worldwide Airport. It was started in 2008 by Dr. Frederick Simeone, previous chairman of neurosurgery at Pennsylvania Clinic and then-81-year-aged Chestnut Hill resident.

I had the very good fortune to talk to Dr. Simeone that night and uncovered out that he was a outstanding person. I preferred him proper absent mainly because he stated he preferred to use his museum to increase cash to aid uncover homes for homeless animals.

“I have used a ton of my lifetime hoping to preserve human life,” he stated. “But I also want to do what I can to preserve the lives of these amazing animals who have to rely on us for their survival.”

How can you not like these a guy?

Dr. Simeone, who made a person of the world’s most superb collections of classic athletics autos, died Saturday, June 11, at Pennsylvania Healthcare facility, the place he experienced been a surgical legend. He was 86.

Dr. Simeone labored at the College of Pennsylvania College of Drugs for two decades right before transferring to Harvard, in which he was a school member from 1966 to 1969. He then came back again to Pennsylvania Clinic to provide as chairman of neurosurgery at the healthcare facility until finally he retired in 2008. 

He moved to Chestnut Hill in 1996 and established the museum in 2008, shifting his amazing collection of typical cars and trucks from a two-story garage off South Street to its current a few-acre spot.

The museum was named museum of the yr by the Intercontinental Historic Motoring Awards in 2011 at a black tie ceremony in London, competing against significant racing motor vehicle museums in Europe. The panel featured judges Jay Leno, a racing sports vehicles fanatic, vintage automobile racer and Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, Pebble Seashore car or truck demonstrate main decide Ed Gilbertson, 5 moments Le Mans winner Derek Bell and Lady Susie Moss, wife of racing icon Sir Stirling Moss, between other individuals.

About Dr. Simeone’s selection to come to be a health care health practitioner, the car collector told me, “I wanted to make a variance.” 

Dr. Simeone instructed me that at a person place for the duration of the 1980s, he was undertaking more surgical techniques than any neurosurgeon in the country, just about 1,000 a year. Two of his most notable clients had been previous Philadelphia mayor, Richardson Dilworth, and former Phillies middle fielder, Lenny Dykstra. 

He also wrote much more than 10 professional medical textbooks. In 2011, he printed a 384-web site account of his vision for the classic auto museum, “The Spirit of Levels of competition.”

A stroll by way of the museum is like a wander by the evolution of engineering in the 20th century. There is the 1909 American Underslung, initially raced from Philadelphia to Indianapolis. The chassis was slung beneath the front axles, unique for its time. Then there’s the 1966 Ford GT40 MKII that stands 40 inches tall from floor to roof, a auto identical to the a person that received Le Mans athletics car race that yr.

“If you think about our sensations. Speed is the one of the couple of sensations the prevalent man can enjoy.” Dr. Simeone reported.

Dr. Simeone’s selection of extra than 60 racing automobiles spans 7 a long time. They are the actual racing autos, not replicas. 

Aside from the cars and trucks in the“Tribute to NASCAR” room, the most just lately manufactured car or truck in the museum is the 1975 Alfa Romeo 33-TT-12. Simeone’s collection, which finished in the 1970s, features the nation’s largest collection of Alfa Romeos, the premier racing sports activities car in the 1930s.

Persons occur from all over the environment come to see the vehicles mainly because the races where these autos come from — Le Mans, Mille Miglia, Nurburgring — are a lot more of a cultural phenomenon in Europe than in the U.S. Le Mans, for case in point, is a 24-hour jaunt as a result of the countryside of France and is the world’s oldest sporting activities motor vehicle endurance race. It routinely attracts up to 400,000 persons.

During our conversation, Dr. Simeone compared himself to Albert Barnes, the legendary Philadelphian whose artwork selection contains is effective by Renoir, Matisse and Picasso. Like Barnes, Simeone was lifted in Kensington, and he started collecting racing vehicles ahead of they were cultural icons.

It’s one thing he started off doing with his father, Dr. Anthony Simeone, who purchased his to start with racing automobile in 1949 (an Alfa Romeo) and acquired 4 of the autos highlighted in the museum.  

Like his father, also a medical doctor, Dr. Simeone entered the health care subject and turned a neurosurgeon. He attended Temple University for undergraduate and professional medical school and then went to the Mayo Clinic for his residency, which he concluded in 1963.

Simeone made the nonprofit Simeone Foundation to increase recognition about the loaded background of the cars and to provide a residing case in point of how opposition can guide to good developments. 

Most of the cars in his assortment have competed in the world’s leading activity racing functions. 1 of the vehicles, a 1963 Corvette Grand Activity, was raced by Newtown Square’s Roger Penske, whose groups and autos are amid the most thriving in automobile racing.

Simeone is survived by a daughter, Christina.

For more details about the museum: simeonemuseum.org or 215-365-7233. Len Lear can be attained at [email protected]