Hill neurosurgeon and classic car enthusiast dies at 86

by Len Lear

In March of 2018, I went to the yearly Fur Ball, a fundraising party for Morris Animal Refuge in Centre Metropolis, America’s initial animal shelter. The function was held at the Simeone Basis Automotive Museum, located along the industrial corridor at the rear of the Philadelphia Worldwide Airport. It was founded in 2008 by Dr. Frederick Simeone, former chairman of neurosurgery at Pennsylvania Healthcare facility and then-81-calendar year-outdated Chestnut Hill resident.

I experienced the fantastic fortune to chat to Dr. Simeone that night time and observed out that he was a amazing guy. I liked him correct absent mainly because he mentioned he wished to use his museum to elevate funds to aid obtain properties for homeless animals.

“I have spent a whole lot of my life trying to conserve human lives,” he said. “But I also want to do what I can to preserve the lives of these great animals who need to rely on us for their survival.”

How can you not like this sort of a man?

Dr. Simeone, who developed one of the world’s most excellent collections of traditional athletics autos, died Saturday, June 11, at Pennsylvania Hospital, exactly where he had been a surgical legend. He was 86.

Dr. Simeone labored at the College of Pennsylvania University of Drugs for two many years right before moving to Harvard, wherever he was a college member from 1966 to 1969. He then arrived back to Pennsylvania Healthcare facility to serve as chairman of neurosurgery at the hospital until eventually he retired in 2008. 

He moved to Chestnut Hill in 1996 and founded the museum in 2008, transferring his spectacular assortment of common vehicles from a two-tale garage off South Avenue to its present three-acre area.

The museum was named museum of the calendar year by the Intercontinental Historic Motoring Awards in 2011 at a black tie ceremony in London, competing versus significant racing car or truck museums in Europe. The panel showcased judges Jay Leno, a racing sports activities cars and trucks enthusiast, classic vehicle racer and Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, Pebble Seashore vehicle display chief choose Ed Gilbertson, 5 periods Le Mans winner Derek Bell and Girl Susie Moss, spouse of racing icon Sir Stirling Moss, amid other individuals.

Pertaining to Dr. Simeone’s determination to come to be a professional medical medical professional, the car or truck collector told me, “I needed to make a variance.” 

Dr. Simeone told me that at one particular stage in the course of the 1980s, he was performing additional surgical techniques than any neurosurgeon in the country, nearly 1,000 a calendar year. Two of his most notable people had been former Philadelphia mayor, Richardson Dilworth, and previous Phillies center fielder, Lenny Dykstra. 

He also wrote extra than 10 professional medical books. In 2011, he released a 384-web page account of his eyesight for the common car or truck museum, “The Spirit of Level of competition.”

A stroll by means of the museum is like a walk 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 less than the entrance axles, one of a kind for its time. Then there’s the 1966 Ford GT40 MKII that stands 40 inches tall from floor to roof, a vehicle identical to the 1 that gained Le Mans athletics car race that year.

“If you assume about our sensations. Pace is the a person of the several sensations the typical person can appreciate.” Dr. Simeone said.

Dr. Simeone’s selection of more than 60 racing cars spans 7 many years. They are the true racing autos, not replicas. 

Apart from the cars and trucks in the“Tribute to NASCAR” area, the most a short while ago created auto in the museum is the 1975 Alfa Romeo 33-TT-12. Simeone’s selection, which finished in the 1970s, features the nation’s major selection of Alfa Romeos, the premier racing sports car in the 1930s.

Folks arrive from all above the globe appear to see the automobiles due to the fact the races in which these vehicles appear from — Le Mans, Mille Miglia, Nurburgring — are extra of a cultural phenomenon in Europe than in the U.S. Le Mans, for illustration, is a 24-hour jaunt via the countryside of France and is the world’s oldest sports activities car stamina race. It routinely attracts up to 400,000 folks.

During our discussion, Dr. Simeone compared himself to Albert Barnes, the famous Philadelphian whose artwork assortment involves operates by Renoir, Matisse and Picasso. Like Barnes, Simeone was lifted in Kensington, and he started amassing racing automobiles just before they had been cultural icons.

It is a little something he commenced undertaking with his father, Dr. Anthony Simeone, who purchased his initial racing automobile in 1949 (an Alfa Romeo) and acquired 4 of the cars and trucks featured in the museum.  

Like his father, also a health practitioner, Dr. Simeone entered the health-related field and became a neurosurgeon. He attended Temple University for undergraduate and healthcare college and then went to the Mayo Clinic for his residency, which he concluded in 1963.

Simeone designed the nonprofit Simeone Basis to boost awareness about the prosperous heritage of the cars and to present a living example of how competition can direct to excellent developments. 

Most of the cars and trucks in his collection have competed in the world’s premier sport racing functions. 1 of the cars, a 1963 Corvette Grand Sport, was raced by Newtown Square’s Roger Penske, whose groups and automobiles are amid the most successful in automobile racing.

Simeone is survived by a daughter, Christina.

For extra facts about the museum: simeonemuseum.org or 215-365-7233. Len Lear can be arrived at at [email protected]