About our Founder

Spencer J. Block, MD

In Memory of Spencer J. Block, MD

Our partner and dear friend, Spencer Block, passed away unexpectedly and suddenly on May 2, 2013 at the tender age of fifty-one. During his relatively short time with us, Spencer completed a remarkable journey earning the trust of his patients through his competence, caring and compassion; respect from other health care professionals for his knowledge, entrepreneurship and leadership; admiration by his staff for his dedication, proficiency and kindness; and love by his family for his devotion to their interests.

Spencer was born in Chicago, Illinois on October 10, 1961. He was the product of sound parenting where a strong work ethic, academic preparation, compassion and service were highly valued. This blend resulted in his being among the very elite as a talented neurosurgeon, but also the ultimate patient advocate, trusted colleague and devoted family man.

Spencer earned his Bachelor of Science degree (1983) at the University of Michigan, graduating with Distinction and Highest Honors as a James B. Angell Scholar. He then secured his Medical Doctor degree (1987) from Northwestern University. Spencer pursued postgraduate training at the University of Chicago Hospitals completing a Residency in Neurological Surgery (1993) and serving as Chief Resident.

Following completion of his training programs in 1993, Spencer joined a Racine-based group practice specializing in neurology and neurological surgery where he honed his diagnostic and surgical skills. Spencer was recruited to Milwaukee in 1998 becoming the founding partner of Milwaukee Neurological Institute which was organized to implement his vision of an innovative, comprehensive neuroscience center. Through his persistent leadership, he demanded neurological surgery be approached with these shared goals: blend compassionate, personalized care with sophisticated technology and skill in formulating and executing patient treatment plans that offer hope, extend information, provide guidance and enable patients to assume some control within their unique needs and lifestyles.

He had achieved lifetime Board Certification in the American College of Neurological Surgery, and secured Fellowship status within the American College of Surgeons (ACS). He held professional membership in the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, American Medical Association, Congress of Neurological Surgeons and North American Spine Society. Spencer was a member of the Wisconsin Neurosurgical Society, acting as past President. He served in an advisory capacity in the commercial development of new diagnostic modalities and surgical instrumentation.

Not satisfied with merely pursuing a rigorous course of academic study, Spencer had long been interested in research. A product of the Chicago public school system, he took top honors in the Illinois State Science Fair. He continued research activities while an undergraduate, and later contributed as a Research Fellow. He published original articles and abstracts on subjects from the use of lasers in neurosurgery to electrically stimulating bone growth. Spencer subsequently maintained relationships with academic medicine through appointments at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Marquette University mentoring medical and physician assistant students.

Spencer managed to balance his demanding career while supporting his spouse’s professional achievements. His beloved children readily commanded much of his attention, and he treasured participating in their extracurricular activities. He was devote in his faith, and actively involved in various initiatives and activities at his synagogue.

Given his athletic connections, he remained a steadfast and enthusiastic University of Michigan fan and his office was replete with memorabilia. He served as a medical consultant to the Milwaukee Brewers, where he attended several Fantasy Camps, proudly ranked as an inaugural Miller Park season ticket holder and maintained relationships with players and front office executives alike. He was commended for his continued support of his childhood teams, the Chicago Bears, Cubs and Sox. He organized, directed and played in his men’s softball team.

Spencer was very much a man of eclectic tastes, interests and intellect which trigger fond remembrances. From a noted restaurant critic and TAB connoisseur to a lover of movies, music and art. From classic car restoration to a devotee of history. His fund of knowledge on most topics was nothing short of phenomenal. Yet, he had a talent for making everyone comfortable, and always made time to listen/advise on a person’s life challenges. He was a unique blend of eloquence, integrity, pragmatism, sarcasm, loyalty and compassion.

From all of us, both past and present: We miss Spencer each and every day. We are grateful for his caring; his insights, commitment, compassion and skill; and yes, his witticisms. Most of all, we thank him for making us better professionals, and people too.

We are honored to share in keeping his memory alive by supporting the Dr. Spencer J. Block Neurological Surgery Education and Research Fund at the University of Chicago – established by his family and colleagues for a perpetual, annual lecture series on pertinent topics in the field. Please consider donating to this worthwhile endeavor to benefit doctors in training for years to come.

Checks may be made payable to the “University of Chicago Medicine” and mailed to:

University of Chicago Gift and Record Services
Dr. Spencer Block Memorial
1427 East 60th Street – Suite 120
Chicago, IL 60637

Or, you can make a gift online by visiting their website: https://supportucmc.uchicago.edu and click on “Make A Gift.” In the “donor specified” window, enter “Section of Neurosurgery – Spencer Block Memorial.”

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for your consideration in memorializing a man we all hold in such high esteem.

Dan S. Heffez, MD
Max C. Lee, MD
John F. Behm

“Throughout the whole time, I always felt like I was part of the treatment team. Dr. Block has changed my life.”
Read Lynn's Testimonial