Born in Buffalo, Neil grew up in Western New York. He participated in multiple sports in high school and football in college. Summers were spent sailing, waterskiing, golfing and fishing at Chautauqua Lake.
Neil received his M.D. at the University of Rochester, followed by a residency in dermatology at the University of Michigan and a fellowship in Mohs surgery at the University of California, San Francisco. He returned to the faculty at Michigan for 10 years before moving to Oregon where he spent 26 years at Oregon Health & Sciences University (OHSU) as part of the Dermatology, Surgery, and Otolaryngology departments, as well as the Knight Cancer Institute. He remains an Emeritus Professor at OHSU. Neil was an officer and board member of several professional organizations, as well as Oregon Outward Bound.
Neil’s history with WRFI began when his oldest daughter, Bethany (Applegate), joined the organization as an instructor in 2005 and eventually went on to serve as WRFI’s Outreach Manager until 2019. Bethany is currently the Director of Student Enrichment at the Honors College at the University of Montana. His son, Clay, was also a student on WRFI’s “Montana Afoot and Afloat” course in 2007.
Neil and his wife Chris recently moved to Missoula to be near to their daughters, Bethany and Ingrid, and their families; most importantly, closer to five of their seven grandkids. Neil will continue with a part time practice of dermatology in Missoula.
Neil still enjoys the outdoors, including competitive western horseback riding and a variety of activities that, admittedly, are experienced more vicariously these days through his outdoorsy kids and grandkids.