1925 - 2020
SPIRA-- Melvin, MD, DDS. Dr. Melvin Spira passed away on October 8, 2020 in Carlsbad, CA. He was born in Chicago, IL on July 3, 1925. After college, he graduated from Northwestern University Dental School in 1947 and served in the U.S. Navy Dental Corps. He soon realized that his true passion was medicine and returned to school, graduating from the Medical College of Georgia in 1956. General surgery training at Duke University Medical School was followed by a plastic surgery residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. Joining the full- time faculty of Baylor in 1961, he was appointed Professor and Head of the Division of Plastic Surgery in 1976. Dr. Spira was past president of the American Association of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons. He served as Chairman of the American Board of Plastic Surgery and received Distinguished Faculty Awards from Baylor College of Medicine and the Medical College of Georgia and Special Achievement Awards from the American Society of Maxillo-facial Surgeons, the American Association of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Dr. Spira was a visiting professor in the US and abroad in 37 institutions, authored 35 book chapters, and authored or co-authored more than 200 articles in peer reviewed scientific journals. In 2018, Texas Children's Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine honored him by creating the Melvin Spira MD Endowed Chair in Plastic Surgery. During his long career, Dr. Spira always made time for volunteer surgical missions to operate on adults and children with facial deformities. His last surgical mission with Surgicorps International took place when he was 89 years old. He also enjoyed his second home in Snowmass, CO skiing with his wife Rita and attending the Aspen Institute yearly to explore the latest ideas in politics, the arts, and science. As an avid collector of Western art and an artist himself, he specialized in drawing the human face, a hobby he enjoyed his entire life. Dr. Spira was predeceased by his loving wife of 60 years, Rita Silver Spira, his son Joel Spira and his grandson Joshua Fishman. He is survived by his daughters Dr. Mary Ann Rose and Pamela Spira Fishman, sons- in-law Dr. Richard Rose and Michael Fishman, grandchildren Dr. Alexandra Rose (and Noah Reiter), Brandon Rose (and Natalie Chou), Evan Rose and Anna Fishman, great-granddaugh- ter Daniela Reiter and by his loving companion of the last seven years, Evelyne Browne. Funeral services will be private but contributions can be made to Surgicorps International,

Published by New York Times on Oct. 11, 2020.
To plant trees in memory, please visit the Sympathy Store.
To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Add a Message

Not sure what to say?

8 Entries
An amazing, wonderful, brilliant man and a true gentleman, Dr. Mel will always be remembered with much love and appreciation by ALL of the many lives he encountered and enriched, with so much caring and humility! Our heartfelt condolences go out to his entire family and Evelyne. Mel, you will most certainly be missed by everyone who had the pleasure of meeting YOU!
Ruth Aronsohn
December 17, 2020
Mel Spira and I both received Honorary Citations at ASPS in 201and I felt totally out of place being at his level—but he treated me as an equal, which I’m not. He was always that way when we were together.
Mark Constantian
December 3, 2020
Mel was our neighbor at La Costa Glen. Mel greeted us on our first day here 18 months ago. He was such a warm and caring man. It took us some time to learn that he was also a giant in his field -- and delivered patient care to those who needed most, but could not pay. He traveled the world saving people. But was so humble he never mentioned it.

All who knew him and all those who were healed by Mel, have lost a dear friend. We wish his family well in this difficult time. Mel was incredibly pure of heart.
Richard and Bobbie Vandervoort
October 29, 2020
Dr. Melvin Spira was the reason I became a plastic / reconstructive surgeon. Without exaggeration, Dr. Spira was one of the most influential persons in my life besides my parents. I have a facial problem, and I first met Dr. Spira to treat this problem in high school. His care for me continued throughout college and medical school, and it inspired me to follow his footsteps in the specialty of plastic surgery. I was lucky and honored to have done research with him in medical school, to learn from him during my residency at Baylor College of Medicine, and subsequently to work alongside him as a colleague.
I have learned much from Dr. Spira - not only in the field of plastic reconstructive surgery, but also how to carry myself as a decent physician. Dr. Spira was well-known and very respected in both the American and international plastic surgery communities due to his significant contributions; but despite his fame, he treated everyone with kindness and respect, whether that person is a patient, a resident (who just makes a mistake), or a junior colleague. He taught me valuable lessons in giving back to society and to be humble – the same traits that he exhibited throughout his long and remarkable career. We were able to go together on a medical mission trip in Vietnam; and I will always treasure those memories.
Dr. Spira, thank you for everything. Please know that you left a legacy to inspire many of us.
Godspeed to the stars and shine down on all of us. We love you and miss you.

Tue Dinh MD (and family).
Tue Dinh, MD
October 14, 2020
My deepest condolences to Dr. Mel Spira’s entire family. With love, Carla
Carla Herzog
October 14, 2020
We had many enjoyable times spent with Mel and Rita in Aspen/Snowmass. Mel was a true mensch; May his memory be for a blessing.
Nancy, Jack, and Amy Lewitz
October 13, 2020
Mel sounds like he was a tremendous man. As a Surgicorps volunteer I wish I had the opportunity to meet and work with him. May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
jimmy Ricciardi
October 13, 2020
Please except my deepest sympathies to you and your family at this time of grieving. May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Simone Taylor
October 11, 2020
Showing 1 - 8 of 8 results