Fred D. Sheftell
Leo P. Gallagher & Son Funeral Home
2900 Summer Street
Stamford, CT
DR. FRED D. SHEFTELL After a long career as an esteemed and respected psychiatrist, Dr. Fred D. Sheftell, a loving husband, father, son, brother and uncle, died Monday morning surrounded by loved ones after a four-year battle with colon cancer. Born in Brooklyn, NY, January 4, 1941, Dr. Sheftell graduated from New York University and received his medical degree from New York Medical College. From 1970 to 1972, Dr. Sheftell was in the United States Army, where he started drug abuse programs for soldiers returning from combat tours in Vietnam. He was decorated for his work. Dr. Sheftell has been a Stamford resident since 1972, when he came to Connecticut as Founder and Director of Drug Liberation Programs, one of the nation's first substance abuse treatment centers. Along with Dr. Alan Rapoport, Dr. Sheftell started the New England Center for Headache in 1981. He was Founder and President of ACHE (The American Council of Headache Education), whose purpose was to educate Doctors and patients about headaches. He was also President of AHS (The American Headache Society) where he sat on the Board of Directors for over 20 years. Dr. Sheftell was one of the leading pain and headache specialists in the world. His clinical patient care, research, and innovation in the field led to breakthroughs in treatment and healing. On a personal note, Dr. Sheftell was an accomplished musician, playing guitar, banjo, piano and harmonica. He was loved, respected, and cherished by his family. His wife Karen, his son Jason, and daughter Lauren, will miss him dearly and will always keep him in their hearts. He is also survived by mother Wilma, brother Steven and sister-in-law Vincenza, along with their children Justin and Melanie; his two brother-in-laws and their wives, Edward and Linda Rosenthal, David and Jane Rosenthal, and their children, Ken, Julie, Daniel and Rebecca. For his music, love and laughter, Dr. Fred Sheftell, will be a part of us always. People everywhere will remember the songs he has written, the lives he has touched, and the good he has spread. When we think of him, we will always smile and hear his melodies. Services will be held at Temple Beth El, 350 Roxbury Road, Stamford, CT., on Thursday, April 14, at 12 noon. Donations in Dr. Sheftell's name can be made to the American Migraine Foundation (, or c/o American Migraine Foundation, 19 Mantua Road, Mount Royal, New Jersey, 08061. To leave on line condolences, please visit
Published by The Advocate on Apr. 13, 2011.
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64 Entries
I often think of Dr. Sheftell and what a wonderful healer and man he was and how I miss him. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family on this anniversary and I want them to know I feel blessed to have had him as a doctor and be able to call him a friend.
Ane Torres
April 6, 2019
Today I went to the mailbox and was greeted by the saddest possible news. I have just received a letter from the New England Center for Headache informing me of Dr. Sheftell's passing. I have been a patient of Dr. Sheftell for over 10 years. He literally saved my life from years of debilitating headaches. I'm confident I'm not the only patient who's life he has dramatically improved.He was truly an outstanding person as well as physician. A cancer survivor myself,I was well aware of Dr. Sheftell's medical issue and we would spend the majority of my visit discussing how fortunate we both were and how much life had to offer. I really enjoyed my sessions with Fred (he insisted that I call him by his first name, although I really never felt comfortable or appropriate calling him anything but 'doc'. He was extraordinary in many ways...learned, compassionate, a fine sense of humor and a real gift for the arts. I will miss him...but never forget him. Rest comfortably, Doc.
michael krugman
May 13, 2011
Dear Sheftell family, I am very saddened to hear of the passing of my beloved doctor. I have been a patient for more than 25 years when he had his center in Greenwich and I have been moving with him to each location thereafter. He was a wonderful physician and a caring doctor who truly improved the quality of my life. I will miss him very much
Ute Mulligan
May 12, 2011
I feel truly blessed to have had the honor of knowing and recieving treatment from such a wonderful doctor. The passing of Dr. Sheftell is a great loss to his patients, the medical community, and of course to the many who loved and knew him. My deepest condolences go out to his family and may you know what a wise, dedicated man he was and he truly changed the lives of so many, including my own. I thank you for sharing this wonderful human being with us and I am forever indebted to him ...
Tracy Moore
May 11, 2011
Dr. Sheftell was a knight in shining armor for our family when our daughter was really suffering from migraines. Our thoughts and prayers are with you - we feel blessed to have known him.
O'Gara Family
May 11, 2011
Oh, how my heart aches, knowing that a very special doctor and friend has left this earth. Like so many others, he gave my life back to me through his headaches knowledge. He was also there on a night when I was in the throes of severe depression and was on the verge of committing suicide...I called him, he talked to me and told me what to do. He saved my life. I knew at my last appointment,March 1st, that I would not be seeing him again. I held his hand and said goodbye. I kept on sending him the silly cards and handmade get-well notes that I had sent him before. The last card I sent was a post-card from the Tulip Festival in Skagit Valley, Washinton on April 23. He was very much on my mind that I know why. Please accept my deepest sympathies.
Patricia Olsen
May 10, 2011
Dear Sheftell Family,
I was so very sorry to hear of Dr. Sheftell passing. I was fortunate enough to have him care for me for almost 10 years. He was a terrific doctor, but more importantly a wonderful person. He was always concerned about the person behind the symptoms and always had an encouraging word to leave you with. He will be greatly missed. My deepest sympathy to all of you.
Stacy Eldridge
May 8, 2011
Today I received a letter from NECH telling me about Dr. Sheftell's passing. I am so deeply saddened by this news, as Dr. Sheftell saved me from a life of debilitating migraines. I was a patient of his since 1983 and without him I wouldn't have survived. My sincerest condolences go out to his family. The world has lost a truly dedicated physician and compassionate person. May he fly with the Angels...
Jeanette Esposito
May 5, 2011
Dr. Sheftell will always remain in my heart. He brought me my first smile in three years after suffering from intense migraines. There are no words to describe the heart he had and the way he cared for his patients. No doctor will ever compare to the compassion he showed for his work. I am truly blessed to have met Dr. Sheftell and will continue to thank him in my prayers for each day I continue to be pain free because of his work.
May 4, 2011
The stars in the sky dimmed when Dr. Sheftell left this world. I was a patient of his in the early 1990's and he truly saved my life by bringing a complex case of migraines under control. I'll never forget my second appointment. I was a teenager at the time and my mother was with me in Dr. Sheftell's office. After a few minutes of questions, my mother grew frustrated and burst out saying, "Doctor, aren't you going to ask Stephanie how she is doing?" And Dr. Sheftell replied, "Mrs. Smith, there is no need. I can see that she's doing much better. It's written all over her face." And he was right! My skin wasn't so grey anymore; shades of its old rosy hues were coming back. Who knew what pain could do to a complexion! We all smiled and laughed, beginning a partnership that truly changed my life for the better.

To the Sheftell family, I am so sorry for your loss. I wish that there were words to write that would offer balms for your souls; however, wisdom has taught me that sometimes there just are no words that can ease a loss that cuts so deep... Having lost my dear Nan nearly 1 year ago, I've held tight to a raft of memories to navigate my own river of grief; I hope your memories will carry you through.

Dr. Sheftell dedicated his life to easing pain and suffering of so many. He was an exceptional doctor who truly cared. We were blessed to have him among us. "May flights of angels sing (him) to (his) rest."
Stephanie Smith
April 24, 2011
My heart felt condolences to Dr. Sheftell's family. I was a patient for only 18 months but beginning with my consultation it was so obvious that he was a very special person and doctor who truly cared, with a persistent determined to help. He clearly was a rare individual who made a difference in the lives of so many. May he rest in peace.
glenn aber
April 23, 2011
Dear Karen & Family: I am saddened to learn of Fred's passing. He was such a great guy, and so interesting to listen to. I was thrilled whenever Fred referred a patient, who was moving to the Washington DC area, to me -- it meant that he endorsed my skill as a headache specialist. And an endorsement from someone whom I respected so much meant a lot to me! He was always friendly & warm to me at meetings, no matter how busy he was. I will miss him. Rose also sends her sympathy.
Stuart Stark
April 22, 2011
Thank you for saving my husband's life.
April 22, 2011
Dear Karen,
Noel and I are very sorry to hear of Fred's passing and extend our sympathy to you and your family. We feel fortunate to have reconnected with him and you even if briefly. Reading all the tributes to Fred we know that the community has lost a very special doctor. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this difficult time.
Maureen and Noel Testa
April 21, 2011
dear karen, please accept my sincere
sympathy. merrily
April 21, 2011
I just heard about the passing of Dr. Sheftell today. He was the warmest, most caring doctor ever. He is the only doctor to never give up on me. I have been his patient for the past 17 years and I will miss him dearly. May he rest peacefully in the arms of The Lord.
Kim Keenan
April 20, 2011
My Dr. Sheftell...saved my life. I've been his patient for 25+ yrs. Going back to the Greenwich office. I read all of the enteries, he was everyones "SPECIAL GUY ". At home, in the office, on the road,or just out with friends. We where all blessed to have had this man in our lives. My husband just went through that "ugly battle" for the past 5 months. I only left him one time , that was to go to Stamford to see " Our Man". I knew when I left him I wouldn't see him again. I told him I was going to loose my two best guys at the same time. My Ev passed on April 1.....Doc followed close behind . They were both 70, bigger than life...outstanding men. I always told Dr. Sheftell how much I cared for him, and how much I loved him. When I would leave him these past years I'd always send him a lot of POSITIVE HEALING ENERGY. Now he is at PEACE sending us Light and Energy. To, all of us who were blessed having him in our lives in one way or another. I say THANK YOU.......Suzie
Woodbury, CT.
April 20, 2011
Dr. Sheftell made a tremendous impact on my life, as I'm sure he did so many that knew him. Although I only had the pleasure of knowing him for a short time, I am so thankful for having met him. He was an amazing doctor and a very caring individual. I am so sorry for your loss. May he rest peacefully with the Lord.
Alison C
April 19, 2011
I was sorry to hear about Dr. Sheftell. I felt like I was in the best hands. He was so caring and so warm - he will be so missed.
April 18, 2011
I just read of Dr. Sheftell's passing. I have been living in Hawaii for the past 4 years and found myself having to reach out to the mainland, for the migraine help I received when I lived in Ct. I can't tell you how many times Dr. Sheftell was there for me, even at the most inconvenient times. There could not be a person more in tune with my suffering.
What a tremendous contribution he made to humanity and what an equally tremendous loss to us all.
With much respect and sympathy,
Sandra Greenberg
Sandra Greenberg
April 17, 2011
I was a patient of Dr. Sheftell's the last 8 years and I do believe he saved my life a couple of times. He cannot be replaced and I will miss him terribly. It sounds like he was as special a person to his family as he was to his patients. I recently viewed his singing of "Migraine Blues" on You Tube. It sounded like he was having a great time, a change from his "other" job. It was my privilege to know him.
Joline Woodhead
April 17, 2011
Karen, I was so sorry to hear that Fred has died. What a terrible loss. I'm so sorry. He was a great guy and an excellent doctor. He will be missed by all who knew him.
Les Krasnogor
April 16, 2011

I was very sorry to hear of Fred's passing. One memory I have of him was at a party, at Twin Lakes, where he was dressed as a cowboy and sang country and western songs and played a guitar. We had a lot of fun that nite. If you can keep remembering all the good times with him it makes the pain of his passing a little bit less. My thoughts are with you and your family.

Judy DeMott
April 16, 2011
I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your husband. May the strength you receive from family and friends help you get through this difficult time.
With deepest sympathy,
Jan Homicki
April 15, 2011
Our deepest sympathy and sincere condolences to you and your family on your loss.
Steve & Katie Greenberg
April 15, 2011
Dr. Sheftell was a wonderful doctor, always willing to listen to my concerns and needs, I will not forget him. Prayers and thoughts are with friends and family...
Andrew Sindell
April 15, 2011

Paula and I are very saddened to see Fred pass. We have known both of you for many years. Fred helped me in many ways when I started my practice and I even worked at the headache center for a while. We also consulted on many clients in the early years. Our deepest condolences to you and your family.

Reid and Paula Daitzman
April 15, 2011
My heart is so heavy with sadness with the news of Dr. Sheftell's passing. I have been a patient of his for 20 years. He was God sent to me after many doctors could not provide me with the help I needed for severe migraine pain. My husband would always accompany me and enjoyed visits with him as well. He was the most wonderful, special doctor and friend in the world. Fond memories will remain in our hearts forever. He will be deeply missed by so many.
Esther Blade
April 15, 2011
We were so sorry to hear the sad news about Dr. Sheftell. Our daughter was one of his patients for the last four years and we went along with her and got to know him well. Our deepest sympathy to his family. He was a very special doctor to our daughter and we know that he will be deeply missed by us and many others.
Kate, Judy and Warren Terwilliger
April 14, 2011
I was so deeply sadened today to hear about Dr Sheftell's passing.My thoughts and prayers go out to his whole family.I was one of his earliest patients in Cos Cob.He changed my life.I could not function due to the headaches and he kept trying to find me something that would help me so I could care for my young children. I can not begin to tell you how wonderful he was when I lost my son.He always was a good listener and such a kind person and will be missed.
Linda Teres
April 14, 2011
Please accept my deepest sympathies.
Saiid Rastegar
April 14, 2011
My sincere condolences to Jason and the entire Sheftell family. I was a school/sports friend of Jason's back in the 70's and 80's, and have nothing but fond memories of Dr. Sheftell from my various visits to your home, Jason's and my baseball games at Chestnut Hill Park, etc.... He was always welcoming and happy to see us kids having fun together. I also recall he might have had the first BETAMAX video player we ever saw, which was pretty cutting edge at the time! I can only assume he continued to stay up with the latest technology in the intervening years!

Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. Best regards,

Scott Judd
Chicago, IL
[email protected]
Scott Judd
April 14, 2011
We are so sorry for your loss. Dr. Sheftell was a compassionate, brillant doctor who truly cared about his patients. He will truly be missed.
Susan DiBiccari
April 14, 2011
I will miss him very much. He has been an important part of helping me with my headaches over the last four years. I will remember him always.
Teri Merisotis
April 14, 2011
As I told you in person and in my letter you helped me immensely and made a major difference in my life. No other professional provided the understanding and tools to solve and manage a migraine problem as you did for me and for so many many others. Rest in Peace, Jim Brown
April 14, 2011
In rememberance of Dr. Sheftell for his help in my quest to get rid of my migraines...
Jackie Spector Linder
April 14, 2011
It was a great priviledge to have crossed
paths with Fred ...I cherish his You Tube
April 14, 2011
It was a great priviledge to have crossed
paths with Fred ...I cherish his You Tube
Art Spivak
April 14, 2011
Dear Karen, Jason and Lauren:

I was deeply saddened to hear about Fred. I know what a valiant battle he fought and I can only assure you that this painful time will eventually be transformed to only wonderful memories of happier times. I will see you over the weekend.

Lots of love,

Elaine Harris
April 13, 2011
Karen and family,
We are deeply sorry for your loss. We respect and admire your love for the man, his work and what he has given to many. May you find some solace in witnessing his gifts through many.
Karen and Marcia / Stamford
Karen Horn
April 13, 2011
Fred's memory and legacy will forever endure. Headache Medicine has benefited greatly from his pioneering efforts and his friends have benefited greatly from his wonderful sense of humor, and his reassuring and supportive way. He will be dearly missed by all who knew him. With my deepest sympathies to all of you,
Christine Lay
April 13, 2011
Dear Karen, Jason & Lauren,

Words cannot express our sorrow or the sympathy we feel at this time.

It was a pleasure working with Fred at Liberation House and that part of my nursing career I will always cherish and we will never forget how beautifully he played his guitar and sang at St Mary’s Cathedral for Jody’s wedding. Surely he was a part of our family.

As you may know, we are now in Florida and cannot be with you tomorrow, but through our thoughts and prayers we hope to be with you in spirit.

We send our Love, may God Bless You and your Family
Pam & ED Breakell
April 13, 2011
Karen - Jason & Lauren,

Our deepest sympathy to all of you. We know at this time - your hearts are aching but try to hold on to all the memories & love that you all shared with Fred.

All our love....
Mary Ann & Carl Tooker
April 13, 2011
Karen, Lauren and Jason.
Our heart aches for your and our loss of one of the most sensitive, intelligent and loving human beings. He will live on in our hearts and minds and we know he is not gone, just "around the next corner". We can always talk to him. May you find comfort in all your wonderful memories.
Love Henry and Linda Rubinstein
Linda Rubinstein
April 13, 2011
Dear Karen,
My wife Leslie and I send our heartfelt condolences at the loss of this much beloved man. Fred was a friend, colleague, mentor, supporter, and all-around great guy. His combination of compassion, humor, intellect, commitment, and respect for others in our field was unparalleled. He chose to devote the major part of his career to the treatment of head-pain, but when he sang the Migraine Blues, we could all feel the joy that can emerge out of suffering. And he sustained a loving relationship with you and his children that always left a good feeling when we saw you together. It was a privilege to have known him, and we grieve his passing. Al Lake (Ann Arbor, MI)
April 13, 2011
Karen and family:
My heart hurt when I heard about Fred's passing. He was such a kind, caring and special man. It is because of him that I will get on an airplane and I truly think of him each time I board the plane and I have not had a migraine since I first saw Fred 20 years ago. I will always remember him playing his guitar. He was truly a one of kind gentleman.
With sincere sympathy to all of you
Judi Forstadt
April 13, 2011
Our sincere condolences to Dr. Sheftell's family. We pray God's comfort and peace during this difficult time. He is much loved and appreciated and will be sorely missed. My daughter has been his patient for the past 5 yrs and we are grateful for his care. -Carrie Porter (Rowayton, CT)
April 13, 2011
Dear Karen, Lauren and Jason,
We are so sorry for your loss. May time soothe your pain and may warm and wonderful memories of your beloved husband and father make you smile again.

With our sincere sympathies,
Ronnie and Mike Wiederlight
Ronnie Wiederlight
April 13, 2011
To the Sheftell Family:

How sad my wife and I were to hear about Dr. Sheftells passing.

My deepest condolences for the loss of a wonderful man. My wife Ane Torres has been a patient of Dr. Sheftells for almost 10 years. Through those years he helped my wife out tremendously and also provided us with a wonderful friendship. I will have lasting memories of my visits to his office with my wife. We talked about the New York Yankees, his music, his love of his family, and his life in general.

My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.
Elvis Torres
April 13, 2011
Dear Mrs. Sheftell:

The physicians and staff of the Fairfield County Medical Association were sorry to learn of the death of your husband, Fred D. Sheftell, MD. He was a valued member of the association since October 1973 .

May we extend our sincere sympathy to your family and wish you all well. Also, please do not hesitate to give us a call if we can be of assistance.
Mark Thompson
April 13, 2011
My sincere sympathies to the family and co-workers(joann&georgann) of Dr. Sheftell. I have been a patient since 2001 and was grateful to have gotten one last hug a few weeks ago from the man that not only helped me, but also helped my family cope with my illness. He was a great doctor, a great man, and he became our friend. I loved him, and he will be missed. Our hearts are with you Mrs. Sheftell and your family. Ane & Elvis Torres
Ane & Elvis Torres
April 13, 2011
Too soon, too soon... My condolences especially to his family but also to all of us who have lost the wise, warm and empathetic counsel of this truly exceptional healer.
Claire Steiger
April 13, 2011
I've been a patient of Dr. Sheftell for the past two years. As with many others, he helped be greatly in treating my headaches. He will be missed not only for his medical skills, but as a warm and gracious man. My sincere condolences to his family on their loss.
Ron Neff
April 13, 2011
My condolensces are extended to Fred's family and loved ones. It was indeed a privilege to have known and shared a laugh or two with such a good soul. I will never forget Fred's committment and compassion for his patients. May Fred's family find comfort in the kind words from friends and may time allow the happy memories to once again bring smiles.
John Campbell
April 13, 2011
He was a friend, companion and counselor. He was one of a kind and his memory will be his legacy. We will smile when we think of him and that is the way he would have wanted it. Matthew Forstadt (Las Vegas, NV)
April 13, 2011
April 13, 2011
Fred Sheftell will be remembered as a wonderful human being. My sincere condolences to Fred's family, co-workers (Alan) and friends. Alex Feldman M.D. (Sao Paulo, Brazil)
Alex Feldman
April 13, 2011
My heartfelt condolences to the family of Dr. Sheftell. I have a patient of his since 1987 and Dr Sheftell was truly a remarkable man. Whenever I was there for my checkups, he would always ask about my mom who was also a patient and who was completely cured of her migraines by this gentleman, Dr. Sheftell. Words cannot express how grateful I am to have known Dr Sheftell.
Our prayers are with your family and everyone who has ever been touched by this remarkable man. The world has lost one loving and compassionate man.
God Bless and keep you wrapped in His arms.
Debby Dandry
April 13, 2011
Karen, Jason, and Lauren...Fred was a great man and I am just one of many whose lives were better for having had the chance to work with and learn from Fred. He has left a legacy that will endure. Thanks to each of you for sharing him with all of us who worked with him in the headache field. My prayers will be with you.
Rob Nicholson
April 13, 2011
I believe I was one of the last patients to see Dr. I had so much respect and admiration for him. He helped me so much. He will be sorely missed.
Jo Ann Brown
April 13, 2011
To the Sheftell family - my deepest sympathy. I was fortunate to have been a part of Drug Liberation Programs while Fred was there, learning from him, and still using the tools he taught me in treatment of substance abuse 37 years later. Rest in peace, Fred
Jackie Santagata, Shelton, Ct.
April 13, 2011
I'm so sorry to hear of your husbands passing. May God provide your family peace and strength during this time.
Melodye Colucci
April 13, 2011
April 13, 2011
Our deepest condolences to you and your family.

Jim and Patty Notorio
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
April 13, 2011
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