Russell W. Neuhaus, M.D.

  • Born: November 27, 1950
  • Died: May 24, 2013
  • Location: Austin, Texas

Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705

info@wcfish.com
Tel. (512) 452-8811

Tribute & Message From The Family


Russell W. Neuhaus, M.D., devoted husband, beloved father, and dedicated physician passed away May 24th, 2013 after an epic and spirited fight against complications from Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.

Russ was born on November 27th, 1950 to Verna Buller Neuhaus and Arthur J.H. Neuhaus in Omaha, Nebraska. They lived on a farm on the outskirts of Omaha, where he spent the first eighteen years of his life. From childhood he tended the livestock in sub-zero weather with his younger brother Lowell, taking his chores as seriously as his toys.

In school, Russ distinguished himself early on. He immersed in math and science, where he received multiple academic honors, including graduating at the top of his class. He also cultivated a delight for the unexpected: during a high school staging of "The Sound of Music," his mother, who was in the audience, was surprised to see her reserved, brainy son waltz out on stage as Captain Von Trapp.

With his father at the wheel, and his mother in the backseat balancing a lamp on her lap, Russ left the farmland of Nebraska for the lakeside campus of Northwestern University in 1969. There he tried many things for the first time: sideburns, polyester suits, his first and last beard. He gravitated toward electrical engineering, which he loved for its logic and pragmatism. When his parents came up for his graduation, he told them not to be disappointed if he didn't receive any special recognition. It turned out that Russ was awarded the school's top prize for math and science and graduated summa cum laude. Inspired by like-minded students in his fraternity Sigma Nu, and encouraged by his professors, he decided to pursue medicine after graduation. The field's combination of scholarship and service to others appealed to him.

Trading snow for humidity, Russ chose to attend Baylor Medical School, where he graduated with honors and was selected for Alpha Omega Alpha, an honor medical society. During his time in Houston he made several lifelong friends, several of whom later settled in Austin. He enjoyed taking breaks from studying to tour the then-foreign Texas countryside. He fell in love with Austin. (He did not return until he'd fallen in love with a person, too.) He went to Los Angeles to complete his internship at the UCLA Medical Center and ophthalmology residency at the Jules Stein Eye Institute, followed by an oculoplastic fellowship.

During his residency, Russ went on a double date with a friend. While his own date didn't go very far, he found a match with Cecilia, the love of his life. (Her date didn't go very far either.) After a yearlong courtship of roller-skating down the Santa Monica Boardwalk and sharing ice cream sundaes, Russ and Cecilia married on December 15th, 1979. They lived for almost three years in a cozy bungalow in North Hollywood. In the summer of 1982, when Cecilia was six months pregnant with their first child, Laura, they packed up and moved to Austin, Texas. While Cecilia flew to her new home, the couple's grandmothers arrived to help Russ drive their belongings across the southwest, cementing a lifelong friendship between the two grandmothers.

1982 was a big year for Russ. He opened up a solo practice, hanging his shingle at #9 Medical Arts Square, which he bought from retiring ophthalmologist Otto Lippmann. He purchased a new house near the Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church and assembled his first crib.

A slim rolodex and 20% interest rates were offset by a lot of grit. Russ's bets paid off. The practice gained momentum, and in 1987 he expanded to the 3rd floor of Austin Medical Plaza. Over the next ten years his professional skills grew dramatically. He taught residents and medical students at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, a custom kept up for the rest of his professional life. He published and lectured at medical schools and seminars in the United States and abroad. Russ also helped the FDA with early trials of botulism, which became better known as Botox, and later a cornerstone of his practice. He was committed to his own professional development and valued the time he spent serving the larger medical community through the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Travis County Medical Society, and the Outpatient Ophthalmology Surgery Society Board of Directors.

By 1997 the practice was bustling, and Russ recognized it was time to expand. His trusted friend and colleague John Shore joined the practice. Russ was thrilled – he had long admired John's professionalism and integrity. With a handshake they built a new practice, Texas Oculoplastic Consultants, and expanded it to several satellite offices serving the central Texas community. TOC flourished, adding an operating suite, CAREOS, and later an aesthetic medical spa, Toccare.

Several other distinguished physicians joined the TOC team and helped build the practice, including Sean Blaydon, Todd Shepler, Tanuj Nakra, and Malina Amato. Russ forged close relationships with his colleagues, and was pleased to mentor those of the next generation. Russ understood the importance of each member of the office staff, and prided himself on how long many served. Most of all, Russ excelled -- and reveled -- in the joy and comfort his care afforded his patients. When asked by his children why he became a doctor, he answered without pause "it was the best way I could think to help people."

At home, his family knew Russ for his tireless commitment to family life: cuddling and reading to Laura and Eric every night when they were young, volunteering at innumerable football, swim team, or crew activities at St. Stephen's, and toiling in the heat beside Cecilia in their (well, her) beloved rose garden. His love for his children knew no bounds – which his daughter tested frequently by rolling his hair in plastic pink curlers while he napped. Russ relished family vacations. He often recalled fond memories of playing with Eric and his Hot Wheels collection in a remote cabin in the Rockies, lighting an arsenal of Fourth of July fireworks at the family farm with his Nebraska family, and strolling across the promenade deck on a cruise ship, hand in hand with Cecilia.

After Laura and Eric grew up and left home, Russ loved to visit them – and they loved to see him. With his family alongside him, he attempted to expand his culinary horizons in Hong Kong where Laura studied abroad, and gamely joined the barefoot throngs in crowded temples in India, where she moved after college. He cheered Eric on from the stands at Rice football games, and drank Gatorade while bonding over yard work in Houston where he lived after college. Each special visit was punctuated with so-bad-they're-good one liners, wry commentary, and quiet moments when he shared his admiration for them. While Russ harbored a soft spot for corvettes and classic cars, his most valuable possessions were perhaps his 1970's work shirts riddled with acid spills, paint smears, and barbed wire holes.

A few years ago Russ fulfilled a lifelong dream of returning to his farming roots, when he and Cecilia acquired a "ranch-ette" near Elgin, Texas. He delighted in the company of the windmill and the glorious Texas sunsets, a small herd of cattle, and the simple pleasures of working the land. He perused the Tractor Supply catalog with the enthusiasm of his youth. He relished taking Laura's Yankee fiancé Jonathan to a Bastrop boot emporium to properly outfit him with boots and hat, choosing to overlook the fact that he had no cattle. When Eric moved back to Austin, together they discovered their inner ranchers. Side by side they mowed the grounds, sited and installed the windmill, debated the best brand of barbed wire, and spent many Friday nights hauling loot from the feed store. Against Russ's better judgment, Eric fruitlessly pursued feral hogs.

He was dearly loved and will be forever missed by his wife Cecilia, daughter Laura and fiancé Jonathan Zittrain of Cambridge, Massachusetts, son Eric of Austin, brother Lowell, nephew Matt, and nieces Samantha and Kelly of Omaha, as well as numerous cousins in Nebraska. Preceding him in death are his parents Arthur and Verna, and older brother Neil.

The family would like to extend their deepest gratitude to his primary physicians William Deaton, Jack Bissett, and Michael Kasper for their unsurpassed medical expertise and dedication. Also integral to his care were doctors Brad Winegar, David Morris, Lloyd Berg, and William Wierda.

The family extends its profound appreciation to the ICU, IMC, 4 North and Endoscopy nursing staff; his respiratory therapists including Isidro, Liz, and Jeff; his physical therapists including Martin and Emily; and his occupational therapist Donna. These generous members of the Seton staff treated Russ with complete professionalism and respect, taking their time to get to know him as an individual. By virtue of their unwavering commitment, they forged a unique bond with Russ. They became a powerful support team, rooting for him until the very end.

The family also wishes to thank the many friends and colleagues who visited throughout Russ's extended hospitalization. Their visits brought cheer and encouragement.

Visitation will be Friday, May 31st, 2013 from 5:00 to 7:30 pm at Weed-Corley-Fish North Lamar location. Memorial services will be held at 11:00 am, with a reception to follow, Saturday, June 1, 2013 at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church. Those wishing to may also attend the graveside service at 6:30 pm at Austin Memorial Park, with Pastor Tom Grevlos presiding.

A fund at Austin Smiles and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has been established in honor of Russ. The direct links are listed below:
http://www.austinsmiles.org/?nd=donate_summary


Services


Condolence & Memory Journal

Dear Ceci. I came across Russell's obit more or less at random. That's awful -- it's too young. I'm so sorry. What you wrote exudes how your life was good together. What a blessing. Con mi afecto.

Posted by Don M    November 12, 2015

We are saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. Neuhaus.
I am a former patient of Dr. Neuhaus. In 1996 our family was in a horrific automobile accident traveling from Austin to Houston. I had multiple lacerations to my head and face, my left eye was severely injured (could not open my eye). I was given little hope that this could be repaired. BUT THENwe were referred to Dr. Neuhaus and because of his excellent care and skillful surgeries I am able to use my left eye again! Dr. Neuhaus was a kind, compassionate, and highly skillful physician/surgeon and we are forever grateful to him. Our deepest sympathy to his family.

Judy Shows

Posted by Judy Shows - Kountze, TX - Patient   September 30, 2014

Our world has suffered a great lost. Dr. Neuhaus was a genuine person. He was funny, smart, pleasant, and most of all, sincere. He was a good person inside and out. He has been the BEST employer that I have come to work for.

My condolences go out to his wife, Ceclia, his daughter, Laura and his son, Eric.

We have another angel cheering for us. Heaven definitely has got their hands full in order to keep him occupied.

Dr. Neuhaus will be deeply missed.

Always,
Josie Gomez

Posted by Josie Gomez - Hutto, TX - former worker - insurance managr   June 04, 2014

Candle

My kinds and belove memories to Dr.Neuhaus,I was his patient back in 2000,he assisted me and my family during my eyelid and eye surgery,I remember him as very good and professional doctor,In that time I was a medical student,And I want to mention that Im a Doctor right now and Ill never forget his words''Be a Doctor and Be a person with your patients''.

I will never forget your words Dr.Russ.

To his family my condolenses

Posted by ALEX LOPEZ - MONTERREY,MEXICO, TX - PATIENT   May 05, 2014

I'm very sorry to learn of Russ's passing. I so enjoyed his wonderful personality in our Sigma Nu house at Northwestern. I reconnected with him some years back, and saw that he was the same great Russ that I'd known from college.
My deepest sympathies to his family and friends on this loss

Posted by Dwight Grimestad - Decatur, IL - fraternity brother   February 01, 2014

I'm so sad to hear this, I was just calling to get an appt. I loved Dr. Neuhaus!!! He was always so kind and reassuring.

Sincere condolences to his family, friends, and patients...

Posted by Christine Cosner - Austin, TX - Patient   August 12, 2013

Candle

It's been over two months since we lost Dr. Neuhaus and not a day goes by that I don't miss his kind, open face, smile, and quirky humor. He was the best "boss" I ever had, and consistently was a fine friend, employer, teacher, and mentor. I respected his so-obvious and unshaking commitment to what he valued and loved: his family, his work, his patients, his community. He recognized the best qualities in others and seemed to encourage those in every interaction with me over the 15 years I've worked for him, always listening, always fair. And as a nurse, I've never seen any person fight harder to hold on to life: not from fear, but from sheer determination to remain with so much that he loved. Although physically he's gone, his presence is felt every day in the practiced he loved and created, and in my undying respect and affection.

Posted by Meredith Brown Brethe - Austin, TX - Friend, admirer, employee   August 09, 2013

Russ was a friend who I first met when I interviewed for residency at UCLA. We had dinner together and went to watch the movie "Animal House" in Westwood. At the time, I had no idea he would become an oculoplastic surgeon.

We became professional friends based on that connection and spent a lot of time together at meetings. Russ was my guest in Pittsburgh, when I invited him to speak to our opthalmology society. He wanted to drive to my home so he could say hello to my wife. He was very talented and too young to die.

I will certainly miss him and want to extend my sympathies to his family.

Gary Weinstein, M.D.
Pittsburgh, PA

Posted by Gary Weinstein - Pittsburgh, PA - Friend   August 08, 2013

Yesterday, I was talking with a friend who has a slight drooping of her eyelid. I told her I had ptosis surgery in the fall of 2009 and detailed my very positive experience with Dr. Russell Neuhaus (who was recommended to me by Dr. Shannon Wong). I told her he was highly skilled and experienced, kind, friendly, professional, and did a perfect job on my eyelid. So, she asked for his contact information and I went online to get it for her. This is when I found Dr. Neuhaus's obituary. It's probably the first time I ever broke down and cried for someone I had only seen three times in my life. Maybe it's because every day when I look in the mirror (and every time I do not have to Photoshop one of my pictures!), I am grateful to Dr. Neuhaus. I will never forget what he did for me and I am glad I was able to tell him that at my post-op appointment. I send my deepest condolences to his loving family and friends.

Posted by Mare Winter - Austin, TX - Former Patient   August 01, 2013

We are so sorry to hear of Dr. Newhaus passing. He was such a beloved, devoted and caring doctor. I was one of his very first patients and all through the years he would make it a point to come to the waiting room and call your name when it was time for your appointment. The world has lost not only one of its greatest doctors, but one of the most caring and wonderful persons we have ever known. You shall truly be missed!

Posted by Millie and Ronnie Caywood - Rockdale, TX - Patient   June 19, 2013

I am sorry to learn of Russell's death. We lived two rooms apart on the third floor of Elder Hall our freshman year at Northwestern. We had not stayed in touch wih each other. My father died of CLL in October 1999. My deepest sympathies to his family

Posted by Brian Edward Brouse - Tulsa, OK - Lived on the same floor freshman   June 17, 2013

Candle

Dr. Neuhaus was always a pleasure to work with. He took great care of my patients and always treated everyone I saw him come in contact with with great excellence and respect. Russell, you will be sorely missed. My deepest condolences for your family and loved ones.

Oliver Lou

Posted by Oliver Lou - Austin, TX - Colleague   June 11, 2013

Dr. Neuhaus was one of the first colleagues I met in my rare trips to the Seton doctors lounge after moving to Austin, but that early contact was extremely fruitful. He was a great resource to me, and just a nice guy. My condolences to his family, colleagues, and patients.

Posted by Susan Dozier, MD - Austin, TX - professional colleague   June 03, 2013

Just want Dr. Neuhaus' family to know how much we enjoyed him coming to our clinic each month in Waco. Everyone at CTEC will miss him!

Posted by Debbie Lechner - Waco, TX - Administrator, Central Texas Eye   June 03, 2013

It was wonderful to know Russ for 34 years. He was a kind, talented person who will be missed so much by all who knew him. I know he will get all the angel food cake he wants in heaven !

Posted by Pamela Adlum Vigil - Austin, TX - Family friend   June 02, 2013

To Russ's family and brother Lowell...Deepest sympathy from one of your old country schoolhouse classmates. There wasn't many of us.....Randy Penke

Posted by Randy Penke - Papillion, NE   June 02, 2013

Dr Neuhaus performed eyelid repair surgery twice for me, the last a few years ago. Such a top professional but a sweet man as well. He will be missed by many. My condolences to the family.

Posted by Susan Hardy Vanhorn - Austin, TX - Patient   June 01, 2013

Our whole family was greatly saddened by this news. Our deepest sympathy to Cecilia, Laura and Eric on the loss of such an excellent husband and father. This is a loss that will be felt by the whole Austin community.
Pat, Tom and Ian Ricks

Posted by Pat Ricks - Corona del Mar, CA   June 01, 2013

we miss you love may may

Posted by maddie turpen - counil bluffs, IA   June 01, 2013

Doctor Russ Neuhaus made our medical community a much better place. He treated all with the graceful temperament that he possessed and spent his talents on the very best of patient care. He will be very deeply missed. Bill McCarron, MD

Posted by William McCarron - Austin, TX   June 01, 2013

My heart hurts for Cece, Eric and Laura - and Lowell - I have loved the Neuhaus family since my early teens. I am thinking about Russ at our 40th reunion - so obviously blessed by his beloved wife and cherished kids and profession he loved. I consider myself so lucky to have shared a friendship with him for 5 decades. Godspeed my dear friend -give your sweet parents and Neil -my love...

Posted by Gayle Givler Dean - Fsrmington   May 31, 2013

My deepest sympathies. Russ was such a fun person. I had several classes with him in High School. In Latin class we pulled him around in a chariot. Us girls were the horses. I am so glad I got to visit with him at our last class reunion.

Posted by Shelley (Smith) Whitman - Omaha, NE - High School Classmate   May 31, 2013

Dear Cecilia, Laura & Jonathan & Eric,

I am so very sorry for your loss of Russ. He started off in Omaha as a kind and compassionate young man and clearly carried those values to the end. I attended high school with Russ and everyone in our class admired him and liked him VERY much. He was so bright and yet so humble. I think all of us felt proud to have been the classmates of such a fine scholar and accomplished doctor. We were blessed to have known him.

Your obituary references to his life as a farm boy in Nebraska and to the small town values that he carried throughout his life made me smile with fond memories of Russ. He was a gentle, caring and happy young man who obviously became a wonderful, loving husband and father. Thank you for writing such a loving tribute to Russ.

Sincerely,
Patricia Higgins Greenberg - Omaha Burke High School - class of 1969

Posted by Patricia Greenberg - Boulder, CO - high school friend   May 31, 2013

Russ was a fellow of my father's during the early 80s at UCLA. I remember him coming over to our house in Encino, CA. He was so friendly and kind to me. I was just a kid basically, but he always treated me like a regular person. One of the greatest men, ever! My parents would like his family to know that they send their very best wishes and they hold Russ in the highest regard. I just moved to Austin myself. If I can be of any support or help, just say the word, and I'm there! Thanks so much, Barbie

Posted by Barbie Rebecca Eriksson - Austin, TX - daughter of Dr. Henry I. Baylis   May 31, 2013

Candle

From the perspective of a long-time OR nurse and employee: A great doc, great father, loved "the Wife" like a high-school sweetheart, great boss, great man.
You have left a big hole in our todays Russ.
Jimmy says, "be seeing you Dr. Neuhaus, Happy Trails."

Posted by Jimmy & Annabel Harwell - Wimberley, TX - Friend, Employee   May 31, 2013

Candle

I started working for Dr. Neuhaus twenty years ago. Through all those years I Iearned so much from him and he made me laugh everyday. I will miss "the big cheese" forever.

Posted by Theresa Allen R.N. - Austin, TX - Registered Nurse   May 31, 2013

Candle

A very well thought of man and Doctor prayers to his family, Judy Connor R.N.

Posted by Judy Connor - Austin, TX   May 31, 2013

When I think of Russ, I can't help but think of this picture. Full throttle on Lake Austin, iPhone clipped to his belt, a very functional hat, and a timepiece strapped to his wrist while relaxing. The man was O.N. Original Nerd and I loved him for it.

He was realer than real. For all he accomplished, he remained humble and soft spoken, grounded in his farm roots and sensibilities. If there were chores to be done, he'd be the first to tackle them, shooing away any offers of help. If there was a problem to solve, you could count on him to be the first at your side. He would do anything for his family. Anything.

In a culture obsessed with food, he found culinary joy in a Costco Pizza Pie. He was the only person I've ever known that actually called pizza, Pizza Pie. And he relished that pie as much as any celebrity chef's creation. He reminded me that simple can be subtle, and that who you're sharing a meal with, is more important than the meal itself. We shared a lot of great meals together.

What I'll remember most about Russ, is the generosity of his heart. He opened his doors to a stranger, welcomed me in as a friend, and made me feel a part of his family. I'll never be able to thank Russ, Cecilia, Eric and Laura enough for that. As often as I share the story of our meeting, I still can't believe it. It is a story of serendipity that is still unfolding, and I wish he was here to help write the next chapter.

On behalf of myself, and the Monks of Invention, we will miss you Russ, and take comfort knowing that you will find your way.

Posted by Moshe Tamssot - Chicago, IL - Family Friend   May 31, 2013

My deepest, deepest sympathy. Russ was such an awesome person! He was always kind and friendly to everyone. Many fond memories of high school include Russ. What a guy! My deepest sympathy to his family.

Posted by Sharon "Ewin" Housh - Omaha, NE - high school friend   May 31, 2013

To Family & Friends,

Many years ago, Doctor Neuhaus performed surgery on my eyes. The procedure was successful, conducted in a gentle and professional manner and permanently solved my vision problem. I am grateful for his services and sadden to learn of this death.

Regrets,

Charlie Whidden
Former Patient

Posted by Charlie Whidden - Spicewood, TX - Former Patient   May 31, 2013

I am deeply sadden by the loss of a fine gentleman to this community. A person who showed kindness to his patients and was respected by thoses who had the opportunity to have meet him. Russ enjoy this journey, you have served your GOD Well

Posted by Jerry Ressling - dripping springs, TX   May 31, 2013

Lowell,

What a shock to see your brother's name in the death notices. You and Russ were two of the finest students I had the privilege to know and have in class at Morton Jr. High.

My heart felt sympathy goes out to you and your family at the loss of Russ at such a young age. I am sure it is a big loss to the medical profession.

My God bless you and your families in this loss but what a great feeling to know Russ is in heaven with his Lord.

The Lord's blessings to you,

Posted by Jim Felten - Mesa, AZ   May 31, 2013

Heartfelt condolences to the family. Russ is one of the truly great guys in ASOPRS. I met him in 1987 or so and had quite a number of great interactions with him. He was always honest and straightforward. Sorry I can't visit with him more.

Posted by John Holds MD - St. Louis, MO - Professional colleague   May 30, 2013

A gentle, sincere and, so extremely smart that most never really knew him. A loss to all.

Posted by A friend   May 30, 2013

Russ was a uniquely special person and physician who suffered an untimely death. I was fortunate to have shared
professional experiences with Russ since his arrival to Austin in 1982. I shall never forget his outstanding skills, dedication and leadership in ophthalmology. I wish that he could have been cloned!
Cecilia, know that we share your loss.
God bless you and your family.
Sue Ellen Young Knolle, M.D.

Posted by Sue Knolle - Austin, TX   May 30, 2013

Russ was an awesome person! We were in many classes together in high school. He was such a brilliant and warm person. We had so much fun in musicals and math classes. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Posted by Gayle (Slaughter) Bradley - Grand Island, NE   May 30, 2013

Dear Laura, please accept my personal condolences. My thoughts are with you and with your family today. I know that everyone here at the CHSI feels the same. If I can do anything, just let me know.

Mes sympathies, jfg

Posted by Jean-Francois Gauvin - Cambridge, MA - Friend & Colleague   May 30, 2013

We were so sorry to learn of Russell's passing and want you to know that you and your family are in our prayers! Alice and Charles Travis

Posted by - CA   May 30, 2013

We have lost another "great" Doctor and Man. The Seton OR halls will never be the same. We will miss his smiling face.

Posted by Linda Bauer - Austin, TX - Co-worker   May 30, 2013

Of all the ophthalmologists in Austin, Russ was the kindest. Whenever there was an ophthalmology meeting he made it a point to reach out to me and share kind thoughts and perspectives with me. He was a great role model. When I needed his help about how to run our own practice Russ gladly shared his knowledge. He was magnanimous and unselfish. He took great care of his patients and loved his family. I'm thankful that my wife and I were able to visit Russ just 2 weeks before he passed away. Russ will be missed by all. God bless.

Posted by Shannon Wong - Austin, TX - Friend   May 30, 2013

Very sorry to hear of Russ's passing. I was two years ahead of Russ at Burke, but knew and liked him. Brilliant. A loss for all... with deepest sympathy.

Posted by Mort Mortensen - Atlanta, GA   May 30, 2013

As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life's routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends.

Posted by A friend   May 30, 2013

Candle

He was such a great Mentor, he truly loved his patients and staff.
He has so many funny sayings that we all use around our office.
He loved to hide behind my monitor to scare me. He valued his relationships in all areas of his life. He is one of the most caring, wonderful person I had the blessing of having in my life.

Posted by Geneva Grant - Austin, TX - Office Manager   May 29, 2013

Dear Cecilia,

We are so sorry for hard times you and Russ faced. We think of you and you always have our prayers. Much love, Lynn Langley and Jim Eskew

Posted by Lynn Langley - Austin, TX - friend   May 29, 2013


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