Dr. Neil G. Blatt practiced podiatry for nearly 50 years.

Dr. Neil G. Blatt practiced podiatry for nearly 50 years. Credit: The Blatt family

The idea of retirement just didn't appeal to Dr. Neil G. Blatt, a podiatrist for nearly 50 years. 

He couldn't bear the thought of leaving his patients for good. He would miss them too much, he often told his wife of 51 years, Maxine.

“He just always wanted to help,” said daughter, Stefani Cohen, 46, of New Jersey. “I think he got great comfort knowing that he was helping his patients. He really enjoyed talking to them."

Blatt, from North Hills, died April 21 from complications of COVID-19 at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, his family said. He was 74.

Blatt also battled stage 4 colon cancer for the past two years, his family said.

Blatt’s main practice was in Bayside, Queens, with a secondary office in Woodside. He also practiced at the Charles Evans Center and Adults and Children with Learning Disabilities, both in Bethpage. Until last year, he would routinely work a 70-hour week, his family said.

“He’s just one of the most engaging, peaceful and non-stressful people I’ve ever worked with,” said Dr. Christine Brown, chief medical officer at the Charles Evans Center. “His patients just loved him. They loved how he spoke with them and how he involved them in their care. That’s really particularly important for people with developmental disabilities because they want to know that their voice is being heard and that their thoughts are important in managing and driving their own care. He made them feel that.”

Shortly after Blatt’s death, his family was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love they received from his patients.

“I’m not surprised that they loved him so, but I guess it just didn’t really register how much,” said daughter Jessica Smith, 49, of New Jersey.

Born July 21, 1945, in Brooklyn, Blatt grew up in Flatbush. He moved to Bensonhurst as a teenager and met his wife while attending Brooklyn’s Lafayette High School. The couple married on Aug. 11, 1968, at the Huntington Town House. They moved from Brooklyn to Nesconset in 1974 and moved to North Hills in 1997.

Blatt’s love for Maxine grew stronger as the years passed, but he never forgot where that devotion started. When a teenage Blatt spotted Maxine from across a crowded theater in Brooklyn, he turned to his friend and proclaimed that he would one day marry her.

“Whenever I would say, ‘I love you,’ he would say, ‘Me first,’ said Maxine Blatt of North Hills. “They’re many wonderful people in the world. He was definitely one of them.”

In addition to his wife and daughters, Blatt is survived by two grandchildren, Alexandra and Ryan. He was buried at Beth David Cemetery in Elmont, his family said.

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