Charles Neuville Aprill MD passed away peacefully on April 27, 2021.
He is survived by his children Jane Crystal Aprill (husband Antonio Flores); Susan Elaine Aprill (husband Richard Coraccio); Kelly Kathleen Aprill; and Stuart Charles "Chuck" Aprill; by his brother Donald Raymond Aprill (wife Joy Aprill) and his sister Germaine E. Aprill (husband Richard Tajak); his grandchildren Vincent Anthony Flores-Aprill and Victoria Elaine Flores-Aprill; his nieces Natalie Aprill Gorman and G. Ryan Aprill; his nephew Justin Charles Aprill; and his long-time Girl Friday and best friend MJ Axinn.
He is predeceased by his beloved wife Jane Elizabeth Gardner Aprill; his parents Charles Neuville Aprill Jr. and Elaine Townley Aprill; and his oldest son William Townley Aprill.
Born in New Orleans on September 30, 1941, Charles lived most of his life in his native city, though he spent his boyhood in Franklin, LA, on Bayou Teche. He received his BS in biology from the University of Notre Dame in 1963. In June of that year, Charles married Jane. They were together, equal partners and co-conspirators, for 54 years.
After completing his MD from LSU Health Sciences Center, internship in mixed medicine at Charity Hospital, and residency in radiology at Oschner Medical Foundation, he served in the US Navy Active Reserve, and was honorably discharged as Lt. Commander. Dr. Aprill worked as staff radiologist for the Naval Hospital Pensacola (FL), Rosewood General (Houston, TX), East Jefferson General and St. Charles General (both New Orleans). He was a Clinical Assistant Professor for both LSU and Tulane University, in Radiology, Orthopedics, and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He was a founding member of the Spine Intervention Society. In 1987, Dr. Aprill opened a solo practice to diagnose and treat adult patients with spine disorders.
Though he practiced general radiology and nuclear medicine through his career, he focused on the spine. Beginning at a time when little was known about the causes of back pain, he created a new framework for spinal medicine. He adopted and improved existing procedures and methods, then perfected new ones. He developed a highly respected technical proficiency. He helped his patients heal and brought them relief from chronic and debilitating pain.
As his expertise grew, he found like-minded colleagues and created programs for post-doctoral fellows. He collaborated on ground-breaking research, gathered raw data and clinical observations, and developed ideas for testing and validation. He lectured, presented, taught procedures, developed training programs, created video coursework, and wrote numerous articles and textbook chapters. A notoriously entertaining speaker, he travelled the world to share his knowledge. As his work brought relief to his patients, his ideas unfurled across the medical community. He won the recognition and acclaim of his peers, earned uncountable awards and honors, and made significant advancements in his field. He never stopped exploring the presumed limits of spinal medicine; he just blew past them.
As much as he shared, Charles also collected. He and his wife Jane raised, educated and supported five children (each one was his favorite). They built a legendary collection of antique glass, mostly blue (each piece was his favorite). He was Gaga Carly to his grandchildren (they were both his real favorite).
His home was full of the strange and the wonderful, a cabinet of curiosities where he played the most entertaining, adventurous host. Magnificent and magnanimous, he held court for family, life-long friends, brand-new acquaintances, passers-by, the delivery guy, and everybody in between. He entranced small children and charmed surly teens. He delighted in a deep mystical connection to whales and dolphins. He never met a hat too silly to wear. He fully embodied every costume he ever wore. He could credibly pass for Jerry Garcia and Ignatius J. Reilly. He loved books over 500 pages and the tv at full volume. He sang loudly, not always on key, but with unstoppable enthusiasm.
He was complicated and simple, modest and extravagant. He found his own truth and upon it, built an extraordinary, singular world. In a deceptively humble outer shell, he contained multitudes – deep intellect, superlative skills, rollicking humor, whole-hearted silliness, loveable teddybear, big ego, bottomless soul. His loss is mourned by family (immediate, extended and chosen); thousands of patients; loyal long-term staff; medical students and fellows; practitioners of spinal diagnosis and treatment; the Needle Jockey Club and the Society; the antique bottle collecting community; his slow-marching, still-standing Mardi Gras krewe; the cetaceans in his pod; and all others drawn into his wake.
He is esteemed and beloved. He is profoundly missed, never to be forgotten.
A visitation will be held on May 15, 2021. Details will be available via Jacob Schoen & Son or by leaving your contact information for the family here.
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