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Dr. Scott Mackler, 55, Physician, Researcher

November 26, 2013 By:
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Dr. Scott Mackler

Dr. Scott Andrew Mackler, a prominent physician as well as scientist who earned four degrees over his lifetime from the University of Pennsylvania, died Nov. 14 after a 15-year bout with ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

The Newark, Del., resident was 55 years old.

Associated as a professor with Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine, the gifted physician and researcher was known for his pursuit of answers in science’s shadows. He and cohorts famously discovered a protein at the source of drug addiction.

Mackler received a raft of awards for such discoveries and had a major honor named after him: The Scott Mackler Award for Excellence in Substance Abuse Teaching is presented annually by the Penn medical school.

The much-published physician was a Fellow of the American College of Physicians.

Mackler remained committed to research until his dying day, and was a familiar sight at the John Morgan Building on the medical campus. Wheelchair-bound, he relied on the electro-technology called Brain Communication Interface to communicate. 

His Jewish associations and acts of tzedakah were many. A camper, and then counselor at Camp Harlam, he served the Jewish camp later on as its longtime doctor. 

Mackler also was involved with American Friends of Bar-Ilan University through a family foundation and engaged in charitable acts for a number of other Jewish causes and concerns. 

The former kibbutznik — working a college summer at Yiftak Kibbutz — served on the board of the Jewish Federation of Delaware as well as the board of University of Dela­ware Hillel; and was a life member of Hadassah. He was also a frequent visitor to Israel.

It seemed when he wasn’t studying and teaching, Mackler was running. Indeed, the 14th annual Scott Mackler 5k Run/

Walk, benefitting ALS, was presented just weeks ago at Temple Beth El In Newark.

The inveterate marathoner also was passionate about soccer, coaching his kids’ team and playing until he contracted ALS.

His protean talents — and lust for life despite his deteriorating condition — were a source of a segment on 60 Minutes in 2008.

For his expertise and achieve­ments, Mackler was accorded the Order of the First State by Delaware Gov. Jack Markell.

At Mackler’s memorial service, Markell was reported to have told the some 1,000 mourners gathered: “While he lived with the disease that disabled him, he never let it define him. His spirit dominated everything he did. His family was incredible, they showed what love and grace are all about.”

 Randi Windheim, his sister, reflected on the family’s loss as well as society’s: “I have never met anyone with more courage than my brother. His outlook on life has inspired thousands of people worldwide,” she said.

“Scott was a family man first and foremost, followed closely by researcher, educator, friend, philanthropist and role model. Despite the devastating prognosis 15 years ago, he never lost his faith and outlook on life.”

Indeed, she added, his wife, Lynn Snyder-Mackler, “closed the memorial the same way Scott ended all his presentations, with the song, ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.’ ”

In addition to his wife and sister, Mackler is survived by two sons, Alexander and Noah; and a brother, Harvey.

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