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Kristen Upchurch
May 29, 2020


UPCHURCH, Kristen, age 51, passed away from cancer in her home, surrounded by her mother and friends, on 5/29/2020. Dr. Upchurch was a Yale College and Harvard Medical School graduate. She trained extensively in the neurosciences and completed her Neurology Residency at Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals in 2003. She was working at the Boston VA as a neurologist at the time of her death. Dr Upchurch started work at VA Boston Healthcare System in 2012 where she completed back to back fellowships in Epilepsy and Cognition followed by staff appointment in Neurology. She helped develop several clinical innovations in practical use of ambulatory EEG and in the development of VA epilepsy support groups. Her general neurology practice at Brocton VA was filled with many grateful veteran patients who travelled great distances to receive her care. Dr. Upchurch was known by staff, residents and students to be a passionate neurologist and teacher who would never stop advocating for her patients, even after they left her office. H er energy and enthusiasm directed at the care of neurology patients will be greatly missed by patients and staff. She was grateful for the privilege of serving Veterans and for the opportunity to work with other VABHS colleagues, especially Patricia Lehane RN, Elizabeth (Liz) Tienhaara, Azzedine Hammoudi, Caroline Munyao, Dr. Rose Domingo-Horne, Dr. Soumekh, Dr. David McCarthy, and Dr. Neil Kowall. Through her work there, she was honored with multiple awards for patient care and clinical research, including the VA innovation grant and Henry Christian Award from American Federation for Medical Research. Kristen was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer 9 years ago. She worked right up until her death and in between her work as a neurologist, she spent time going to the Galapagos, Costa Rica, Miami, crewing for a 25 mile international swim event, getting 3 rd place at Kingdom Swim, spending time in nature particularly her favorite location Walden Pond. Kristen inspired everyone she met to make their lives an epic adventure. With great generosity and boundless enthusiasm, she loved to share with others the joy she found in nature and culture. She lived life to the fullest by attending plays, doing open water swimming, and helping others around her. Kristen was an amazing physician, daughter, sister, aunt and friend to so many lucky people. She was kind and compassionate. She was so full of life and love. Kristen is survived by her mother, Joan Gist Upchurch, father Robert William “Bill” Upchurch and wife Rebecca, brother, Kyle Upchurch and wife Kimberly, nieces Lauren and Kate Upchurch; half-brother and half-sister Blake and Brooke Upchurch, aunts Carol Gist Parker and Dorothy Cotton Lazarus, her dear cousins, and Daniela Klaz who she considered her adopted daughter. Kristen loved to participate in the many activities of the Mass Audubon, and she would have loved for her friends and family to learn about and support the conservation and preservation work for which she cared so deeply. Donations in Kristen’s honor can be made to the Mass Audubon Fund for Nature:

A small memorial gathering will be held at Walden Pond on June 6, at 8 AM.

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Gormley Funeral Service
2055 Centre Street
West Roxbury, MA 02132