November 29, 1953 ~ December 9, 2020

Born in: India
Resided in: Pueblo, Colorado

Pueblo mourns physician whose laughter was a part of his healing
Tracy Harmon
The Pueblo Chieftain
Dr. Atul Vahil’s death was attributed to COVID-19, according to his son Neel Vahil.
Vahil, a native of India, made a big impression on Puebloans for his generous, attentive care and ability to share a light-hearted love of jokes.
Vahil founded Digestive Diseases Specialists of Colorado in 2001 and opened the Pueblo Endoscopy Suites — Pueblo’s only local independent, outpatient endoscopy center, in 2004.
He is survived by his wife, Lilly, and sons, Neel and Nalin.
The family did not want to talk about the circumstances of his death.
“I called my dad ‘Pop,’ — he was my hero,” Neel said. “He taught me about values like duty, service, generosity and how even the worst jokes can wash away the harshest parts of life.”
“He had a wonderful sense of humor and not a day, not an hour, went by without him telling a joke. I remember his fabulous laugh and ability to joke, but at the same time he was generous and open with his patients,” said Brenda Caver-Torres, a coworker.
Vahil was triple board certified specialist in internal medicine, gastroenterology and clinical nutrition, according to his website.
“I went to work with him in December of 2003 — he actually hired me before I graduated from nurse practitioner school,” Torres said. “I helped him open the surgery center in 2004 and graduated the same year.”
“He let all his patients know he was there for them day, night, weekends and holidays. He gave out his cell phone number to patients because he wanted to hear how they were doing,” she explained.
Vahil’s son Neel agreed about his father’s devotion to his patients.
“He had a job he loved dearly that enabled him to serve a community with dedication and love. His entire life was dedicated to serving others and making them laugh even in the most difficult situations,” Neel said.
“He took good care of his staff and he was a fabulous doctor. Southern Colorado was blessed to have him as their doctor, and I am going to try to carry on his legacy the best I can,” Torres said.
Neel recalls how his dad spent all night comforting him when at the age of 16 he found and drank a bottle of wine and a couple of warm beers in the garage and became quite sick.
“He was the person who called me five times a day when I went through a breakup or didn’t perform well on a test in medical school. When I was in pain, he was in pain. When I was happy, he was ecstatic,” Neel said.
Neel said his dad lived an incredible life filled with love for his community, patients, family and friends.
“He was stubborn and he lived by a moral code that he refused to surrender for anyone. In 67 short years, he was able to achieve things in medicine and relationships that I can only dream of achieving.
I am quite simply in awe of my father. The thing I am proudest of in my life is that I was his son,” Neel said.
Vahil’s love of life spilled over to Pueblo.
“He loved this city. Even when he was on vacation, he couldn’t wait to get back to Pueblo to go back into work, see his patients and exhibit his magnetic charisma and unbounded humor,” Neel said.
“I miss him dearly and he will always be with me and my family. If there is any solace for me, it is that he lived an amazing life, saw his children grow up to embody his values, had a love for his wife that burned like a fire I’ve never before seen, and got to dedicate his life to the cause of service through medicine.

I always thought we would have more time with him, but I know as I look at the life he lived and how he lived it, that he is eternally at peace. I love you more than the world Pop,” Neel said.

Chieftain and Pueblo West View reporter Tracy Harmon can be reached by email at tharmon@chieftain.com or via Twitter at twitter.com/tracywumps.

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Guestbook

  1. CandleImageSo very sorry to hear of the Dr.’s death. My daughter & I were both patients & she was the one to inform me. God bless you all thru this holiday season.

  2. I had to really think about how I wanted to write this, and all the memories I have with him and the double trouble appointments with Erica. In 2006 I was a super sick lady with my Crohn’s and in the ICU. A team of doctors were tasked with basically saving my life, and Dr. Vahil was one of them. And that’s where our partnership as patient & doctor began. He was one of those doctors that made every patient feel like they were his favorite (even though I really believe I was). His office was an example of this. Packed with patients and always running late. He didn’t believe in sticking to the 15 minute allocated appointment times, as he wanted to really give each patient the time they needed. He was a doctor who gave out his cell phone (I still have it in my phone), in a time where healthcare was a business and no longer patient based. He was with me when both Ainsley & Porter were born, giving his congratulations but ultimately making sure I was okay. One of my favorite memories with him, is how much he enjoyed seeing my belly grow with Ainsley, he was so excited that I was “plumping up and looking like an Oompa Loompa.” He was with me through numerous hospitalizations, many different medications, blood clots, heart stents, and finally my ileostomy surgery. I last talked to him when he called after we first moved to Texas, to see if I found a GI as amazing as him. I told him that was impossible, he’s one of a kind, and without skipping a beat he replies “Yes, I know this.” My heart and prayers are with his sweet wife, his sons, his office staff & the thousands of patients he made feel like they were his favorite.

  3. Dear Mrs. Vahil and sons, I am so sorry for the loss of your dear husband and father. He was such a wonderful man and Doctor. He will always be in my heart. Many blessings!

  4. I enjoyed working with Atul over the years that he practiced gastroenterology in this community. To learn of his death was a horrible shock and his loss will be felt by many. He was an excellent physician, a dedicated and caring husband and father and a wonderful person. His sense of humor was boundless. He was my colleague, my gastroenterologist and my friend. I will always miss him.

  5. CandleImageTo The Family of Dr. Vahil, What an extraordinarily blessed family you have, with, what must have been a steady stream of humor & gratitude! Surely 1 or more of you acquired/ inherited these genes:)) so that his legacy for GOODNESS will live on!!!! I’m still in shock and emptiness in my gut & heart. Knowing that he gave me keys to healing my gut overtime…so will this heal with time. But always to remember him! I will look forward to experiencing his joyful soul again one day!
    God Bless You All With Peace & Understanding & The Strength To Carry On His Will. Thank You For Your Daily Actions In The Care For Us!!!

  6. I was so sad to hear the passing of Dr.Vahil, He took care of both my husband and myself. He always calmed my fears and would tell me don’t worry I’ll take care of it. He was an amazing smart man he will be truly missed by so many. Rest in peace you worked so hard taking care of so many.

  7. There are times when words are not sufficient to express the depths of feelings. Please accept our heartfelt condolences–we will miss out friend and colleague greatly.

  8. Mrs. Vahil and family : My husband, Dr Louis Balizet and I , would like to express our deepest sympathy to you and your family about Dr. Vahil’s passing.
    My husband practiced oncology and worked closely with Dr Vahil. Your husband , always with a smile, always said yes to whatever problem my husband presented him. My husband was and is so grateful that Dr Vahil would help and and intervened with the problem.
    I personally , was intervened by him several times , and I was so grateful for not only his expertise but his kindness and gentleness.
    We all have lost a great human being! You and your family have lost such a wonderful husband and father.
    Im so sorry for your loss. It’s inmensurable!
    My thoughts are with you and the family.
    Affectionately,
    Mrs. Lydia Balizet
    Pueblo, Colorado

  9. CandleImageLilly, Neel, & Nalin,

    There are simply no words that can truly show my feelings for your loss. Dr. Vahil or rather “Doc” as I always called him, meant the world to me as do you and the boys. Doc was so full of life, always ready with a joke or prank. His passion for his job and family was like no other. Doc is one of the rare finds..always available and comforting. My heart pours out to the three of you in this time of loss. He will be greatly missed by many. Love and Hugs to you all. Love you Doc..I will miss you.

  10. Lilly, Neel, and Nalin,

    It was with great sadness that we learned of Dr. Vahil’s passing. The Pueblo community has suffered a great loss as he will be greatly missed by those whose paths he crossed. At a loss for words, just devastating.
    Ed and Diana Johnson

  11. CandleImageWe are still in shock… Atul you were a man of so many great things in life. We adored spending time with you and Lilly. Many fun memories and many laughs. You both were so proud of your handsome boys – I know they will be ever bit as gracious in life as you…. we will miss you so on earth but your impact and friendship will never be forgotten. I will vow to keep your memory alive in my heart and live, love and laugh like Atul did… love you Lilly. You and your boys are in our prayers. RIP Atul 😢

  12. To the Vahil family,

    I can remember meeting Dr. Vahil for the first time at St Mary Corwin when I had just become a baby nurse. I soon learned he was a prankster and his patients loved him. He was down to earth, approachable and was willing to teach. I have so many memories of jokes and snarky comments over the last almost 20 years. His comedic funny nature never changed and thankfully my husband got to experience this first hand just this last year. I will forever be grateful for his willingness to teach me during my masters clinical, for our funny conversations and for his friendship. Our community lost an amazing human. To his wife Lilly, his sons and family, please accept my deepest condolences.

    Marisa Phillips

  13. CandleImageI am so sorry to hear of Dr. Vahil’s passing. He was my doctor and he was always so kind. I did not know his family but my heart goes out to them. Blessings on all of the family during this difficult time.

  14. Some people just have a way of making you feel special! Dr. Vahil was that kind of man.
    We valued and respected him. Praying for strength for his family.

  15. Dr. Vahil was one Outstanding physician, friend and person. I was one of his grateful patients. I sent him numerous consultations which he managed superbly, professionally and effectively. My patients loved him and the way he managed their problems. He always went out of the way to help. He is a real loss to the Pueblo community and to medicine in general.
    My sincere condolences to his family.
    Carl Bartecchi, MD

  16. Dr Vahil was an outstanding individual. He was a role model for me. I would light up when I gots his and Brenda’s reports. When I took a position a little outside of Pueblo, I referred patients back into his practice as much as possible, without question. He took care of my wife and family like he would his own. He was a mentor, teacher, colleague and a friend, to so many… He still is and will be one-of-a-kind, and I know he is blessed with peace. This, as is for everyone he counseled inspired or even just met, hard for me…I live a private life so I can focus on the love I hold sacred for my family. He was the same. He helped so many patients and touched so many lives, in ways others inspire to do. My heart goes out to his family. You will be missed while waiting to see you again my friend.

    —Dr And Mrs Kasey McCreight and family —

  17. To the family of a wonderful and talented man. May God take him to a special resting place with family that have gone before.h

  18. Vahil Family,

    Dr was a dear friend to me. He was a valued mentor and colleague. He taught me so much about life, the science and art of medicine. I will carry his values with me thru the remainder of my career and life. He was a strong family man. I will always remember how his face would light up when I asked about his boys. He was soooo proud of his boys. He loved his wife Lilly beyond words can describe. Know you were loved Lilly!
    Atul…, you will be missed my friend. Rest In Peace…

    Jade & Annie Norton and Kids

  19. We are so very sorry to hear about Dr. Vahil‘s death. It seems unreal that he has left us. Such a wonderful man, such a great doctor! He took real interest in his patients and he was loved.
    Our Hearts go out you his family.
    Sincerely,
    Karin (Katharina) and Tom Hill

  20. Our thoughts and prayers for Dr. Vahil’s family and office staff. Dr Vahil gave our son compassionate care as well as us. We are grateful. We will remember him for his professionalism and the sharp dresser he was.

  21. My husband and I thought the world of Dr. Vahil He was a very special doctor who always had time and compassion for his patients. We are so very sorry for your great loss.

  22. I was a patient. Dr. Vahil gave me good care. I am sorry he has passed. His passing is a loss to the Pueblo community.

  23. Jerry and I are deeply saddened to hear of Dr. Vahil’s passing..He was caring and professional..We send our condolences to his family, and may you all find peace in knowing how many people cared and loved him…

  24. CandleImageI have lost a God like figure…. If there is God then that is him for me. He was always there in good times as well in hard times. He knows how to balance things. According to hindu mythology if one can balance things he is a complete human being. Gita says “A person, when dies, his soul leaves the body only, the mortal world and then enters the immortal one. It still has a journey to continue in another form”… I pray let that another form be my family. Always always miss you gpapa. Love you a lot

  25. It is hard to believe that my elder brother has gone.I hv very fond memories of growing up with him.He was my role mode, a mentor and a father like figure.The way he loved and cared for us even being miles apart is comandable.He always had my back.A part of my heart has gone.life without him will not be same.Love and miss u for ever.

  26. Dear Family if Dr. Vahil, I knew Dr. Vahil because I’m a nurse and have fond memories of him from working at Parkview in the past. We have also been patients of Dr. Vahil and remember his funny sense of humor. I’m so sorry for your loss. Suzanne Kashani RN

  27. CandleImageDr. Vahil was my doctor for quite a few years. His leadership as a physician was evident in the kind and efficient manner in which I was treated. He was always honest yet gentle. It was a joy to be in his presence. We have lost a truly remarkable doctor. My sympathy to his staff and his loving family.

    \

  28. Dearest Lilly, Neel, and Nalin,

    I send my deepest condolences to your family. What an honor and privilege to work for Doc and to spend hours laughing, learning, and helping patients along side a true legend to this city. I will be forever grateful for my time spent with Doc.

  29. CandleImageI am deeply shocked to hear the sad demise of my brother Dr. Atul Vahil. May God give Lilly, Neel and Nalin sufficient courage to bear this ir-repairable loss. May the departed soul soul rest in peace. 🙏

  30. CandleImageLilly, Neel and Nalin,
    I’m so heart broken to hear of Dr Vahil’s passing. He left a lasting impression on anyone he met. I’m thankful for the opportunity to work with him and learn not only medicine but life lessons. I loved his sense of humor and his caring heart for all. May he rest eternally in peace.

  31. CandleImageI was privileged to know him and call him a friend. His sense of humor was unsurpassed. Quite a remarkable individual to say the least both professionally and personally. A grave loss for our Pueblo community. Lily, my prayers are with you and your boys.

  32. CandleImageI’m am so sorry for your loss. He has truly made such a positive impact In our community. He will never be forgotten.

  33. CandleImageRIP Dr. Vahil. You were such a wonderful Dr. so compassionate, funny & friendly and of course always professional; not just to your patients but to our Parkview family as well. You will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.

  34. CandleImageDr. Vahil was the best doctor. He helped me a couple months ago when i was very ill. Im so very very thankul for him. Its truly beyond words. He was a life saving doctor!!! I wish i could have told him again THANK YOU❤🙏

    Im sorry for his familys loss. He was amazing. God bless his soul

  35. CandleImageAtul was an outstanding physician and a wonderful person. People who were patients of his would confide in me how pleased they were with his care and expressed nothing but admiration for his skills and his charm. Our annual Christmas party highlight was his Brittany Spears impersonation, his humor and his energy are deeply etched in my family’s memory. He enriched the lives of all who met him and I for one bow down my head in respect and share the overwhelming grief of the Vahil family. Rest In Peace Atul !

  36. CandleImageWe are incredibly heartbroken for your family and, frankly, don’t know what to say. Dr. Vahil was a great man and, along with Lilly, raised two incredible sons. Thankful that his humor and care for others has been instilled in them.
    Our prayers are with you all.

  37. CandleImageMy condolences to the Vahil family. Dr. Vahil was a caring and gentle man. He always made me smile when giving care. He will truly be missed! Heaven gained a beautiful soul!

  38. So very sad to hear that my dear doctor passed away. I am a long time patient and got to know first hand how he gave care and comfort. The world lost a beautiful soul but heaven gained an angel. My prayers for the family he left behind.

  39. CandleImageLily, our deepest sympathy to you and your family in the loss of your husband. He was a great doctor with a great sense of humor. He will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  40. My deepest condolences to the family.
    Dr. Vahil was a wonderful man and doctor and will be greatly missed. May he Rest In Peace.

  41. CandleImageDr. Vahil was an amazing doctor and friend! I could call him anytime to discuss a patient and he would always get them in quickly! He was funny, charismatic and just an overall terrific person! I am deeply saddened with his passing and Pueblo has lost an amazing person! My prayers are with his family!

  42. your husband and father was truly a great doctor and more importantly a great man. He made such a difference in the public community. He always manage to cheer the nurses up whenever we were down. He will be greatly missed my deepest condolences.
    Chris Volk, RN

  43. CandleImageMy heart felt condolences to you all. Sad day! I am so very thankful for the care he has given my mother for the last 20yrs. You will be missed. God bless

  44. Such a huge loss to his family and our community. Prayers to you Lilly, Neel and Nalin. He will always hold a special place in my heart.

  45. When I found out Dr. Vahil was ill, I put him on every prayer list I knew. I just found out last night that he died, and am in shock. I worked with him as an Endoscopy Nurse at Parkview. He was sweet, charming, and made us all laugh! He will be greatly missed! God bless his family and give them peace!

  46. CandleImageCondolences to the Vahil family, Dr vahil will be greatly missed. My prayers are with your family in this time of sorrow.

  47. CandleImageMy deepest condolences to the Vahil family. I worked at St. Mary-Corwin for 15 years and had the honor of working with Dr. Vanilla. He was brilliant and full of life. I hope that all of your memories help you through this difficult time.

  48. Dr. Vahil was such a great guy and a wonderful physician! I will always remember his great sense of humor along with his compassion. My condolences to the family on your loss.

  49. CandleImageI worked at St. Mary Corwin around Dr. Vahil. He was always kind, funny and great to be around. He was probably the kindest Doc I know. I’m so sorry to hear of his loss. You all are in my thoughts.

  50. My condolences to the family of Dr. Vahil. He was my Dr. for many years and my friend. I am in shock and so saddened by his recent passing. I will really miss him.

  51. CandleImageSorry to hear about Dr. Vahil passing , I use to work with him & he was GI Dr. he was such a great guy – I’m sending thoughts and prayers 🙏🏻To his family
    Cathy Hoffman

  52. CandleImageDr. Vahil and Lilly are the best people I know. I am so blessed that I got to work with him and know him. He cared about his patients, family, friends and staff so much and was an amazing person. Nothing will ever be the same for me and I will always miss him but I know I will always have him with me in my heart and in my memories. Lilly, Neel and Nalan sending you my love and prayers my heart goes out to you and although he is not physically present he is still here.

  53. CandleImageTo the Vahil family — My heart goes out to you. I cannot believe Dr. Vahil is gone — his kindness and smile will always be remembered. He would tell me, “No, no there is no reason to be afraid.” With deepest sympathy. Rest in peace doctor.

  54. CandleImagePrayers sent to Lilly, Neel and Nalin during this difficult time. Dr Vahil will greatly missed by so many. I am grateful I got to work with all of you and learn so much. Rest easy boss.❤🙏

  55. John and I are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our friend, Dr. Vahil. What a wonderful person as well as an outstanding physician. Our love and sympathy to the Vahil family.
    John and Amy Kunstle

  56. Dr. Vahil was a wonderful doctor and a wonderful man. I have gone to him for many years. He will be missed. Prayers to the family🌹

  57. So sorry for your loss. He was my doctor and my husband’s as well. He was a very nice man and would make a person laugh with his jokes. My condolences to the family.

  58. CandleImageDear Heavenly Father, I can not thank you enough for letting this precious soul cross my ♡. I know you’ll just love him! He’s so caring and funny! Please take good care of him.
    Please hold his family in your loving arms.
    Thank you for healing me Dr. Vahil.

    Loving thoughts and prayers! ❤️🙏

  59. CandleImageA wonderful Dr. With so much caring and compassion. A terrible loss. My condolences to his family and the entire city of Puebl

  60. Lilly, Neel, and Nalin, my deepest sympathies. I will be forever grateful for everything he did for Aidan and I. His laughter, jokes, and his kindness will be missed.
    Rest In Peace Bossman. 💔

  61. Mrs. Vahil and family, Dr. Vahil was an amazing Doctor and human being with a passion for his work. Both my husband and I who were patients appreciated his wit and candor when we went in to see him. We will both miss his joking and his kind manner.

  62. I am very sorry for your loss. He was my personal physician and my husband often transported offenders to see him. Both of us were reminiscing tonight of his great sense of humor. He enjoyed what he did and it showed in his care. He will be missed as well as his family who also worked in the office. God bless you all.

  63. My thoughts and prayers are with you all during this most difficult time. May you find peace and comfort in the memories you made and the love you shared.

  64. CandleImageI’m so very sorry for your loss. Our loss. I’m going to miss Dr Vahil. His humor, caring and compassion. My mother loved him, he took the best care of her. RIP Dr. Vahil. Prayers to family and friends. 🙏