I think, once he had come to terms with the good and the bad of playing an iconic and culturally significant character, he was willing to accept that Spock had been a positive influence on a lot of people. In the later years he showed a good deal of pride, and really he and other members of the cast were quite influential in a very positive way.
And, from the perspective of the Star Trek franchise, I think Nimoy has to be given a lot of credit. His portrayal of Spock made him probably the most popular actor of the cast (Bill Shatner has talked in the past of how he got a bit jealous that the bulk of fan mail during the TOS run usually came for Nimoy).
While I don't think much of the reboots, I think there's a reason that Abrams got Nimoy to reprise the role, and showed little interest in Shatner reprising Kirk. Spock is a touchstone character, and if you're going to try to bring some credibility to your reboot, you're going to want to pick that kind of a character for the job.