Flickr / Creative Commons / Emmanuel Huybrechts

Wilson Greatbatch invented the implantable cardiac pacemaker, keeping millions of hearts beating in rhythm.

Inventor Wilson Greatbatch “whose invention of the implantable cardiac pacemaker has kept millions of hearts beating in rhythm” died at age 92, according to the Associated Press obituary.

“In a lifetime of inventing, Greatbatch received more than 150 national and international patents, including one for the pacemaker, which was first implanted in humans in 1960. Today, hundreds of thousands of people worldwide receive them every year.”

Greatbach frequently visited schools to tell children about careers in science.

“His message to students: Don’t fear failure, don’t crave success. The reward is not in the results but in the doing.”

Greatbach, who lived in Buffalo, New York, “challenged the next generation of inventors to develop nuclear fusion with a type of helium found on the moon to replace fossil fuels, which he said will be exhausted by 2050.”

He also worked toward finding a cure for AIDS, the obit said.

Here are a few others who played a role in the development of pacemakers, including one who devoted all his resources to raising frogs for pacemaker research.

John Aderhold went from being a “frogman” in World War II to raising frogs for scientific research. His frogs proved to be essential to pacemaker research.

Dr. Samuel Camarata implanted the first pacemaker on the west coast in 1963. He was also a pioneer in open heart and thoracic surgery.

Charles Del Marco was a pioneer in the design and manufacturing of pacemakers and other implantable medical devices.

Herbert Goldberg was an inventor who helped develop the first demand heart pacemaker and an advanced EKG monitor, as well as the refractometer and advanced instruments for the Army.

David Macgregor was a doctor who developed a new biomaterials concept to improve the design and performance of pacemaker leads, artificial heart valves, heart assist devices, synthetic blood vessels and stent-grafts.

Edward St. John was a chip designer who help to pattern a chip that was instrumental in the development of the pacemaker.

And here are just a few of the many who have benefitted from Greatbatch’s invention.

A pacemaker allowed Roy Faber to continue his active life working with the Lake Monticello Rescue Squad.

Marion Suttle thanked a pacemaker for giving her more time with her beloved children and grandchildren.

Jayne Speizer had a pacemaker implanted and proceeded to travel around the world, visiting Europe, China, Honduras and Belize, and hiking on a glacier in Alaska.


This post was contributed by Alana Baranick, a freelance obituary writer. She was the director of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers and chief author of Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers before she passed away in 2015.