Dr. George William BAGBY II
1923 - 2016
Heritage Funeral & Cremation
508 North Government Way
Spokane, WA

Dr. George
William II

Dr. George William Bagby II - surgeon, inventor, humanitarian, and "force of nature," died peacefully at his home on December 12, 2016. He was just shy of his 94th birthday, yet was still making plans for the future despite his failing health. The man "who never took NO for an answer" finally acknowledged that it was time to let go.
George was born in Waco, Texas on February 7, 1923. His mother, Rita (née Bolger) was widowed three times and married four. George was ten when his father George Sr. died. Rita remarried and moved George and his sister Caryl (Fenton) to Wheaton, Minnesota. George's stepfather, Jared 'Doc' Burton, a veterinarian, mentored George and inspired him to pursue a medical career.
George attended Temple Medical School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as an inactive private in the U.S. Army during World War II. At the war's end he was a general practitioner in Cannon Falls, Minnesota for four years. He married Connie Hanson in 1948 and had the first two of his four children before reenlisting as a captain in the Army. He served as a surgeon at the 171st Evacuation Hospital in Korea.
Returning stateside, George trained as an orthopedic surgeon at the Mayo Clinic graduating in 1956. During that time he designed a self-compressing bone plate for long boned fractures, the first of his many medical inventions.
George is best known for designing and patenting the first metal "cage or basket" to be implanted between two vertebrae to create bone to bone fusion. This device revolutionized spinal surgery by reducing surgical and recovery times for patients. His colleagues regard him as the "father of modern spinal fusion." The initial Bagby Bone Baskets (BBB) were implanted in horses by George and surgical veterinarian Barrie Grant. The baskets corrected a degenerative spinal disease known as Wobbler's Syndrome, which caused weakness or paralysis in the back legs. The racing and breeding careers of many horses were saved by the BBB and its successor the Kerf Cut Cylinder (KCC). The most famous recipient of the KCC was the Triple Crown winner, Seattle Slew.
After many successful surgeries in horses, George teamed with Dr. Stephen Kuslich. They developed and patented the Bagby and Kuslich (BAK) implant for use in humans.
Inspired by his Texan relatives, who were Southern Baptist missionaries in Brazil, George used the proceeds of his inventions to support many educational institutions. His greatest achievement was to fund the Nalta Hospital in Bangladesh in partnership with Dr. Ruhal Haque and support from local and international Rotarians.
He traveled to the hospital 20 times always accompanied by an amazing team of devoted and talented volunteers. His family wishes to thank them all for their service.
At 83, George retired but never stopped working on a variety of projects. He has enthusiastically supported the Spokane community for over 61 years by contributing to the Shriner's Hospital and joining Orthopedics Overseas, Spokane South Rotary, Spokane Valley Lions Club and the Unitarian Universalist Church.
He loved to play the banjo, sing, fish and hunt. He completed the Bloomsday Run countless times. At 90 he walked his last Bloomsday in five and a half hours with only the street cleaners left to watch his gallant finish.
George is survived by his four children - Bill (Carla), Jon (Melinda) of Spokane, Mary (Morri) Murphy of Auckland, New Zealand, K.C. (Mark) Wilson of Anchorage, Alaska; grandchildren - Yancey and Cali Bagby, Sam and Caitlin Wilson, Brooke and Robin Murphy, Sol (Lena), Sadie Bagby and Brianna, Sydney and Tessa Gardiner.
A celebration of George's unique and amazing life will be January 6, 2017 at 2 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4340 West Fort George Wright Drive, Spokane followed by refreshments at Mukogawa Commons, 4000 West Randolph Road, Fort Wright Institute.
In lieu of flowers, you may wish to make a donation to Mobility Outreach International (formally known as the Prosthetics Outreach Foundation) at mobilityoi.org or at 192 Nickerson Street, #201, Seattle, WA 98109.

Published by Spokesman-Review from Dec. 17 to Dec. 21, 2016.
To plant trees in memory, please visit the Sympathy Store.
Celebration of Life
Unitarian Universalist Church
4340 West Fort George Wright Drive, Spokane, WA
Funeral services provided by:
Heritage Funeral & Cremation
Add a Message

Not sure what to say?

16 Entries
A fine man a life well lived a wonderful family rest in peace Sonny and Pat Anderson
December 28, 2016
a life well lived a long life completed condolences to a wonderful family sonny and pat anderson
December 28, 2016
I was a patient of Dr. Bagby in the summer of 1959. I was five years old and took a bad fall while riding my tricycle. My left elbow was broken in the growth plate, and my arm was dangling in the wrong direction. Dr. Bagby set the break with a long screw and placed my arm in traction. I was in the hospital for two weeks and he came in every day and adjusted the traction which hurt like the dickens! He was so nice to me that I didn't stay mad at him. I found out years later that he was very concerned that my arm may not grow after the break. I had a monthly appointment in his office after he removed the cast and he measured my arm every time. My arm did grow thanks to my skilled and caring surgeon. My mom who was an RN felt strongly that the outcome would not have been as good with any other orthopedic surgeon in practice at the time. I know this is long, but I wanted you all to know what a huge difference your wonderful father made in my life! My condolences to you all,
Maureen McKenna Jones
Maureen McKenna Jones
December 27, 2016
The Washington State Veterans Cemetery extends our deepest sympathies to the family of Dr. George W. Bagby II for your loss. We honor him for the service and sacrifice he made for our nation, he is a true hero.
December 24, 2016
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
December 21, 2016
One of a kind and a great teacher. So many orthopedic colleagues will miss him.
December 20, 2016
As George's fitness instructor for many years at Sacred Heart Medical Center, he was a continual source of inspiration to me. He possessed a true fun of life, was a little sassy and was packed full of charisma, I truly loved him! Sincere condolences to the entire Bagby clan.
Sue Madsen
December 20, 2016
Kind, thoughtful,encouraging, humorous, gentleman. God bless, glad we crossed paths many moons ago. May peace be with the family...:-)
Mary Albi
December 19, 2016
Wishing you peace in this difficult time Mary, we trust the love of your family will make it easier. Love from Tricia and Gilbert
Tricia Fitzgerald
December 18, 2016
Life's Work Well Done.
Barrie and Vaughan Grant
December 18, 2016
From the entire Gregory family, I'd like to offer our condolences to your family. As a young child on Maple Street here in Spokane, Dr. Bagby and his family were the perfect family to have as neighbors! I have to say as a young child then, I'll never forget his banjo playing, it was fantastic!
Jane Gregory
December 18, 2016
An amazing man, and humanitarian, who will be missed by many. His legacies will live on throughout our lifetimes. So sorry for your loss.
Mark & Debb Moldenhauer
December 18, 2016
Our sincere condolences to the family of George Bagby. It was a pleasure to spend time with George when our two families gathered together in New Zealand for a Christmas some years ago. His achievements have had an impact worldwide. It is a privilege to have his daughter Mary as a sister in law.
Haere ra George.
Anne and Greg Murphy
December 18, 2016
Having never Met George....I learned of this amazing Mans life and Legacy through his Daughter K.C......His contribution to Science and Medicine are incredible, but he also raised an amazing group of Kids with his wife Connie!! So sorry to hear of your Dads passing K.C. !
Jill Warburton
December 17, 2016
As a friend of Dr. Bagby's son John, I wish to offer him and his family my condolences.
Thomas Gray
December 17, 2016
Thank you for your service to our country. Rest in peace.
December 17, 2016
Showing 1 - 16 of 16 results