Vincent L Gott
April 14, 1927 – November 20, 2020
From a close friend and colleague, William A. Baumgartner, MD
I had the honor and pleasure of working with Vince beginning in 1982 when Bruce Reitz and I arrived at Johns Hopkins. For those of you who didn't know him, Vince was an incredible person, innovator, surgeon and teacher, mentor and great friend.
Some of Dr. Gott's accomplishments over his tenure as a cardiac surgeon included designing the first bi-leaflet aortic valve; as published in the journal Science, he demonstrated that pyrolytic carbon was resistant to thrombus (virtually every current prosthetic valve is made from pyrolytic carbon); he developed a shunt that was used, prior to the application of the heart-lung machine, for repair of thoracic aneurysms; he co-developed the first pacemaker with the eventual founder of Medtronic while at the University of Minnesota. When Dr. Mirowski sought out Dr. Gott to work with him on the clinical application of the first defibrillator, Dr. Gott, in his humble and gracious manner, asked Dr. Levi Watkins to take the lead. Dr. Watkins performed the first implantation of the defibrillator which helped Levi catapult his career.
As a clinical cardiac surgeon, he pioneered the Bentall procedure in the United States. He had the largest experience with this aortic root procedure with minimal mortality and morbidity. He became internationally recognized for this work which signed a bright light on Johns Hopkins.
Vince was a man for all seasons-for example he used to bike to work from Guilford; rock climb; sail and paint. Vince was quite the artist in addition to all his other talents. Vince was also a wonderful husband, dad and grandfather.
For me though, Vince was a wonderful mentor. He was a genuine human being who had respect for everyone at the hospital. His only curse words were "Gosh Golly!". He was loved by everyone.
Vince is survived by his wife of 66 years, Iveagh, and his three children, Deborah (Robert), Kevin (Donna) and Cameron (Kristi), and five grandchildren, Guy, Elise, Annie, Kellan and Katherine.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be given to the Vincent L. Gott, MD Professorship.
Checks payable to: Johns Hopkins Medicine Memo line: Vincent L. Gott, MD Professorship
Johns Hopkins Heart and Vascular Institute Development Office/Attention:Lisa Hammann 600 N. Wolfe Street, Blalock 536 Baltimore, MD 21218
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Vincent L Gott
November 28, 2020
I first met Vince when my husband Ken was recruited back to the Hopkins cardiology division. We bought a house down the street from them and their younger son started babysitting for us. Our sons were four and seven at the time. Cam was supposed to be babysitting for us one evening and when I answered the doorbell, there was Vince. Cam had gotten delayed and so Vince came to watch the boys. I must say I was a little intimidated telling the chief of cardiac surgery what to feed the boys for dinner and all about their bedtime. But he was so gracious and made me feel like it was no big deal. And to him, it wasn’t a big deal. Over the many years we lived by each other, we had many great times. At one of our Halloween parties, he even made a really great Abraham Lincoln! And he won the best costume prize. A truly remarkable man.
November 27, 2020
I believe I am one of the few people alive that ever heard Vincent swear. He and I were falling down a mountain together in Vermont on cross-country skis and the tail end of a large group of seasoned and capable back-country skiers, including his wife and sons, and my wife who had lead us into this particular "death march". We were, way over our heads technically as the tracks were firm but the snow beyond them was bottomless powder. Once you transferred your weight to a ski outside the tracks, it sank to your knee and that same leg came to an immediate stop. The rest of your biomass just kept going...The result is known amongst smug, back country "Svens" as, "a yard sale".
The temperature was well below zero, so each nose dive meant another coating of snow inside and under sweat-soaked clothing, because, as I forgot to mention, we had to climb this mountain to get into this predicament.
Right after face-plant #15, I heard it...a long, low string of vastly overdue Anglo-Saxon descriptive exclamations emanating from the disturbed surface of an otherwise perfect mountain scape of snow and sky...The very air turned blue...
The year was 1992, and neither of us were young then, but Vincent had me by 20 years. We managed to get off the mountain before Iveagh sent the St. Bernards to come find us, but I remember we had to apply multiple cocktails to our bruised egos that evening at dinner. I think I remember promising him that I would not tell anyone what I had heard him say until he was gone.
So now he is gone. And we are all poorer for it. It took a great deal to anger him, because he was built a patient, kind, curious and loving man. There are many thousands of people like me that are still alive because of the surgical science he nudged into practical service. But what I remember is my pal willing to try anything and enjoying it all. Goodbye my friend, see you at the bar...sbh
Mary Moser (Zempolich)
November 24, 2020
Dr. Gott was a wonderful man. A talented cardiac surgeon, compassionate human being, artist, and truly loved his family, residents, and friends. He came to Northern Virginia after my twins were born, around the beltway, from Baltimore--took I66E towards DC, instead of West, where I lived. Well, hours later, he made it, albeit frazzled---with flowers, a smile, and loved on those babies like I'll never forget. He always sent me a Christmas card (many he designed and made), and I feel honored to have known him. You are all in my thoughts and prayers and the world is a much brighter and better place because of Vince Gott. What a treasure he was on earth! He will be missed!!