OBITUARY

Huntly Drummond Millar

October 22, 1927April 11, 2016

Huntly Drummond Millar passed away peacefully at home on April 11, 2016 in Houston, Texas after a short illness.

Huntly was born in Montréal, Quebec on October 22, 1927 to Mary Dorothea Drummond Millar and Eric Albany Millar. He is survived by his wife of 54 years Glenda M. Thiele, their daughter Amy Elizabeth, granddaughter Emerald Joanne and their son Russell Eric Millar. He is also survived by his sisters, Dorothea McNiven of Montreal and Fiona Millar of Avignon, France, and many nephews and nieces.

An accomplished biomedical engineer and entrepreneur, he started his career in the early 1950s in Montreal, earning a Bachelor of Science from McGill University. He left Montreal in the 1950s to work with Dr. Les Geddes in the establishment of the Bioengineering department at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He continued his education with a Master of Science from the University of Houston, and a Diploma in Classical Physiology with Modern Instrumentation from Baylor University.

In 1957 he founded E&M Instrument Company, developing and manufacturing laboratory teaching instrumentation for physiology and pharmacology in medical schools. This company then joined Narco Biosystems in 1961. After eight successful years, he decided it was time for a change.

In 1969 Huntly founded what was then Millar Instruments, Inc. to develop catheter-tip pressure sensors for measuring intra-cardiac pressures. Starting from a workshop in his garage, the company is now known around the world for developing and manufacturing unique devices for invasive physiological pressure and volume measurement in the body. For the last forty-six years, Millar devices have been used by doctors and researchers to improve the lives of patients and aid in the development and testing of innovative, life-saving drugs. The company is now known as Millar, Inc. and carries on his legacy of producing innovative products for clinical and research use.

In addition to his successful business ventures, Huntly had a taste for adventure. An avid motorcycle rider in his youth, he also enjoyed downhill skiing, was an accomplished private pilot and a ham radio operator. His many adventures included a motorcycle trip with another rider across North Africa around the Mediterranean and through Europe shortly after the end of WWII. Spending time working in lumber camps in the forests of Canada also provided some tales of youthful adventure. He was shipwrecked in Hudson’s Bay in 1947 as a member of the crew of R.M.S. Nascopie when she ran aground on an uncharted reef.

He carried a love of the outdoors throughout his life. He enjoyed walks through the woods in East Texas and was skilled at handling a canoe. Family weekends in the country allowed him to share those endeavors with his wife and children, while also working in some relaxing fishing. By his side since 1962, his wife Glenda was instrumental in getting Millar Instruments off the ground. She played a very active role in the beginning of the business and then stepped away to be able to devote time to caring for their two young children.

He and Glenda traveled the world together, including Europe, Japan, Canada and the Caribbean. There was a special fondness for the scenery and people of Jamaica. While Amy and Russell were growing up there was a family tradition of spending two weeks around Christmas in the town of Runaway Bay on the North Coast of Jamaica. The days were filled with snorkeling over the scenic coral reefs, body surfing, reading and relaxing.

A recent joy in his life was the arrival of his granddaughter, Emerald. Once Emerald was old enough and showed an interest in swimming, they had a shared passion and would spend hours in the pool when she came to visit.

He was a gifted engineer and scientist, as well as very talented businessman. He had an optimistic outlook and worked very hard for the success that he enjoyed. Huntly felt privileged to have worked with many talented people and was very modest and humbled by the high regard he was held in by members of the professional community.

His innovative, high quality devices earned him the Laufman-Greatbatch Prize from the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) in 2001. The Laufman-Greatbatch Prize recognizes individuals for their outstanding service and/or accomplishment with a major impact on a specific medical device or on medical instrumentation in general.

He was a lifetime member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the world’s largest professional association for the advancement of technology, fostering technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity.

In 2011 the Houston Business Journal selected him as one of its “Health Care Heroes” in the category of “Innovator” for his 40 years of inventing medical devices to help diagnose disease in humans and contribute to the body of medical knowledge. He held twenty-eight U. S. patents on his inventions.

He endowed the Millar-Geddes Graduate Scholarship at Purdue University in 2015 and has underwritten the annual Cardiovascular Research Retreat at Johns Hopkins University since 2009.

The company that bears his name, along with its legacy and its people, was one of Huntly’s proudest achievements. Millar, Inc. stands as a shining example of Huntly Millar’s concern for the welfare of his employees and the quality of the products they produce. Always leading by example, Huntly Millar inspired research engineers and product assemblers to constantly strive for improvement, taking pride in developing and producing defect-free, innovative products on schedule. He was a pioneer in the field of medical research and his leadership will be missed.

As a beloved husband, father, and grandpa, his loss is deeply felt by the family he leaves behind. His was, however, a life well lived, and the happy memories far outweigh the sad.

Services to be held at:

Forest Park Lawndale 6900 Lawndale Houston, TX 77023 Visitation: Friday, April 22, 2016 5:00-9:00 p.m. Funeral: Saturday, April 23, 2016 11:00 a.m.

Donations:

Parkinson’s Disease Center of Movement Disorders

https://www.bcm.edu/healthcare/care-centers/parkinsons

By Mail: PDCMDC Fellowship Training Program #2280022206 Baylor College of Medicine Office of Philanthropy MSC #800 P.O. Box 4976 Houston, TX 77210

Services

  • Visitation Friday, April 22, 2016
  • Funeral Service Saturday, April 23, 2016
REMEMBERING

Huntly Drummond Millar

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Ronald Duke

May 9, 2016

Huntly was one of Idylwood's nicest residents. We will all miss him.

Chad Huston

April 29, 2016

I had the pleasure of working with Huntly on many of his inventions. His patience and insight were always revealing and generated many years of novel products for Millar. A renaissance man for sure.
Chad Huston, Austin, Texas

Michael O'Rourke

April 26, 2016

Huntly was a friend and an inspiration. At a time when I was trying to apply bioengineering techniques, introduced by Donald McDonald and Michael Taylor, to pulsatile phenomena in Cardiovascular Physiology and Medicine, I was taken by mutual friends to meet Huntly, and realised what a skilled craftsman he was. The work done since by my colleagues and myself could not have been commenced or continued without his sensors. The AtCor company in Australia owes its success and reputation to the tonometers made by Huntly as a modification of the miniaturised catheter-based sensor.

The transition from invasively-used, to non-invasive human practice showed a particular part of Huntly. I had been pestering him to make a tonometer, but clearly he did not want to do this until the product was robust and reliable up to Millar standards. After pressing him for several years, I told him that I had recorded my radial pulse by applying the (very sensitive) catheter sensor directly over my radial artery at the wrist. His response rings with me still OK, I will make your tonometer, but don't you ever again use one of my catheters in that way. I hadn't realised that in Huntly's mind, the products he made were always his, and needed to be cared for as would he.

Millar Inc., with Huntly in charge or at the bench was the foundation of my career, and of new approaches to pulse wave analysis.

My wife Margaret and I extend our condolences to Glenda, Amy and Russell.


Michael O'Rourke

Jonell Oliver Kurth

April 25, 2016

I was so sorry to hear of Hunt's passing. He was such a wonderful man & inventor. He will be missed!
Russell, praying for you & your family at this difficult time.

Robert McNamer

April 23, 2016

Huntly gave me an opportunity in 1984 when I answered a want ad with no where near the experience the ad was looking for. Over the next 7 1/2 years my knowledge and experience grew considerably and I fondly recall spending many breaks during the work day with Hunt working the USA Today crossword puzzle. My condolences to Russell and the Millar family.

Rick Thornton

April 23, 2016

Huntly was my boss, my mentor, and my friend for the better part of the 8 years I have worked at Millar. He was incredibly creative, clever, and he loved to teach. He took pride in and never forgot that his products helped human lives. My prayers to Russell and his family.

Stephen Gray

April 22, 2016

As a young Biomedical Engineer fresh out of college, Huntly welcomed me into his company and launched my career in the medical industry. I will always be grateful for this and the time I had working with him in the lab. Hunt was a true engineering pioneer and visionary. The high level of innovation he achieved will always be inspiring and will live on. Hunt will be missed and my heart goes out to Russell and the entire Millar family for their loss.

Marsha Farris

April 22, 2016

My sincere sympathy to the Millar family for their loss.

Connie Brooks

April 22, 2016

Knowing the Millar family for over 30 years and having worked with Huntly for 15 has been one of the most enriching aspects of my life. I started working at Millar Instruments, Inc., in 1983 and through the years Huntly taught me cardiovascular physiology and electronics so that I could proudly represent Millar Instruments throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. As product manager, exhibits and booth manager (humorously referred to by Huntly as Connie's kitchen) we welcomed many esteemed physicians who just wanted to "come shake Mr Millar's hand." All who worked with Hunt benefited from his high standards and integrity as well as his warmth, wit and humility.
Thank you, Millar family, for all the good times. My heart is with you all in your loss of a great man.

Dee Ingram

April 22, 2016

I had the honor of being Huntly's assistant for the last 6 years. He was a truly amazing man. I soon came to realize that when he said his employees were part of his family he really meant it. The love of his work and the passion he put into it is evident by his astounding accomplishments. He will always have a special place in my heart and I will miss him. Glenda, Russell, Amy and Emerald, my thoughts and prayers are with you.