Geoffrey Hartzler

November 6, 1946March 10, 2012

Geoffrey Oliver Hartzler, M.D., passed away suddenly in his home at the Lake of the Ozarks on Saturday, March 10, 2012. Family, friends, and medical and business colleagues will remember Dr. Hartzler as a generous and caring man who was as humble as he was brilliant. Funeral: 11:30 a.m. Friday in Greenwood Chapel. A memorial service will follow in Kansas City, on a date to be determined. Interment: Greenwood Memorial Park. Visitation: 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Greenwood Funeral Home. Memorials: In honor of his courageous battle against prostate cancer, gifts in Geoffrey's memory may be sent to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, http://www. hartzler, or the American Heart Association, http://honor.american /site/TR/Events /General?pg=fun d&fr_id=1030 &pxfid=2372 47&JServ SessionI dr004=cn mx9s3d 65.a pp227a. Pallbearers: Greg Hartzler, Ronnie Cooper, Wayne Cooper, Steven Bodie Cooper, Lew Wagner and Zach Shafran. In his lifetime, Dr. Hartzler was revered as a pioneer in the field of interventional cardiology. In 1981, he became the first physician to use percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) to treat heart attack. Despite intense criticism and skepticism, Dr. Hartzler was able refine and defend the procedure, finally establishing direct angioplasty as the preferred standard of care worldwide, saving millions of lives. He performed the first PTCA to treat multiple-vessel disease. He created the first implantable defibrillator to reach the market and be used effectively. He was also instrumental in developing the first steerable guidewire catheters and went on to help design a family of "Hartzler" balloon catheters used in angioplasty. Dr. Hartzler possessed enormous energy, intense concentration and unparalleled technical skills. He worked hard to offer better results and more efficient care to patients. His commitment to teaching and research was legendary. He created the first database aggregating outcomes data of tens of thousands of patients. He began the first U.S. interventional cardiology teaching course, training a generation of cardiologists. In 1986, he developed the Advanced Angioplasty Fellowship training program, which has been emulated world round. After cutting back his clinical practice in 1993, Dr. Hartzler pursued his many business interests ranging from radar technology to medical devices, yet he remained a prominent figure in the international cardiology community. He took on the directorship of the Mid America Heart Institute at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, where he had been on staff as a consulting cardiologist since 1980. He continued to publish in peer review journals, and travel to conferences around the world. He appeared in Who's Who in America in 1998, has been the subject of numerous interviews and articles, and has received more awards than he would want to admit. His contributions to the advancement of angioplasty and cardiology are recognized annually through the Geoffrey O. Hartzler Master Clinical Operator Award given by the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions. Dr. Hartzler's achievements and accolades could fill volumes, but he, more than any, would have hated the idea. He revolutionized cardiac medicine in the face of initial scrutiny and criticism, and yet he was a humble man. He was kind and always curious and interested in those around him. Family, friends and even acquaintances felt that he was a blessing, the one person they could truly count on for help if needed. He relished a quiet life with his wife and the affection of his daughters and close friends. For many years, he and Dorothy often retreated to their house at the Lake of the Ozarks. His brother Greg remembers that even while blowing up stumps with homemade explosives and getting into other sorts of mischief as a young man, Geoffrey was always helping people. As a young cardiologist (and an old one!) Geoffrey enjoyed fast cars and motorcycles, wearing cowboy boots to work, and mastering new technology. He loved music and was a talented bass guitar player. In fact, his brother Greg has said that he always thinks of Geoffrey as a musician first. As a young man, Geoffrey was a member of several popular jazz and rock 'n' roll bands that performed in the area around his northern Indiana hometown of Goshen. In recent years, his Kansas City band, Heart Rock, performed and cut several CDs. Geoff had fun mixing their recordings, as well as jamming with other musician friends. He was born Nov. 6, 1946, in Goshen, Ind. He had two brothers, one deceased as a teenager. His father Robert was a Mennonite minister who helped establish the first outpatient community mental health center in the United States. His mother Emma contracted polio when Geoffrey was 4 years old. She lived in an iron long for nearly four decades. Geoffrey's Mennonite upbringing deeply informed his perspective on life. A quotation he particularly liked is by Benjamin Whicote: "Our fallibility and the shortness of our knowledge should make us peaceable and gentle." Geoffrey was certainly both. Survivors: Geoffrey is survived by Dorothy, his wife of 27 years; brother, Gregory; daughters, Abby, Christine, Amanda and Angela; and grandsons, Jonah and Oliver. He will be sorely missed.


  • Visitation

    Thursday, March 15, 2012

  • Funeral Service

    Friday, March 16, 2012


Geoffrey Hartzler

have a memory or condolence to add?


October 25, 2014

Born with WPW, Dr Hartzler did my first EPS in 1980 ... God bless him ... May our Lord continue to comfort his family ... Know that after all these years I still am blessed not only by his medical care, but his sincere compassion for those he cared for ...

Jennifer Owens (Hacker)

October 29, 2013

I was Geoff's secretary for about 7-1/2 years back in the 1980's. I did a lot of typing including slides for his presentations. He inspired me so much, he totally changed my direction in life. I was so proud to work for him. I did not know he passed until today, Oct 29, 2013. He would always say how buried he was under all the cans of film he had yet to see, to give his opinion on a patient's arteries. One day, I drew a picture of Geoff, buried under a mountain of film cans. He left me a note the next day saying that I obviously needed more work to do! He affected me in a way that made me so aware of what I did, especially concerning helping people. It was the most enjoyable job I ever had.

Eapen Chacko

June 5, 2012

I learned of Geoff's untimely passing today from a mutual friend. I first met Geoff at TCT in his role as Chairman of IntraLuminal Therapeutics, and again as Chair of Cardiovascular Systems. Our relationship grew into a friendship, and I never failed to be energized and uplifted by his business acumen, clinical knowledge, wise counsel, sharp wit, and gentle humanity. What a blessing he must have been to his patients. I didn't know about his musical interests until recently and will go back and listen to my "Heart Rock" CD. Our family extends condolences and prayers to his family. I will truly miss Geoff.

May 6, 2012

First, I want to express my sincere sympathy to Dorothy, Abby, Chrissy, Amanda and Angela. The loss you are feeling is shared by those of us who worked with him and admired him so. It has taken me this long to be able to put my thoughts together regarding my years of working with Dr. Hartzler. I went to work for him on December 18, 1986, and worked with him until his retirement in December of 1995. What exciting years those were!! He truly was a "MASTER" in his field - but he never sought praise or special recognition; instead he downplayed his many successes. I loved the words of Dr. Giorgi - Dr. Hartzler really "was an uncommon man who was at home with common people". On many occasions I urged him to write a book on how to work with people. He demanded no more from his employees than he was willing to give of himself. Everyone who worked with him loved him and were inspired to do their very best to please him. He was the ideal "Boss". I count the years I had the privilege of working with Dr. Hartzler as the experience of a lifetime. Going to work everyday was a joy - very exciting. He put Saint Luke's Hospital and the Mid America Heart Institute on the national and international map. He is now and forever will be greatly missed.
~ Bonnie Moore Brown

Gustav Eles

May 4, 2012

I had the good fortune of spending time in the lab with Geoff as well as attending his training courses. Exposure to his pioneering techniques forever influenced me. I am a better physician for having the honor of knowing him & have done my best to pass his gifts on to others.

William Freund

April 8, 2012

While there were many wonderful experiences during my cardiology fellowship training at St. Lukes, no one was more influential than Dr. Hartzler. My condolences to his family. Geoff, thank you for sharing your life with so many of us. Dr. William Freund

Joe Grubbs

April 5, 2012

My prayers go out to Geoff's family. Geoff meant and gave so much to so many people. His gifted mind, hands, and engineering saved and extended so many lives. His gift of music enlightened many. His leadership, patience and teachings is the reason why so many of us in the cardiology field survived and succeeded. Thanks for everything Dr. Geoffery Hartzler..You will be dearly missed and never be forgotten.

April 1, 2012

Sorry to hear of Dr. Hartzler's death. I liked and respected him very much. He was without doubt the best interventional cardiologist I have known.
Jay Lipoff, MD (Marion, IL)

Sharon Larson-Phillis

March 30, 2012

Those were the days my friends. Camelot, Ruby Slippers, Kamakazes, and on and on. Have always been grateful to have been a part of those magical years, all b/c of the genius and hutzpah of Dr Geoff Hartzler.

March 30, 2012

My prayers and condolences to Dr. Hartzler's family and friends. I had the honor of working with him in the cath lab from 1985 to 1989. He was truly a gift to humanity.
D.D. Keeler (Garnett, Ks)