Dr. Anthony J. Federico, a pioneering specialist in pacemaker surgery, died May 17, surrounded by his family, from complications of Alzheimer's Disease in Peregrine's Landing at the Shoreline in Clinton, Conn. He was 81.
The Dunkirk native graduated from Dunkirk High School, attended Niagara University for three years and then went to Georgetown Medical School.
While at Georgetown he met his wife, the late Catherine Murray. They were married the day before his medical school graduation.
They moved to Buffalo after he graduated from Georgetown Medical School in 1954, for an internship at Mercy Hospital.
He then accepted a two-year position as a staff physician in South Dakota with the Public Health Service, working with the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
Upon his return to Buffalo, he did general and thoracic surgical residencies at Veterans Hospital. He began working closely with Dr. William Chardack on the development of the implantable pacemaker.
Dr. Federico became a specialist in pacemaker surgery and worked closely with Medtronic Corp. as a clinical consultant during the early years of the development and refinement of pacemaker technology.
He published and presented numerous papers related to pacemaker and heart surgery.
Dr. Federico entered private practice in 1964. He formed CardioThoracic Associates of WNY, and he became one of the region's leading specialists in open heart surgery.
He served as president of the Erie County Medical Society, the WNY Chapter of the American Heart Association, the WNY Chapter of the American College of Surgeons and the Buffalo Surgical Society.
He was an associate clinical professor of surgery for the University at Buffalo Medical School and served on the board of Independent Health.
He retired from clinical practice in 1991, and he retired to Lantana, Fla., in 1996.
In 1996, he was awarded the John Carrol Award, which is Georgetown's premier alumni award, recognizing outstanding career achievement and service to the university. He was a 2007 recipient of Georgetown Medical School's Founders Award, given for dedication to the medical school.
In 2002, Kaleida Health recognized him as a pioneer in cardiac surgery for his work with pacemakers, open heart surgery and open heart surgical recovery techniques.
In the early 1970s, Dr. Federico bought a 25-acre parcel of land in Cambria. He and his family planted grapevines on 20 acres. He owned and tended the vineyard for more than 15 years and made his own wine.
During his retirement in Florida, he raised orchids, citrus and tropical fruit trees.
His wife died Sept. 4.
Surviving are four daughters, Sharon Courtin, Mary Federico, Patricia Federico-Fields and Lisa Zenger; three sons, Dr. John, Michael and Peter; and a sister, Mary Federico.
A memorial mass will be held 9:30 a.m. Friday at St. Mark Catholic Church, 401 Woodward Ave.