In Memoriam

Anthony John Federico, ’51

Dr. Anthony J. Federico o, ‘51, 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, N.Y., native graduated from Dunkirk High School and, after attending Niagara University for three years, was accepted by the Georgetown University Medical School. While at Georgetown he met his wife, the late Catherine Alice Murray. They were married the day before his medical school graduation in 1954. Soon after they moved to Buffalo where he interned at Mercy Hospital. Upon completion of his internship, he accepted a two-year appointment as a staff physician with the U. S. Public Health Service working with the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota.

Upon his return to Buffalo, he did general and thoracic surgical residencies at Veterans Hospital. He began working closely with Dr. William Chardack, chief of surgery at the VA Hospital, 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 improvement and refinement of pacemaker technology. He published and presented numerous papers dealing with pacemaker and heart surgery.

Dr. Federico entered private practice in 1964. He founded Cardio Thoracic Associates of Western NY 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 also served as an associate clinical professor of surgery for the University at Buffalo Medical School and was on the board of Independent Health. He retired from clinical practice in 1991 and moved to Lantana, Fla., in 1996.

That same year he was presented the John Carroll Award, Georgetown University’s premier alumni accolade which recognizes outstanding career achievements and service to the university. 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. He was a 2007 recipient of Georgetown Medical School’s Founders Award, bestowed for dedication to the medical school. Also in 2007, Dr. Federico was among the first five individuals granted a bachelor’s degree from Niagara University many decades after their initial enrollment as entering freshmen. This was the implementation of a policy whereby the university was able to confer baccalaureate degrees to former preprofessional students who had completed 90 undergraduate credits before moving on to earn professional degrees. He shared this distinction with childhood friend and Niagara and Georgetown classmate, Joseph A. Griffo, '51, DDS.

In the early 1970s, Dr. Federico bought a 25-acre parcel of land in Cambria (Niagara County), N.Y. He and his family planted grapevines on 20 acres. He tended the vineyard for more than 15 years and made his own wine. After his wife and family his passions included medicine and his patients, cooking, wine, fishing, and gardening. During his Florida years he raised orchids, citrus and other tropical fruit trees.

His wife died Sept. 4, 2011. 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. He was predeceased by a brother, Pat, in January 2012.