|Death Date||July 2002|
A well known voluntary amputee, most of you know Chaz Holder either from his presence on the amputee mailing lists where he went by the online nom de plume "DBLAMPUTEE" or his interview on BME, "No Hand". Born in 1947, Chaz passed away of natural causes in July of 2002. Some excerpts from his lengthy obituary in the New York Times:
- The cause was a heart attack, Ruth Clark, his business partner, said.
- Dr. Holder was many things, including a Protestant minister, racecar driver, master mechanic, restaurant owner, anatomic illustrator, disabled rights advocate and holder of a Cambodian medical degree. But it was after he lost his legs eight years ago that he found his mission.
- He invented lighter, cheaper prosthetic limbs that can be fitted in less than half an hour with only a screwdriver. Not only had he begun to sell them through his company, CZBioMed Enterprises, but he also distributed them free to amputees in third world countries.
- Enabledonline.com, a Web site that addresses concerns of the disabled, said, "By far, the devices built by CZBioMed Enterprises have the most advanced design and are the most practical-to-use prostheses available."
- Last year, the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose selected Dr. Holder and his invention for one of five awards for new technologies that have most benefited humanity. He received the award for the innovation that most improved human equality.
- "While the new concept in prosthetics alone makes Holder a brilliant problem-solver, he didn't stop there," the citation accompanying the $50,000 award said. "He saw an opportunity to bring vastly improved technology to the world's estimated 25 million amputees who do not have access to expensive prosthetic limbs."
- He graduated from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo where he majored in Art and English. He then earned a Master's Degree and a Doctorate in Engineering in Fine Arts from Drake University in Des Moines.
- He served in the Army during the Vietnam War, spending much of his time in Cambodia. Though Ms. Clark said that much of what he did there remains classified, she said he had piloted a Douglas A-1 Skyraider owned by the Cambodian military and graduated from Phnom Penh Wat Medical College in Phnom Penh.
- Dr. Holder was never licensed as a doctor in the United States, Ms. Clark said, but he was an associate member of the American Medical Association.
- He continued to drive a manual-transmission Ferrari even after both of his legs were amputated below the knee. He switched to an automatic transmission when operations went above the knee on his right side.
- Dr. Holder could not stand not being busy. Even as he concentrated on selling his prostheses, he was working with a local doctor trying to find new ways to control bone growth on an amputated limb. An ordained minister, he recently agreed to serve as dean of Grace College of Divinity, a small school in Chapel Hill, N.C. He served on the Human Relations Commission of Fayetteville.
- This almost legendary energy was apparent in the days after an operation in which he lost another part of his leg: he rebuilt an automobile engine in his kitchen as a way to keep himself from being bored.
Chaz was a remarkable man, not just for his body modifications, but for the service he gave to humanity. He will be missed.
- Chop! Chop! Look mom, no hand! (BME interview with Chaz)