Below is a selection of excerpts from the countless messages we’ve received from patients, providers, employees, and friends of Earl.

When I met Earl, I never would have thought how important his invention would be to me, personally — I had just been so grateful for his steadfast care for people who needed help. But, at almost 94 years old myself, I have outlived my first Medtronic pacemaker, I’m on my second one and I am still going strong! Because of Earl, I have had the blessing of seeing my grandchildren grow up, and I’ve been blessed to meet 15 great grandkids!

-Fran Heitzman, founder of Bridging, and Medtronic patient
Pearl Yamaguchi and Earl Bakken

Pearl Yamaguchi and Earl Bakken

We invited Dr. Bakken to speak to my Society of Women Engineers group at the University of Hawaii. He accepted and flew over from Hawaii Island to Oahu, and that day became the pinnacle inspiration for me in my career. For all his remarkable accomplishments, he will be incredibly missed, and for his aloha spirit, he will always be loved and remembered.

-Pearl Yamaguchi, Medtronic employee


Whenever Earl addressed Medtronic employees, he invited them to visit him on the Big Island. In 2012 my family took him up on it … We left with our hearts full and heads spinning. An amazing and one-of-a-kind inspiration … I am most grateful to Earl's family for sharing him and his gifts with the world.

-Rachael M. Scherer, Medtronic employee
Rachael M. Scherer and Earl Bakken

Rachael M. Scherer and Earl Bakken

...Few people have the opportunity to shape such a legacy. Even fewer have the ability to make such an opportunity into a long-term reality that has changed the lives of so many people both within Medtronic and in the world of the many patients our products have helped.

-Roy Wilsker, Medtronic employee


Serving lunch to employees at annual Holiday Program

Serving lunch to employees at annual Holiday Program

Bakken Society Inductees

Bakken Society Inductees


Earl’s passion to save lives has probably hit home for all of us in one way or another. I have had an uncle with our pacemaker; an aunt who has our stents; a cousin with our insulin pump. Thank you, Earl, for caring and for building such an awesome company with wonderful products.

-Mark DeVallier, Medtronic employee and relative of Medtronic patients

I had the privilege to meet with Earl in 2003 in Hawaii at the hospital he helped finish. He asked me what I did for Medtronic. I promptly answered that I worked in Corporate Finance in Minneapolis and I made sure our financials were accurate to report to Wall Street. He responded, ‘No, your role is to make sure we have healthy financials to ensure we make the right investments to reach the next patient who needs our technologies.’ I have never forgotten that wisdom.

-Erin Carter, Medtronic employee

As an active and otherwise-healthy husband and father of three boys, in my late 40s, I could no longer walk more than a couple hundred feet at a time without stopping to let the back pain subside... My procedure, using all Medtronic products, went seamlessly and I’m now coming up on seven years post-surgery… I know the Spine business was not part of Earl’s original endeavors but as a patient, just knowing that the guiding principles he put in place, and fully-embraced by the Spine Business when we became part of the Medtronic family, changed my life in a profound way.  Although I never met Earl, I truly feel ‘part of the Mission’ as both an employee and a patient.

-Rick Thiele, Medtronic employee and patient


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Honoring EARL

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