Michael Will, 56 years old, president of Centinel Spine, former CEO and president of Pegasus Biologics and senior vice president of Synthes, died unexpectedly of natural causes on April 10, 2012m at his home in Malvern, Pennsylvania. Michael is survived by his wife and best friend, Joy, their four children Justin-32, Lindsay-31, Jamie-25, Tyler-14 and the many thousands of his friends and co-workers, who came to know, respect and love Michael over his 33 years in the orthopedic industry.
“We have lost a very important person in our family/life that will leave a hole to never be filled.” said Centinel Spine Chairman, John Viscogliosi. “Michael was part of our family and someone I considered a brother. He and I worked together shoulder to shoulder to build Centinel. He loved life and everything he did. The only explanation for Michael’s passing is that God wanted him on April the 10th 2012.”
Michael was born May 15, 1955 in Lebanon, Pennsylvania—the first child of what would eventually become a family of six: parents plus two boys and two girls. Michael attended and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business where he majored in entrepreneurial studies.
While at Penn, he played football on the Sprint football team. “I think he was a running back,” remembers Joy Will. Joy met her future husband while helping her girlfriend celebrate a birthday. “I was taking my girlfriend out for her birthday and we met Michael and his roommate.” Joy would eventually marry Michael and her girlfriend would marry Michael’s roommate. This year Joy and Michael celebrated their 28th year together.
Michael began his career at U.S. Surgical where he rose through the ranks over twenty one years to become senior vice-president and general manager of Surgical Dynamics. Michael was with U.S. Surgical when it was sold to Tyco Healthcare and served as General Manager of Surgical Dynamics while it was part of Tyco. When Tyco sold Surgical Dynamics to Stryker, Michael left to accept the position of Chief Operating Officer for Spine Solutions, Inc. At Spine Solutions, Michael played a critical role in introducing motion preservation technology to spine surgeons. When that firm was sold to Synthes, Michael went along and stayed with Synthes until 2006.
Michael was one of these extraordinary people who approach what they do with passion and a genuine affection for the people he worked with. We are not exaggerating when we say that Michael Will had many thousands of friends in this industry.
“Too early, too fast, too sad. What a very bad news. I will never forget his smile, his open mind and all I learned from him,” remembers legendary physician and inventor Thierry Marnay. “He was patient and positive from Spine Solutions to Synthes. Let’s pray for his family and let’s keep in memory a happy moment with him I am sure that everyone has a good moment that will let him keep on living in our heart.”
“Michael leaves a trail of wonderful, thoughtful relationships.” remembers Anthony Viscogliosi. “He was a true gentleman in every sense of the word. I will miss his wonderful sense of humor, his zest for life and a mind set to always do right by people. This combination of character made him a wonderful, great friend. Michael will be unbelievably missed. He was always a happy guy. He leaves us with so many memories. He continues to affect all of us with his spirit.”
To Michael, business was personal and his business colleagues were like members of an extended family. It wasn’t just about business; it was about realizing the best of yourself and your family.
In the days since his passing, Michael and Joy’s house has been filled with people from all over the world—including about 25 14-year-olds from the Lacrosse team that Michael’s son plays on. Michael was particularly passionate about sports safety and was always trying to learn about ways that concussions could be avoided and helmets made safer.
For that reason, the family has asked that in lieu of flowers contributions be made to the matthewgfellerfoundation.org which is a foundation whose mission is to minimize athletic head injuries.
“He was an extraordinarily honorable person that always strived to put others’ interests ahead of his own.” remembers Marc Viscogliosi. “I’m proud to have called Michael a friend and I’m a better person because of his presence in my life.”
Personal condolences may be sent to the Will family at the following address:
Mrs. Joy Will and Family
37 Meadow Creek Lane
Malvern, PA 19355
A memorial service for Michael will be held on Monday, April 16, at approximately 10 am, at St. David’s Episcopal Church, 763 South Valley Forge Rd., Wayne, PA 19087. A reception will follow at the Waynesboro Country Club, 11000 Country Club Road, Waynesboro, PA, 17268.