American engineer and aviator credited with creating the first viable mechanical ventilator, the Bird Universal Medical Respirator, for seriously ill patients. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1995.
He served as a pilot in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II.
His ventilator for infants, nicknamed the Babybird, had a hand in decreasing the mortality rate in breathing-challenged infants from 70% to 10%.
His wife Pamela was the co-founder of the Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center.
He received the Presidential Citizens Medal from U.S. President George W. Bush in December 2008.