Submitted by Derick S. Hartshorn   July 30, 2002

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP7-29-02) -- Chaz Holder, 55, a triple amputee who 
devised a new way of making artificial legs and arms, died of a heart 
attack at his home.

Holder 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., 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 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."

Holder attached 400 prosthetic devices on patients in Sierra Leone and 
Vietnam, and had begun a program to distribute them in Afghanistan. Working 
with the Marshall Legacy Institute of Alexandria, Va., he was at the time 
of his death on July 4 completing the first phase of a contract with the 
Army to provide prosthetic devices to people assigned to clear minefields.
Holder had lost his left arm below the elbow in an industrial accident in 
the late 1970's, and in the early 1980's moved to Hilton Head, S.C.

He also raced Ferraris and in 1980, racing at Black Hawk Farms Raceway in 
Wisconsin, suffered a near-fatal crash. He had burns over 60 percent of his 
body and spent six months in a burn unit.

He continued to drive a manual-transmission Ferrari even after both of his 
legs were amputated below the knee.

Around 1992, he began to incrementally lose his legs, in successive 
operations. Ruth Clark, Holder's business partner, said doctors had 
attributed their deterioration to the car accident and exposure to 
chemicals during the Vietnam War.

He lost another part of his leg when he rebuilt an automobile engine in his 
kitchen as a way to keep himself from being bored.
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 

Holder was many things, including a Protestant minister, race car driver, 
master mechanic, restaurant owner, anatomic illustrator, disabled rights 
advocate and holder of a Cambodian medical degree.

Holder was never licensed as a doctor in the United States, Clark said, but 
he was an associate member of the American Medical Association.

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