Charles Orleff Townley was born in Minneapolis on December 30, 1916 and died in Port Huron, Michigan on December 22, 2006. He was raised in the Midwest under humble circumstances and entered Capital University in Columbus, Ohio on a football scholarship. After graduating with a BA in Physical Education, he went to Ohio State University and finished medical school in 3 years. In 1944 he chose Henry Ford Hospital for his residency. After a year and a half at Ford, Captain Townley went to Tilton Army Hospital in Fort Dix, New Jersey where he served for a year.

In 1948 John Charnley was a visiting professor at Henry Ford Hospital. Townley met him at the airport, gave him a tour of Detroit, and introduced him to the orthopaedic department. Charnley spoke on positive pressure arthrodesis and fracture management. Townley showed Charnley his first designs for a total knee prosthesis.

In 1950, Townley moved his family to Port Huron and entered practice. He retired in 2003 at age 86. He raised his seven children in Port Huron and was involved in local civic activities. He founded the BioPro Company (Biologically Oriented Prostheses) in 1987. He held several patents including one for a polyurethane polymer that now is under development. Working in conjunction with engineers at Alfred University in New York, Townley developed a durable ceramic powder in 1990 and BioPro became the only US vendor of ceramic prostheses.

Townley’s career tells a nearly complete story of the development of joint replacement surgery. He did not wait for the development of either polyethylene or methylmethacrylate to perform joint replacement surgery. He used alternative cements and polymer. He lectured around the world and published numerous original papers from 1947 to 2004.

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