Eulogy - Tim Lathrop - "ALL-IN" on Life

Tim Lathrop -- ALL - IN on Life

Good Afternoon.  It is amazing to see so many familiar faces here today.  I am Nick Bartelt. I had the pleasure of working for and with Tim for 15 years at Medtronic in the Field Clinical Engineering Organization that he helped found and grow.

Tim led the highest performing team I’ve ever been a part of.  They also happen to be the most amazing group of people I’ve had the pleasure to know.  COINCIDENCE?

I joined the group in 1991, became a manager in 98, and took over the group from Tim in 2006 when he retired.  AND… I met my wife Susan in the FCE Organization.

Tim helped me realize my passion for people management and coaching during our time together.  And most importantly he instantly became a very good friend.

“ALL-IN” is a popular sports phrase used today.  To be “ALL-IN” means to be fully engaged, fully committed.  Companies today survey employees to gauge their engagement.  Tim didn’t need surveys. His team was ALL-IN, because he was ALL-IN.  In fact, 13 years after Tim’s retirement, today’s Field Clinical Organizations scores so far off the charts on Engagement that each new HR reps think there must be a mistake!!

But Tim wasn’t just ALL-IN at work, he was ALL-IN on LIFE.  I’d like to share a few stories of Tim’s ALL-IN approach to EVERYTHING.


Tim was ALL IN on interviewing and recruiting…  Most of us have a remarkable Tim Interview story.  My interview process lasted 3+ years...

I still remember how passionately Tim described the FCE job, organization, mission, and how only the best of the best could hope to join this organization.  I started interviewing Tim while I was a Medtronic intern and in my last year of my undergrad engineering degree. He convinced me to go back and get my Masters prior to joining the FCEs.  Tim didn’t just send me away to get my degree… He became on of my Graduate advisors. He helped me pick classes, reviewed my grades, and made sure I was going to earn the highest possible GPA…. Tim was ALL-IN ...

Tim was also ALL-IN on Dieting…  Oh my GOSH…. I had no idea..

One day, he calls me and tells me that I was getting a little heavy, and I should consider losing some weight…  He didn’t propose a collaboration, but a contest! Not just any contest, but a complex set of targets, milestones, penalties and rules.  He was ALL - IN.

We had many “weight bets” over the years.  Many of you may have also participated. Doing so was exhausting.  Tim would text, multiple times per day… What did you eat today… All I’ve eaten is cabbage and beets.  I am going to CRUSH you Bartelt!! There were graphs and tables. There were written agreements.

One year in particular, the bet was designed with a big penalty for the loser… We sold “cream pie in-the-face rights” to anyone who would donate to United way.  Many Many FCEs bought many many pies. The weigh-in was to occur at our annual meeting in Minnesuing. I met my goal. Tim didn’t; missed by ½ a pound. Everyone offered to give it to him (it was a really old scale)... He insisted on honoring the terms.  One by one, FCEs planted pies on his face… Probably the only time I saw him look the just the littlest bit defeated. But, Tim was ALL-IN

Tim was ALL-IN on Training… FCE training was a 6 to 9 month process.  And according to Tim it was the most important 6 - 9 months of your career as an FCE.

No FCE ever score less that 95% on the Field Training exams…  No FCE ever failed the NASPE industry exam. Don’t be the first…  Your investment in your training will impact your success in the Field.  Don’t embarrass me.. ALL-IN

Once you were trained…

Tim was ALL in on Motivation -- Meeting and Exceeding Objectives was the holy grail…  

If we don’t hit this number, we are going to “Swirl the Drain” together.  Don’t let me down!!  Who had the most enrollments??  Who had the quickest activation??  Who had the fewest queries?? It was all about excellence, driving the business goals, and most importantly delighting the customers.

Tim was a master at setting the bar very very high, but within reach.  This led to motivation and engagement.

Tim built an organization with a one-of-a-kind culture.  It was fiercely competitive, but even more collaborative.  If you needed help, you simply sent a text asking for help, you got half a dozen offers within minutes.  FCE were willing to drop everything, fly across the country, and cover an implant without a second thought.  It was magical. Undescribable… it was ALL IN

But,... What Tim was most famous for was WALKING

Tim was ALL-IN on walking

Tim walked and walked and walked.  He was the Medtronic Forrest Gump.

He walked Grandma’s Marathon 16 times.  Many times wearing his crocs (the best shoes ever)  ALL - IN

He conducted virtually all of our 1:1 meetings during walks.  If Tim was traveling with you, you’d better clear your calendar, find some BBQ, and hope it wasn’t raining, or below zero…

He didn’t want to walk for 30 minutes, his target was 2, 3, 4 hours.  You’d better have a course and a plan.

Finally, Tim was ALL-IN on coaching and mentoring…

I owe much of what I know about coaching and mentoring to Tim.

Anyone who knew Tim, was probably on the receiving end of this talent.

He could coach you without you knowing it.  He would gently steer you in a direction, that turned out to be your optimal direction (whether you knew it yet or not) …

He was the master.

His coaching was not limited to business, he would coach on investing, hobbies, home buying, marriage, best BBQ sauce … nothing was off limits -

Tim coached the whole person, he invented “People First Leadership”.

He was ALL-IN

I could go on and on...but

In Summary:

Tim was an amazing person, a great friend, and the best manager I’ve ever had.

Many of us who worked for time would eventually realize:  When your first boss is this good, you didn’t know how good you had it!

Tim expected us to strive without reserve to be our very BEST.

Dedication to be the very BEST, does not seem as common today.

In Tim’s honor, I ask that everyone here recommit to being our very BEST, Commit to be ALL- IN in LIFE! (or walk 26 miles in a pair of crocs)

Thank You for listening.


Timothy Jon Lathrop, age 71, passed suddenly on March 30th while wintering in Clearwater Beach, FL.Tim was born in San Francisco, CA on June 24th, 1947.He attended high school in St. Petersburg where he met his bride to be, Judy.He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of South Florida and his masters at the University of Hartford. After college, both Tim and Judy felt a strong calling to serve in the Peace Corps.This calling led them to the beautiful country of Liberia, West Africa, where their son Jeffrey (tribal name, Sundaygar) was born.They spent three incredible years in Liberia and they were probably the most formative years for Tim.He achieved great satisfaction in teaching the sciences in both the Nursing and Medical Schools in Monrovia.Tim was responsible for establishing the first EKG unit in the country.He also helped start the first Nursing School program, as well as has help administrate JFK Hospital in Liberia.Upon leaving the country due to the unfortunate civil war, Tim secured an interview with Medtronic here in Minnesota.After learning about Medtronic’s Mission, he felt compelled to move the family and be part of this revolutionary biomedical device company.Tim was considered one of the best people managers Medtronic has ever had.He spent 31 years managing at Medtronic and retired in 2006.His daughter Rachel is following in his footsteps and has now been at Medtronic for 20 years.Early in his retirement, Tim found a passion for walking.He walked 900 miles during his first winter in Florida.He also walked a total of 16 Grandma’s Marathons.He loved attending live music and his heroes have always been Beethoven and Mozart.He would spend hours and hours listening and studying their brilliance.His most recent love has been his beautiful grandchildren, Grace and Gloria.Tim was preceded in death by his mother, Jeanne Lathrop; father Lt. Colonel George Edward Lathrop, MD; and more recently, his brother, Colonel George Dennis Lathrop, MD.Tim is survived by his amazing wife of 51 years, Judy Lathrop; his sister Stephanie (Ron) Sparling; his daughter Rachel Lathrop; his son Jeffrey Lathrop; as well as his two granddaughters Grace Ellen and Gloria Genevieve Lathrop.Please join Tim’s family in celebrating his life on May 6th at 4:00 pm at The Bakken Museum.

3537 Zenith Ave South

Minneapolis, MN 55416