Before he retired last week, Dr. Timothy Guiney was the Vineyard’s resident expert on matters of the heart. For more than 40 years, he was a top cardiologist at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, taking time from his main position at Mass General Hospital to treat the Island’s patients and develop the hospital’s cardiology department.

If you ask his colleagues, Dr. Guiney is a seasoned teacher, leader and innovator — and largely the reason a robust cardiology department exists at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital today. At his retirement ceremony on Friday, colleagues and hospital administrators lauded Dr. Guiney for bringing a technological and methodological change to the hospital.

Patients and colleagues noted Dr. Guiney’s ability to listen.

“Those who know him have seen through the decades a spontaneously authentic humanity that bonds into his patients’ deepest existential concerns,” Vineyard cardiologist Dr. Gerasimos Zervos said. “This is something that can’t be taught or learned.”

Hospital community gathered Saturday to celebrate Dr. Guiney. — Jeanna Shepard

Dr. Guiney’s medical career was well underway before he found himself working on the Vineyard. He was working full-time on the mainland when he fell in love with the Island. It took just a handful of visits to a friend’s Vineyard property before he purchased a home in West Tisbury.

Before long, a colleague from Mass General who occasionally treated patients on the Vineyard asked Dr. Guiney to bring his talents to the Island. Immediately, Dr. Guiney noticed that the hospital’s resources paled in comparison to what patients could access on the mainland. He felt a sense of duty.

“In cardiac terms, it was pretty primitive,” he said. “So I signed on to help my colleague, then took it over, and it greatly expanded.”

Dr. Guiney started working at the hospital four times per year, then monthly. Eventually, he was on the Island for multiple days per week.

He developed a midweek ritual: drive the two hours from Beacon Hill to Woods Hole on Wednesday night, catch the next ferry to the Island, spend Thursday and Friday at the hospital seeing patients, get back on the ferry, then drive back to Boston.

Dr. Guiney with his wife Ellen. — Jeanna Shepard

The ordeal got old, but never too old to keep him from his patients.

“It was good for me, good for our family, and good for the people of Martha’s Vineyard Hospital,” he said.

Colleagues and patients said Dr. Guiney is someone who cares, even when caring poses an inconvenience. Often, they said, he cares simply by noticing — the way a patient’s face contorts, what’s missing from a hospital’s cardiology wing, the fact that patients from West Tisbury have a “unique and enduring opposition” to taking their medication.

For him, catching what others don’t is a personal ethos and he holds a particular adage from Dr. Paul Dudley White, the father of American cardiology, sacred: “If you listen closely enough, the patient will tell you the diagnosis.”

His astuteness is not lost on the people he cares for. Clarence “Trip” Barnes has been a patient for years and said Dr. Guiney took on his case with empathy.

“He’s been a big part of my life,” he said.

On Friday, Dr. Guiney’s friends and family filled the hospital lobby to celebrate his retirement. Many were wearing their scrubs, and many others had “GUINEY” scratched proudly on their nametags.

Several of his colleagues shared anecdotes about Dr. Guiney. All the speeches pointed to listening as his way of life.

Michael Jaff, chairman of the hospital’s board of trustees, recalled his first day at Mass General, when Dr. Guiney made time “in nanoseconds” to get to know him. Dr. Guiney would later invite him to work on the Vineyard, just as his colleague had once invited him.

“Tim gave me a chance,” Dr. Jaff said.

Unveiled at the ceremony was a portrait of Dr. Guiney by local artist Elizabeth Whelan, set to be displayed in the hospital’s cardiology wing. Dr. Guiney says the portrait’s reference photo came from a years-old Gazette advertisement seeking to raise funds for the hospital’s cardiology department.

The humility that allows Dr. Guiney to leave his mark on people and institutions seems to be the very same quality that makes him hesitant to acknowledge his impact.

“Years ago, whenever I had the occasion to think about retirement — which is something I did very seldom — all I could think of was that line from the Whiffenpoofs song at Yale: ‘Pass and be forgotten with the rest.’ And that’s pretty much what I anticipated,” he said.

If his portrait is any indication, the Island will not forget him any time soon.