South Lake Tahoe community mourns the death of Dr. Stephen Bannar
December 13, 2018
The South Shore is mourning the loss of Dr. Stephen Bannar, a beloved orthopedic surgeon and pillar in the local community for two decades.
Bannar was found dead this morning. No further details were made available.
“We are saddened by the tragic loss of Dr. Stephen Bannar,” read a statement posted by Barton Health.
“Dr. Bannar was a beloved and respected member of Barton Health’s medical staff whose orthopedic practice helped thousands of patients in the South Tahoe region over the years.”
The announcement of Bannar’s death sparked an outpouring of grief from friends and patients who described a dedicated and caring physician.
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"On behalf of myself, City Council, and city staff we'd like to offer our deepest condolences to the family of Dr. Stephen Bannar,” Mayor Brooke Laine said in a statement. “Dr. Bannar was an integral part of this community. As a doctor, and a community member he was as well regarded as they come. He gave more than 20 years to the people of South Lake Tahoe. He helped people get well and made the community better in the process.”
Bannar operated on countless patients over the years, both locally and, as Laine noted, abroad.
In 2010 he made his third volunteer trip overseas to help provide medical care to underdeveloped nations, the Tribune reported. The volunteer work, he said, was an opportunity to be a positive representative for the U.S., while also giving back to some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
"The United States gets a lot of flack from across the world. This is a great way to be a good ambassador … for others to see that we are not what we are depicted as in the papers."
"It is very rewarding and in reality, it forces you to be a better doctor — that's why I do it," he said. "To see the people so happy that you are there to help. They welcomed us with open arms."
More recently, Bannar pioneered Barton Health’s Community Wellness Outings, nature-based experiences for medical patients on National Forest lands.
“We need to change our mindset from treating disease to promoting wellness,” Bannar told the Tribune in 2017. “A prescription for nature can enable accessibility for at-risk groups as well as preventive medicine for other members of the community.”
The program was recently selected as a finalist for the 2018 SHIFT (Shaping How we Invest For Tomorrow) award for Public Land Management Innovation, the Tribune reported.
Prior to moving to Lake Tahoe in 1997, Bannar earned his medical degree at from Pennsylvania State University, College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania, according to his bio on Barton’s website. After completion of medical school, he performed a general surgery internship and orthopedic residency at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.
He completed his fellowship in sports medicine with Tahoe Fracture and Orthopedic Clinic in South Lake Tahoe.
Bannar is survived by his wife Barbara, son Brandon and daughter Alison.
Barton Health will be sharing additional information about a memorial service as soon as it is available.
The South Lake Tahoe orthopedic offices will have limited services tomorrow.
“He made an incredible investment in this community, one that continues with his wife Barbara and his beautiful children. For that, we are eternally grateful. Our thoughts and prayers are with Barbara and their two children during this difficult time," Laine said.
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