Donald Winter Stein, M.D., age 92, of Oro Valley, Arizona, passed away on February 27, 2020, surrounded by loved ones. Donald was born October 3, 1927 in Denver to Hermann and Mindell Stein. Donald is survived by his wife of 68 years, Claire Rosenbush, whom he married in 1951, as well as his five children: Jean Louise Stein (Karmi’el Israel), Susan Kay Stein (Palmerston North New Zealand), Donald Winter Stein Jr. (Denver), Michael David Stein (Colorado), Bev Stein Weiler (Broomfield) and six grandchildren: Philip (Jesse) Grant; Rebecca Fairchild-Lewis and Luke Fairchild; and Torey, Lia and Colin Weiler. Donald was predeceased by his sister Janet R. Stein-Taylor and brother-in-law Roy Taylor.
After graduating from Denver’s East High School in 1944, Donald enrolled at the University of Colorado-Boulder (CU) before enlisting in the U.S. Navy, where he trained as a hospital corpsman while stationed on a ship in Hawaii. Fortunately, the war ended before he was deployed to battle. He remained in the Navy Reserves, holding the rank of Lt. Commander, until 1972. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1948 and a medical degree from CU in 1952, eventually following in his father’s footsteps and becoming an anesthesiologist. Donald’s medical training brought him east of the Mississippi in the early 1950s, including a rotating internship at Charity Hospital in New Orleans and an anesthesia residency at Columbia Presbyterian in New York City. After this, he returned to Colorado with his wife and two young daughters to practice medicine in Denver, eventually moving to Boulder and retiring from full-time practice in 1990. After retirement, Donald and Claire sought out the warmer weather in Arizona, where he continued his love of lifelong learning: familiarizing himself with the German language and exploring calculus, continuing to play golf (a sport he had taken up following their move to Boulder), researching genealogy with his wife and reading/listening to mystery novels up until the last.
Beyond his passion for medicine, Donald inherited his love of travel from his parents. Vacations were a family undertaking from the beginning. While planning a summer trip across Europe, he tasked his four older children with presenting facts about countries they might like to visit on the journey, undertaken in a VW bus. He had the opportunity to visit such disparate places as China, the Soviet Union, India, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, most of Western Europe, South Africa, South America and Israel, and he imparted this wanderlust and openness to new experiences to all of his children and grandchildren. He orchestrated a multigenerational family train trip across Canada for his and Claire’s 50th anniversary, as well as a cruise to Bermuda for their 60th.
Don loved gardening, particularly when tending a vegetable garden in Denver, tending roses at their home in Boulder and planting bulbs to welcome in the spring. Although not particularly athletic himself, he truly enjoyed being a spectator at Denver Bears baseball games and occasional Denver Spurs and University of Denver hockey games. But his true sports passion was football – being a season ticket holder to the Denver Broncos since their inception, as well as holding season tickets to CU football and basketball games for decades. At every homecoming for the CU football season from his graduation in the 1950s until well into the 1980s, Don played his baritone horn in the alumni marching band.
Dr. Stein was instrumental in bringing the use of epidural narcotics to Boulder Community Hospital during the early 1980s to alleviate pain and aid in childbirth.
Dr. Stein was affiliated with the University of Colorado School of Medicine, attaining the designation of Associate Clinical Professor in Anesthesiology in 1976. He was a Fellow of the American College of Anesthesiologists (1960), Diplomat of the American Board of Anesthesiology (1960) and an Active Member of The Academy of Anesthesiology (1982). He was active in the Denver Medical Society, Colorado Medical Society, Colorado Society of Anesthesiologists (including serving as the society’s president), the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), acting as its Director from Colorado for over 10 years, and serving as a Delegate and Vice Speaker of the House of Delegates for three years. He served on numerous committees, both at the hospital level and for many of the aforementioned societies, and participated as a peer reviewer for professional journal articles, as well as for site reviews for ASA even after retirement.
Dr. Stein was instrumental in bringing the use of epidural narcotics to Boulder Community Hospital during the early 1980s to alleviate pain and aid in childbirth. He wrote and presented a paper on this practice at the Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology and World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) meetings. He served as a delegate to the WFSA, attending at least four meetings – the last one in Cape Town, South Africa in 2008. Donald was involved in mentoring new anesthesiology practitioners – working with the ASA’s preceptor program throughout the 1960s and ‘70s. He was particularly proud when his daughter, Susan, became the third generation of Stein anesthesiologists in 1986.
The family will schedule a celebration of life for some time later this year. Don requested that donations be made to any of the following:
■ University of Colorado Foundation – Class of 1952 Endowment Fund P.O. Box 17126, Denver, CO 80217
■ Casa de la Luz Hospice 7740 North Oracle Road, Tucson, AZ 85704
■ University of Colorado Foundation – Hermann B. Stein Lectureship in Anesthesiology P.O. Box 177126, Denver, CO 80217
This obituary was submitted to the ASA Monitor by Dr. Stein’s daughter, Susan.
Photo courtesy of the Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology.