Northeast Joco

Infertility doctor spread joy and laughter

Infertility doctor Daniel Stewart had a hand in many lives in Kansas City as a doctor for Shawnee Mission Medical Center’s reproductive medicine team.

Stewart died unexpectedly last week of an undisclosed cause. He was 52.

Stewart worked in Kansas City for 20 years, both at KU and Shawnee Mission medical centers.

After graduating from the University of Kansas School of Medicine, Stewart went on to a fellowship at Johns Hopkins University before returning to Kansas City in 1993.

Embryologist Matthew Goering worked side by side with Stewart for 20 years. He worked with Stewart to help develop a fertility program with the two medical centers. From that, Stewart founded the Shawnee Mission Specialty Care Reproductive Medicine and Infertility practice.

“He maintained that small town local doctor feel, despite the fact that he had this high-brow training and background,” Goering said. “I think that’s one of the things that made him so successful.”

Stewart’s longtime office manager Leigh Anne Barnes struggled with infertility herself. Stewart helped her conceive her two children.

Emotions at the clinic run the gamut, Barnes said, so Stewart used jokes and pranks to make everyone feel more at home.

“His sense of humor was contagious,” she said. “He found humor to try to make people smile and feel better.”

Almost every year, Stewart would join other local doctors on medical mission trips to countries in Central America and the Caribbean.

“He was more humble than anyone ever realized,” Barnes said. “It was never him, him, him. It was the patient, always.”

On the Facebook page for Shawnee Mission Specialty Care Reproductive Medicine & Infertility, hundreds of women and families shared their thanks for Stewart’s work and his impact on their lives.

Stewart didn’t just help human patients, though.

He worked extensively with veterinarians at the Kansas City Zoo. He operated on lions, helped Jill the orangutan conceive and he and Goering performed artificial insemination on an African bull elephant.

A memorial service will be held 4 p.m. June 15, in the Shawnee Mission Medical Center Chapel. A short reception will follow the service.

Stewart’s family is asking that any donations be made to the Shawnee Mission Medical Center’s Birth Center through the medical center foundation.