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Brinkman: Friend as well as pioneering surgeon

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

Dr. Richard Steadman’s passing reminds us not only of his lasting impact on
orthopedics, but also on the many who called him “friend.”

As a native of Tahoe, my family befriended the Steadmans as soon as Dick opened his practice in South Shore in 1970.

My parents, David and Betty Gay, shared innumerable glasses of (only) the finest wines
with the Steadmans over the years! When “Steady” operated on my shoulder (yes,
shoulder!) in 1981 and then on my daughter Missy’s ACL in 1988, what we received
was not just Steady’s genius, but also exceptional care by a brilliant team of nurses, PTs, and
researchers.



The core of that original Tahoe team — Cristal Adams, Shirley Carlson, John Atkins,
Topper Hagerman, Annette Fulstone, and John McMurtry — all moved to Vail with
Steady to build, with Dr. Richard Hawkins, the renowned Steadman Hawkins Clinic.

Together, this pioneering duo built an international community of grateful patients. The
bond that my family forged in Tahoe would come full circle when, in 1992, Steady hired
Missy in clinical research. He and “Hawk” would later bring her in as their executive
assistant. Under Steady and Hawk’s leadership, the whole Vail team was like family.




In 2006, after Hawk had left Vail to build an expanded practice back east, Steady looked
at my tattered shoulder and proclaimed, “Well, it lasted a quarter of a century! You need
to go see Hawk now!” And, I did. Hawk performed my shoulder replacement at The
Steadman Hawkins Clinic of The Carolinas.

Vail, and the world, were enriched by the partnership of these iconic, world-class
physicians and world-class men. Hawk carried that legacy beyond Vail, and it’s a legacy
that lives on through everyone Steady touched, his fellow physicians, as well as patients
and friends.

Dede Brinkman

Aspen