Mark Bernhardt
1957 - 2020
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Mark Bernhardt passed away at home unexpectedly on Thursday, April 30, 2020.

Mark was born in Fayetteville, Arkansas on Saturday, November 2, 1957, to George W. and Mary Kay Bernhardt. Mark was the son of an Assistant Football Coach at the University of Arkansas and the University of Kansas.

Mark moved with his family to Lawrence, Kansas, when he was three months old. After living in Lawrence for nine years, his family moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where his father coached at Vanderbilt. Mark attended Hillwood High School and often referred to his four years in Nashville as his "formative years." The family moved back to Lawrence, Kansas, in 1971. Mark attended Lawrence High School, where he took Calculus at 7am in period zero, played quarterback and wide receiver on the football team under Bill Freeman, and was state champion in wrestling his senior year in the 145-pound weight class! He earned the Citizen Award his senior year, which made his parents prouder than his academic or athletic achievements. Mark was inducted into the Lawrence Lions Alumni Association Hall of Honor in 2014.

After graduating from Lawrence High School in 1975, Mark studied at the University of Kansas, majoring in Biology and working summers at Penny's Construction Company. He was president of the Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity his senior year. After graduating from KU in 1979, Mark attended the KU School of Medicine in Kansas City, Kansas, graduating in May 1983.

One night in January of 1981, Mark met his bride, Renee Stewart. Renee proposed to him on the night they met. They married June 4, 1983 at Sts. Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church in Kansas City, Kansas. Mark and Renee moved to Wichita, Kansas, where he completed his Orthopaedic Surgery residency at the University of Kansas-Wichita program in 1988. The young couple then moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where Mark completed a fellowship in spine surgery at Beth Israel Hospital/Harvard Medical School. After his fellowship, Mark was honored to be invited to the faculty of Harvard during his mentor's sabbatical. Mark and Renee moved home to Kansas City with their newborn daughter Grace in 1989. Three years later in 1992, they welcomed their second daughter Hillary.

Mark joined Dickson-Diveley Orthopaedic Clinic and the medical staffs of St. Luke's Hospital, Truman Medical Center, and Children's Mercy Hospital in 1990. In 1998, Mark helped found the Kansas City Orthopaedic Institute in Leawood, Kansas. Dr. Bernhardt was a clinical professor at UMKC School of Medicine, teaching medical students and residents at participating institutions. In 2012, he became the Rex L. Diveley, M.D. Professor and Chairman of the Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery at UMKC and Truman Medical Center, where he served until his passing. In 2019, he was elected as Chair of the University Health Physicians board of directors. He was elected to the prestigious American Orthopaedic Association, a national organization of orthopaedic educators and chairmen.

Mark exuded passion for teaching and medicine every day of his life. He has passed down his knowledge to hundreds of orthopaedists. Coaching his residents on life, Mark would ask them, "Are you in it for love or money?" Mark believed in "getting your elbows dirty" and not being above doing the grunt work. Even as Chairman, he led by example, eagerly working each day 'in the trenches' with his team.

In his free time, Mark enjoyed spending time with his family, listening to Dean Martin songs, reading history books, cooking Paul Prudhomme's Cajun recipes, playing tennis with his friends, recording his daily activities in his phone journal, traveling the world with Renee, and watching KU football and basketball. During KU basketball season, it was not uncommon to see Mark listening to KU basketball commentary on the radio, watching KU basketball on the TV, and reading the sport stats during commercial breaks. A good weekend for Mark was "The Trifecta": A K-State loss, a Mizzou loss, and a Jayhawks win.

Mark had two priorities in his life: first, his deep love for his family, and second, his passion for medicine, teaching, and patient care. Mark cherished the time he spent with his wife, daughters, sister, brother, in-laws, and extended family. He made it a routine to call up the people he loved and catch up, even if only for a few minutes. Mark will be remembered for his booming voice, his infectious joy, his goofy sense of humor, his curiosity, his strong work ethic, his thoughtfulness for others, and the love he shared for the people surrounding him. He will also be remembered for being a decent, humane, and upstanding person throughout his entire life.

Mark is survived by his wife of 36 years, Renee, and his children, Grace and Hillary.

He is also survived by his sister Judy Kish (Bernie), her two children Keri and Kathryn (Jon); his brother Tom Bernhardt (Kelly), his three children Meghan (Brent), David (Allyssa), and Michael; his brother-in-law Ron Stewart, his son Chris (Amy); and his sister-in-law Michele Stewart (James Westberg).

A celebration of Mark's life will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions can be made to the Orthopaedic Resident Education Fund by mail at Truman Medical Center Charitable Foundation, memo: Orthopaedic Resident Education Fund, 2310 Holmes, Suite 735, Kansas City, MO 64108.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Lawrence Journal-World on May 10, 2020.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
Celebration of Life
MEMORIES & CONDOLENCES
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11 entries
May 29, 2020
I missed the obituary, but was recently informed by a friend of Marks passing. I have fond memories of our family visiting the Bernhardts on football weekends in Lawrence. Mark, Tom, my brother Bob, and I usually ended up playing football in the front yard. Great times with a great family. Mark was definitely one of kind. My belated condolences to Marks family
John Dalton
Friend
May 26, 2020
Just got a letter today information about my surgeon passing away. Hes a great man he wasnt just my surgeon he looked out for me. Matter of fact he never done surgery on me. Hes been there from the beginning of my spine problems and as I learned throughout the years from him about the spine. He taught me a lot about the spine. I will never forget he holds a special place in my heart. My condolences go out to the family & colleagues and other patients!!
Jamie Montes
Friend
May 26, 2020
he most sympathetic surgeon and kind hearted man you could ever meet nd as a patient I had the pleasure of meeting and knowing him for over 6 years now I believe!! I got my letter to inform me of the terrible news. My deepest condolences to the family and to his colleagues and other patients.
Sincerely
Jamie Montes
Jamie Montes
Friend
May 26, 2020
he most sympathetic surgeon and kind hearted man you could ever meet nd as a patient I had the pleasure of meeting and knowing him for over 6 years now I believe!! I got my letter to inform me of the terrible news. My deepest condolences to the family and to his colleagues and other patients.
Sincerely
Jamie Montes
Jamie Montes
Friend
May 25, 2020
Bernie was my first roommate in the House. The day I moved in he said he wanted me to meet his lab partner, at which point he slid open the desk drawer to reveal the fetal pig he was working on for anatomy. Always the jokester, I will never forget him burying the Sig Ep path with every flake of snow from Edgehill Road, in the high loader he borrowed from the cement plant. You will be missed. Rock Chalk!
William Venable
Dallas, Texas
William Venable
Classmate
May 17, 2020
Being a classmate, football and wrestling teammate, and friend with Mark has been a great experience. He was a great guy, class act and will be missed.
Dale Miller
Classmate
May 12, 2020
Group of 10 Memorial Trees
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Mark Austenfeld
May 11, 2020
worked indirectly with Dr.Bernhardt when I worked at St. Lukes and Truman in Coding. His knowledge and compassion for his field was always impressive. Once I needed spine care myself, I seen him in a different light. He will be missed. May his family find peace in knowing he was amazing professionly and as a person.
Rebecca Wilcox
Acquaintance
May 10, 2020
I had the pleasure of knowing Mark, from my days at KU. He was a good cat & always made me laugh. I was shocked to hear the news, and I will miss him. To the good Dr. I say that roses are red & violets are blue, Mark I will miss you, as you were a good dude.
Jim Isley
Classmate
May 10, 2020
So sorry to learn of Dr, Bernhardt's passing. Several years ago he performed surgery on my neck. He was a most caring and compassionate physician. My prayers to your family.
Larry Devers
Acquaintance
May 10, 2020
I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Bernhardt at Beth Israel Hospital (Boston) during his Spine Fellowship. At the time, I was an orthopedic PT on 8 Feldberg (the Ortho/Spine unit). I ended up moving to Lawrence Kansas a couple years after he came back and occasionally shared patients with him. He provided excellent patient care - his patients adored him. Please know I am thinking about his family during this difficult time.
Sheryle
Acquaintance
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