Bannister, Emily Lynn (nee Engelland) On March 14, 2023, Dr. Emily Engelland Bannister passed away from lung cancer and left our world as a butterfly, a metaphor she used to describe how she overcame challenges in her life and transformed herself into a beautiful being.

Emily grew up in Elmhurst, Illinois. She was a top student and clarinetist. When she wasn't crushing it academically, she swam breaststroke and took photos for the school yearbook. It was during these formative years that her famous love of the band U2 was born; she would eventually attend more than 20 concerts in person.

Emily studied Spanish and Chemistry at Washington University. It was there that she also began an important era in her life in the national service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, through which she engaged in many volunteer projects and eventually took on leadership roles. "She never cleaned her bedroom but she was mucking mud out of homes destroyed by floods," her mother lovingly recalled. Emily eventually took on many leadership roles with Alpha Phi Omega, including regional director and board member.

During Emily's tenure at WashU medical school, she was diagnosed with clinical depression and struggled to make it to classes. An attending physician wrote her a letter of recommendation for an internship in which she referenced Emily's need for "periods of rest." Years later, at a live storytelling event for doctors, Emily described how difficult that phrase "periods of rest" made all subsequent interviews.

"The underlying tone was 'what's wrong with you?'" she recalled. "Doctors don't get sick! We are superhuman automatons who make perfect decisions every time! What are you, weak? Who needs PERIODS OF REST?"

Emily invested intensely in therapy and worked hard to manage her depression. Her candor about her struggle inspired countless people. She made it through med school by switching to a specialty that would have a less punishing training regime: occupational medicine.

Later, she would raise tens of thousands of dollars to support NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Emily completed her residency at Cook County Hospital in Occupational Medicine and earned a Masters of Public Health from University of Illinois at Chicago before beginning to practice in La Crosse, Wisconsin. She would go on to mentor and inspire many colleagues in her field, even volunteering to let skittish colleagues practice doing blood draws on her.

This was the era when Emily said she was coming out of her cocoon and beginning her transformation into a butterfly. The transformation was accelerated by meeting the love of her life, Dave Bannister.

It was during Emily's tenure in La Crosse when she discovered Dave's profile on a dating website. She had set her profile to accept matches from up to 150 miles away, which would include far-flung matches like Dave. They began a courtship, at the beginning of which Dave did not realize how far away Emily lived, or that Emily's match parameters were overriding his "30 mile away" preference.

By their third date Emily changed her status on social media to "in a relationship." And Dave knew then that he was in love because Emily was finishing his sentences and thoughts. "I didn't have to be guarded," he said.

The two would go on to marry in 2013 and settle in Robbinsdale, Minnesota. When their first child Lucy was born, Emily described it as "pure joy." She said she felt that sublime joy yet again when twins David and Abigail were born a couple years later.

Another milestone came in 2022, when Emily and Dave opened their own business, The Workers Clinic, a goal Emily was especially proud to achieve.

Emily is survived by her mother, Barbara, husband David, children Lucy, David and Abigail. And she is missed by scores of friends, relatives, colleagues, and patients who remember her beautiful smile, deep generosity, hilarious quips, and loving spirit.

A memorial service will be held at Church of the Epiphany in Plymouth on June 10, from 10am - 2pm.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Church of the Epiphany or to NAMI.

Published on April 16, 2023