1969 – 2004

HAWAII – Dr. Stefan Bournakel, 34, of Kuala, Maui, Hawaii, was killed in an automobile accident on Friday, Feb. 13. Dr. Bournakel embraced life, never looked back and found humor in everything. His zest for life, generous spirit and warm humor live on and will always be cherished by his family and friends.

Dr. Bournakel was born to George and Kay Bournakel in Lewiston, in 1969. He graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont in 1991, where he majored in religion with a concentration in Eastern Religious Philosophy.

In 1990, he spent several months studying in Tibet, Nepal, and India, where he shared an audience with the Dalai Lama. He earned a Doctorate of Optometry Degree in 1996 from the New England College of Optometry in Boston and practiced in Maine, New York, Washington, D.C., California, and Hawaii.

His special area of expertise in low vision studies led him to volunteer work with the Helen Keller Foundation in Mexico. Dr. Bournakel’s athleticism and adventurous spirit led him to the highest levels in many competitive sports.

As early as high school at the Green Mountain Valley School in Waitsfield, Vt., Dr. Bournakel ranked among the top youth downhill skiers in the United States.

He continued to compete in Division 1 skiing at Middlebury College.

Dr. Bournakel’s discipline and drive as an individual sportsman later ignited a new passion for kayaking. His enthusiasm in the sport culminated when he founded the on-line magazine kayakmag.com, and produced major televised kayaking competitions on the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe and among the rivers of Quebec.

Never satisfied with a single sport, Dr. Bournakel expanded his repertoire to include cycling, marathon running, scuba diving, tennis, motor biking and karaoke singing.

With his move to Maui, he developed his most recent passion for kite boarding, regularly spending his lunch breaks in the Pacific surf. Dr. Bournakel will be remembered by his fellow sportsmen from the back woods rivers of Maine to the extreme waves of Maui.

Dr. Bournakel met his soul mate, Sarah at Middlebury College in Vermont, and together they traveled across Europe, Asia, and Africa. Inspired by his parents and his strong love of family, Dr. Bournakel and Sarah married on the Island of Santorini in Greece in 2001.

They later moved to Hawaii, where Dr. Bournakel took over and expanded an optometry practice on the Island of Maui.

There Dr. Bournakel and Sarah found an ideal location for their wide ranging interests.

Dr. Bournakel’s greatest joy came with the birth of his son, Nicos on Jan. 12. As he later wrote in a note to his son, “I’m no longer Stefan, I’m Nicos’ father.”

He is survived by his wife Sarah, and six-week old son, Nicos; his parents, Dr. and Mrs. George Bournakel of Auburn; his sister, Christina of Boothbay Harbor; his grandmother, Antigone of Lewiston; and Charles, Kiki, Christopher, and Nicholas Bournakel, Angela Bournakel, and Richard and Cynthia Arnold.

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