David M. Kahler, MD

Class Year



Posted on: August 24, 2020

David Marc Kahler, MD, 60, a career member of the Department of Orthopedics at the University of Virginia (UVA), died Sunday, August 9, 2020 at his home in Dyke, Va.

Dr. Kahler was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and grew up in La Jolla, California, where he developed a love of science, cycling, the ocean and the outdoors. He received his B.A. in biological sciences from Dartmouth College in 1981 and his MD from Tulane University in 1985. He completed his orthopedic surgery residency at Tulane Affiliated Hospitals, his chief residency at the Charity Hospital of New Orleans, and his fellowship in hand surgery and sports medicine under Dr. Frank McCue at UVA. He was appointed assistant professor of orthopedic surgery in 1991 and served as an associate team physician for UVA athletics where his love of approaching big problems with new technologies led to the development of a career in orthopedic trauma surgery, developing minimally invasive and computer-assisted procedures.

Dr. Kahler became a full professor in 2009 and served as the Orthopaedic Residency Program Director and director of the UVA Trauma Center among other numerous administrative and teaching roles at the UVA School of Medicine and Medical Center. He was president of the Virginia Orthopaedic Society in 2003 and president of the International Society for Computer Assisted Orthopaedic Surgery in 2004. Over the course of his career, he has been included in lists of Virginia’s Top Doctors, The Best Doctors in America and Top Doctors. He published nearly 80 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters and abstracts and was a sought-after lecturer, giving more than 100 invited lectures at national and international conferences. He became a professor emeritus upon his retirement in 2017.

Dr. Kahler never lost his amazement of the beauty of the natural world. He loved the power of the wind while sailing, the fury of thunderstorms, and the change of seasons. He was a good, not great, fly fisherman. He loved his tractor and his lake. He loved his wife and his daughter, Katherine, and had a love/hate relationship with his beagle-ish dog.

He was grateful that his practice spanned a period of the greatest advancements in medical technology in history and was one of the first to see the benefits of computer-assisted surgery and three-dimensional imaging during surgery.

He spent his last days writing in a nice house in the country with really great views, friendly neighbors and blueberry bushes.

Dr. Kahler is survived by his daughter, Katherine Anne and his former wife, Victoria Norwood, MD of Earlysville, Virginia; father and stepmother Dr. Richard and Jan Ann Kahler of Denver; mother Diane Kahler of Carlsbad, California; brothers Geoff (Salt Lake City), Christopher (Lexington, Kentucky), and Jim (Denver) and sister Sally Phillips (Los Angeles).

Services will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Kahler Lectureship in Orthopaedic Trauma at the University of Virginia or the Charlottesville Albemarle County SPCA.  A memorial website has been set up to share memories and an online celebration of life is scheduled for September 20, 2020, at 6 p.m. EDT. Information can be found here.