Veteran Michigan-based public finance banker Craig Kahler, who brought his passion for school finance to his role at the helm of a public school district board, died after a battle with COVID-19 last week. He was 58.
Kahler, who was president of the DeWitt Public Schools board, joined the public finance team at Huntington Capital Markets as a managing director specializing in kindergarten through 12th grade school financings in June 2020 after spending several years at HilltopSecurities. He previously spent more than 10 years with Fifth Third and four years at UBS.
The Michigan native’s banking career began in 2003 after heading up business development at a firm that specialized in school architectural design. That position followed his stints at Clarkston Community Schools and Rochester Community Schools where he managed budgets, accounting, payroll and purchasing and capital projects.
Kahler was appointed as a member of the DPS Board of Education from 2007 to 2009 and was elected to a four-year term in 2011. His current term was to expire at the end of 2022.
“Craig served our district well for 10 years, many of those as an officer of the board,” the DeWitt school board said in a statement. “Craig was everything a public servant should be — kind, respectful, and always willing to listen. He loved working to support the DeWitt students and families.”
Kahler’s death from COVID pneumonia and complications followed a month-long battle with COVID-19.
“Craig dedicated most of his adult life to improving public education, first as a public school finance officer, then helping to better school districts throughout Michigan by guiding them through the process of obtaining bonds needed to improve educational opportunities for all students,” the statement read.
Huntington declined to comment, saying it wanted to give Kahler’s family privacy.
Kahler, an avid runner and golfer, was born in Mount Clemens, Michigan, and graduated from Hillsdale College with a degree in accounting. His volunteer activities included work at Catholic Community of St. Jude, Knights of Columbus, the Detroit Bond Club, and Michigan Association of School Boards.
He is survived by his wife, Linda, and their children Audrey and Adam who attended DeWitt schools.
Visitation is set for Wednesday, Jan. 26 from 4-8 p.m. at The Catholic Community of St. Jude, 801 N. Bridge Street, DeWitt and a funeral mass will be celebrated on Jan. 27 at 11 a.m. at The Catholic Community of St. Jude, 801 N. Bridge Street, with visitation beginning at 10 a.m.
The Funeral Mass will be livestreamed on the McGeehan Funeral Home Facebook page: www.facebook.com/McGeehanFuneralHomes. A Celebration of Life Luncheon at Eagle Eye Golf & Banquet Center will follow the mass. A reservation is appreciated, but not required at eventbrite.com
Memorials can be made to The Kahler Foundation to benefit K-12 public school students.