Public finance banker Craig Kahler loses battle with COVID

Michigan-based veteran public finance banker Craig Kahler, who brought his passion for school finances to his role leading a public school district board, died after a battle with COVID-19 last week. He was 58 years old.

Kahler, who was chairman of the DeWitt Public Schools Board, joined Huntington Capital Markets’ public finance team as a managing director specializing in K-12 school financing in June 2020 after spending several years at HilltopSecurities. He previously spent more than 10 years at Fifth Third and four years at UBS.

The Michigan native’s banking career began in 2003 after leading business development at a firm specializing in school architectural design. This position followed his stints at Clarkston Community Schools and Rochester Community Schools where he managed budgets, accounting, payroll, purchasing and capital projects.

Kahler served 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 due to expire at the end of 2022.

DeWitt School Board President Craig Kahler, a public finance banker, died last week.

DeWitt Public Schools

“Craig has served our district well for 10 years, many of them as a board officer,” the DeWitt School Board said in a statement. “Craig was everything a public servant should be: kind, respectful and always ready to listen. He loved working to support DeWitt students and families.

Kahler’s death from pneumonia and COVID-related complications followed a month-long battle with COVID-19.

“Craig has devoted most of his adult life to improving public education, first as a public school finance officer and then helping to improve Michigan school districts by guiding them through the process of obtaining the necessary obligations to improve educational opportunities for all students,” the statement read.

Huntington declined to comment, saying he 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 St. Jude’s Catholic Community, the Knights of Columbus, the Detroit Bond Club, and the Michigan Association of School Boards.

He is survived by his wife, Linda, and their children Audrey and Adam who attended DeWitt Schools.

Visitation is scheduled for Wednesday, January 26 from 4-8 p.m. at St. Jude’s Catholic Community, 801 N. Bridge Street, DeWitt and a funeral mass will be celebrated January 27 at 11 a.m. at St. Jude’s Catholic Community, 801 N. Bridge Street, with tours starting at 10 a.m.

The funeral mass will be streamed live on the McGeehan Funeral Home Facebook page: www.facebook.com/McGeehanFuneralHomes. A celebration of life luncheon at the Eagle Eye Golf & Banquet Center will follow the mass. A reservation is appreciated, but not required on eventbrite.com

Memoirs may be made to the Kahler Foundation for the benefit of public school students in grades K-12.

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