James Kahl, MD

Obituary of James Kahl, MD


James Bennett Kahl, MD., passed away early on Christmas morning. Dr. Kahl was 85 years old, born on June 9, 1932 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.


Jim was a loving husband to Grace (nee Hahn) Kahl, of Johnstown, PA. and the late Jane (nee Cowan) Kahl, of Greensburg, PA. Jim was the father of Kristine Kahl Kenyon, James Kahl and Harold Kahl, the grandfather of Nick Kenyon, Casey Kahl, Emily Kenyon, and Harmon Kahl, and brother of Carol Kahl.  He is also survived by three stepchildren and three step-grandchildren.


His father, Dr. H.T. Kahl was a well-respected general surgeon, his mother, a school teacher who died when he was young.  His paternal grandmother helped to raise him and his sister while his dad was stationed overseas, participating in WWII.


He graduated from Westmont-Upper Yoder High School in Johnstown in 1950. Always active in sports, he was proud of winning the Pennsylvania Backstroke Championship at the age of 13.  He went on to play varsity football for the Penn Quakers at the University of Pennsylvania under top coach, George Munger. To this day the “Mungermen” return to Philadelphia for a reunion, even though Coach Munger retired from coaching in 1954. He loved his years at Penn. Even his car’s license plate read UPENN 92 (his football jersey number).


His college association with Sigma Chi Fraternity continued and just last year he was awarded the honor of Significant Sig.


Jim attended Hahnemann Medical School (now Drexel), graduating in 1958 with an internship at Lee Hospital in Johnstown and Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA.  He went on to serve two years in the US Navy at St. Albans Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY. He took his residency in Plastic Surgery at The Christ Hospital in Cincinnati. Later he would serve at the Director of Plastic Surgery Residency Program from 1972-1985.  His medical aspirations were attributed to his father and his father-in-law, James Cowan, who was the first plastic surgeon in Pittsburgh. Like them, Jim devoted hours to the care of his patients, and also like them, he loved his profession.


In 1967, he was one of the founders of the Aesthetic Society, and in the 1970’s he also helped found the International Aesthetic Society.  When his grandson, Casey, was diagnosed with Niemann-Pick C (a genetic disorder), Jim, along with Ara Parseghian, worked raising money to help find a cure. 


Golf was his hobby and his passion.  In early years, he played at Sunnehanna Country Club in Johnstown, and later, as a member of Kenwood Country Club in Cincinnati, serving as President of the Country Club in 1988 and 1990. Over the years he accumulated well over 50 golf championships and awards. The #11 hole on the Kendale Course at Kenwood Country Club is dedicated to him.


He was great friends with Pete Dye, the golf course architect. Every time Pete would build a course, Jim would join. At one point belonged to 13 golf clubs. His favorite was Casa de Campo, in the Dominican Republic, where he maintained a home for years.



Great fun. Hard working. Loyal. Personable.  His email address tells it all…” Jolly Quaker”.


Dr. Kahl’s family will be receiving friends in the atrium at Armstrong Chapel UMC, 5125 Drake Rd. (45243), on Friday, January 5th from 10AM until the time of memorial service, 11AM. In lieu of flowers donations may be directed to ARA Parseghian Medical Research Foundation,  University of Notre Dame, P.O. Box 802275, Chicago, IL( 60680- 9841), or http://parseghian.org