Harry R. Kahler, who co-owned a company that provided technical services to federal agencies including NASA, died of cancer Jan. 14 at his home in Timonium. He was 94.
Born in Utica, New York, Mr. Kahler was the only son of Nellie M. Kahler, a homemaker, and Harry T. Kahler, who ran a grocery store in Oriskany, New York.
Mr. Kahler played varsity baseball and basketball in high school at Oriskany Central School before attending St. Lawrence University in New York, where he was a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He graduated from what was then known as Utica College of Syracuse University, where he earned varsity letters in baseball and basketball, with a degree in mathematics in 1951.
In 1971, Utica College recognized him as one of its “All Time Basketball Stars,” according to an obituary Mr. Kahler wrote before his death. Writing an obituary in advance was in character for his father, his son Chris said.
“His famous line was ‘If it’s not on paper, it’s not a plan.’ And he was all about plans,” Chris said.
After graduating from college, Mr. Kahler was drafted into the U.S. Army and served 18 months in Korea. He married Carol Bishop Kahler in 1953 after his discharge. The two met at a basketball game in 1950 and were married for 66 years before his wife’s death in 2019.
The family moved frequently around the United States, although Mr. Kahler’s son Chris mostly grew up in Maryland. In his pre-written obituary, Mr. Kahler credited his wife Carol with ensuring the family’s moves went smoothly.
After getting a job as a mathematician at the Air Force Rome Development Center in Rome, New York, Mr. Kahler worked for several companies that provided technical services to aerospace companies.
He was one of three owners of RMS Technologies, Inc., which managed computer systems for federal agencies including the Federal Aviation Administration, NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense. The company designed the computer system that supported NASA’s space shuttle, Chris said.
“What he is most proud of is being a part of that start-up company,” Chris said. All four of Mr. Kahler’s children spent time working for their father’s business.
“We’re all tied professionally, our careers, to his success,” Chris said. “Everyone got the benefit of his vision.”
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Mr. Kahler was an involved father, according to Chris and his daughter Barbara Delluomo, especially when it came to his kids’ sports teams.
“It really boiled down to spending time with his children’s interests and hobbies,” Chris said. Mr. Kahler coached his children in basketball and baseball and nurtured his daughter’s interest in horseback riding, buying her horses and building a stable behind the house.
When the family lived in Acton, Massachusetts, there was no organized basketball league, so Mr. Kahler started one to ensure his kids could play.
His children described Mr. Kahler as an excellent, if sometimes fanciful, storyteller who valued family gatherings, including Christmas. Topics ranged from Korean War tales to childhood remembrances of his father, the grocery store owner, lobbing potatoes at him and his misbehaving friends.
“He didn’t repeat stories,” his son Chris said. “It was just about keeping the memories alive and sharing it, no matter how long ago it was.”
Services will be held at Lemmon Funeral Home of Dulaney Valley, 10 W. Padonia Road, Timonium, at 2 p.m.
Mr. Kahler is survived by his daughter Ms. Barbara Delluomo of Cockeysville; his sons Mr. Lawrence Kahler of Fairfax, Virginia and Mr. Christopher Kahler of Winston-Salem, North Carolina and Mr. Steven Kahler of Pasadena; 12 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.