It is my sad duty to inform you that David passed away last night at his home in Troutville, Va. Our sincere condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Susan and daughter Julia, and to all of those who knew and loved him.
David was fighting a rare form of blood cancer (RARS-T, refractory anemia) since 2008. He received transfusions for over a year and finally received a bone marrow transplant in November of 2012. While he was cancer free since December 2012 (yes, he did crush it), complications from the transplant and graft versus host disease claimed his life. David always kept a positive attitude and zest for life, and I know that many patrollers were not even aware of his battle with cancer until our bone marrow donor drive in the fall of 2012.
David joined our patrol in 2006. Not surprisingly, he received the Outstanding Candidate of the Year award. He achieved Senior status during the 08/09 season. David was our Instructor of Record (Papa Bear) for the candidate OEC class for both the 10/11 and 11/12 seasons. He was awarded the Patroller of the Year in 2012. I know David received some Division and NSP awards and I am still gathering that information as of this writing.
David’s enthusiasm and energy were absolutely contagious. He undeniably left his mark on this patrol. We have been sharing many stories over the last few months about David, and we will undoubtedly continue to do so in the future. I think the fact that his name has entered our lexicon, as in, “pulling a Kilmer” to refer to running up the slope to reach an accident, speaks volumes. As a tribute to David, and recognizing his contribution to molding new fresh candidate minds to our way of thinking, it is our intention to permanently affix David’s name tag to a locker in the ALS room, and award that locker each year to the “Outstanding Candidate of the Year”. I spoke with Susan earlier and she heartily approved this idea.
He will be missed. He will not be forgotten.
DR. DAVID ROBERT KILMER
- May 29, 2013
Few patrollers make as much impact on a patrol in their lifetime as David Kilmer did in his seven-year career. While battling a rare form of Leukemia (RARS-T and myeloid metaplasia) for the last five years, “Kilmer” became a legendary Wintergreen patroller.
David joined the Wintergreen Ski Patrol in 2006 following a remarkable and varied life in which he was an 82nd Airborne paratrooper, an Alaskan pipeline roughneck, a Crested Butte ski bum, and a physician for the USA Olympic Taekwondo Team. He was named the outstanding candidate in his rookie year, and in 2007 he became an OEC instructor, incorporating his emergency care experience and innate teaching gifts, with his broad and deep background in chiropractic medicine, nutrition, acupuncture and ART therapy.
In 2009 David achieved senior patroller status, and was subsequently named IOR “Papa Bear” for the 2010 and 2011 candidate classes. In 2012, he was named Wintergreen’s patroller of the year. In the same year, he was named the Southern Division’s OEC instructor of the year, and was awarded a Silver Merit Star as runner-up for national OEC instructor of the year. Perhaps his most indelible mark on the patrol is found in the Wintergreen Ski Patrol lexicon, as we now refer to running up a slope to reach an accident as “pulling a Kilmer.”
David had a warm, engaging, and exuberant personality. He was compassionate, capable and driven, giving as much time and effort as he could to the patrol and his patients, even when he was weeks out from his last transfusion, struggling with a low red blood cell count. David also achieved legendary status in the kitchen, cooking popular patrol house meals for dozens, including his famous shrimp etouffee and paella.
As an avid and experienced mountain biker on the treacherous single track in the mountains near his Roanoke, VA home, David used his rides in his final years to measure and remind himself that he was winning his fight with cancer. Often putting distance on younger riders, David liked to remark that he was “crushing it.” That line became the rallying cry for his final campaign against Leukemia. Kilmer’s “Crush it!” drive supported David before and during his recovery from a potentially life-saving bone marrow transplant, while also signing up dozens of new marrow donors, and raising donor registry awareness throughout central Virginia.
As a lasting memorial to David, and in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to the Wintergreen Patrol, David’s name will be permanently affixed to a locker that will be awarded each season to the previous year’s outstanding candidate.
David was fond of the saying that life is not a dress rehearsal, and that’s exactly how he lived. We will miss him terribly, and we will always be inspired by his example.
David Kilmer is survived by his wife, Susan, daughter, Julia, and sister Nancy Marsiglia.
If you’d like to help David’s family with their heavy financial burden please send a check to: Parkway Wesleyan Church, 3645 Orange Avenue, N.E., Roanoke, VA 24012. Note on the check that it’s for the Kilmer Fund.
To learn more about the National Marrow Donor Program, visit www.bethematch.org