David “Dave” Charles Kem

David “Dave” Charles Kem


Kem, David pic for folder

David Charles Kem M.D., 83, child of God, beloved brother, husband, father, grandfather, and friend went home to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on November 22, 2020.

David Kem and his three brothers were raised in Richmond, Indiana, by their parents Charles and Janice Kem, a dentist and schoolteacher. He was educated in a rural school where he played sports and was challenged to excel by a perceptive teacher. He graduated from the city high school with honors. He accepted the Lord as his Savior at a young age and attended Earlham College where he majored in pre-med and chemistry, played varsity tennis, and graduated with honors. He met Janet Trueblood in college and they were married just two weeks before he entered the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City.  His postdoctoral training took place at the University of Michigan.

David served during the Viet Nam War and was assigned to Tripler Army Hospital in Hawaii as Chief of the Endocrine Service. After finishing his Army career he was recruited to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. He was subsequently recruited to the University of Oklahoma Department of Medicine to develop the then defunct Endocrinology Section. He recruited gifted teachers, reestablished his research and started a fellowship program that produced 28 endocrinologists by the time he stepped down as section chief in 2001. He continued full time patient care, teaching and research. Dr. Kem also had interests in teaching ethical and moral issues on campus. He served as a faculty advisor for the Christian Medical and Dental Society and also co-founded the annual A. Kurt Weiss bioethics lectureship, serving as trustee of the event for over 33 years. He was always open to visits from students, residents and former fellows for advice and counsel.

David and Janet celebrated 61 years of marriage in August. He was a devoted family man and was proud of his five children, twenty-one grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. His interests included tennis, woodworking, camping, photography, travel and history which he enjoyed sharing with family. He served as a discussion leader for Bible Study Fellowship. Dave had a wonderful sense of humor, enjoyed classical music, and was a fan of his Sooners.

Dave was preceded in death by his parents Dr. Charles and Janice Kem and his brother retired General Sam Kem. He is survived by his brothers, Dr. Jan Kem and Dr. Bill Kem (Carol); his wife, Janet Kem; his children, Laura Liles (Gary), Carla Collier (Clyde), Dr. David E. Kem (Gwendy), Sam Kem (Heather), Marie Holden (Darril); his grandchildren, Andrew Collier (Emily), Daniel Collier (Paige), Dr. Campbell Liles (Emily), Darril Holden (Bradi), Sam Collier (Cheyenne), Hannah Liles, Michael Holden, Matthew Collier (Ruth), Jonathan Liles (Abbey), Karsten Kem (Kate), Joe Collier (Stephanie), Clare Holden, Zach Kem, Anne Marie Kem, Emily Liles, Grace Collier, Dasha Kem, Faith Liles, Jenna Holden, Justin Kem, David Collier; his great grandchildren, Luke Collier, Lilly Collier, Collin Holden; and many loved nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to either Faith Bible Church Missions (https://faithbible.ccbchurch.com/goto/giving) or the A. Kurt Weiss Lectureship Fund at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation (www.occf.org).

A celebration of Dave’s life will be held on Sunday, November 29, at 1:30 in the Chapel at Faith Bible Church (600 N. Coltrane Rd. Edmond, OK 73034). Social distancing will be observed and masks will be required. To view the livestream Click here.

11 thoughts on “David “Dave” Charles Kem”

  1. Danny Cavett

    I will always remember Dr. Kem as a great mentor and practitioner of both medicine and his faith.

  2. Melissa Ohagan

    I have worked with you and have been your nurse for 15 years, I will miss you more than you will ever know.. listening to you talk about your research, catecholamines, beta cells etc that I didn’t really understand. You were a brilliant physician and sweet, sweet man. Air love you forever Dr. Kem. ?

  3. George Selby

    I was honored to have Dr. Ken as a friend and colleague. He was also my fathers physician and they were quite the odd couple razzing each other about politics but having great respect for each other. A lesson to us all in these times.

  4. Donna Gregory

    I’ve worked with Dr. Kem this past year. He was such a lovely, dedicated person. Always so kind, sweet, and professional. A true gentleman. He has made an incredible impact on the health and lives of Oklahomans, particularly in his role in helping found what is now OCAST. My deepest and most heartfelt condolences to his family and all who loved him. Flights of angels, Dr. Kem. You will be remembered and missed.

  5. Kenneth Dormer

    The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him. Proverbs 20:7

    It was a priviledge to call David Kem, friend. He was a Godly man, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, physician, educator, scientist and mentor.

    Memorable service: he (voluntarily) helped Joni Earekson Tada to heal and she has impacted the world.
    Memorable event: Playing cribbage in a booth at Braum’s ice cream store with him and Janet following an ice cream treat.
    Memorable character trait: honoring life as the IMAGO DEI in his home and medical practice.

  6. Zsolt and Eva Nagykaldi

    We are truly saddened about Dr. Kem’s passing. Not only he was an outstanding mentor, leader and friend, he was also a wonderful human being who was a great blessing to his family, loved ones and his extensive circle of colleagues. Our hearts are broken, but we are consoled by our trust in God’s mercy as we commend his soul to the Lord.

    Requiem æternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace.

  7. Niyaz and Albina

    Dr Kem has been a true teacher and friend to so many of us. His scope of knowledge and vision were amazing: among many qualities he had a great interest in history and sports and could pick up a conversation at any level. Dr Kem’s ability to put facts and persuade discussants was uncanny… We will miss his wit, kindness, conversations about medical field, history, sports, unique sense of humor and life mightily and will treasure memories forever! Thank you for making so many of us better and Rest in Peace!

  8. Michael Bronze

    David was a cherished member of the department of medicine, a gifted researcher and educator and a valued friend. He represented the best of all of us.

  9. Kristi Koelsch

    Dr. Kem was an inspirational colleague who approached his research with brilliant creativity, enthusiasm, and energy. I feel very lucky to have known him and will miss him.

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