1936 - 2016

Donald Cahill, M.D. (ANAT ’80)

Dr. Donald R. Cahill, 80, beloved husband, father, and grandfather, passed away on Dec. 22, 2016, in Tucson, Ariz. Donald was born to Clarence and Ruth (Ferguson) Cahill in Glasgow, Mont., on Sept. 2, 1936. He served as in the US Army (1955-1957) as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. He married the love of his life, Susan (Messick) in 1959. Donald graduated from Montana State University in 1960. He earned a Master’s Degree from the University of Washington in 1964, and a Ph.D. from Temple University in 1968. Donald is survived by his wife, Susan; his children, Kari Cahill (husband Randy Hoffman), and Duane Cahill (fiancé Sheri Pierson); grandchildren, Jesse Cahill (wife Alyssa Boone), Alex Cahill, and Anna Cahill-Hoffman. He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Dorothy Wiedrich, and granddaughter, Paige Cahill.

Dr. Cahill was a scientist and dedicated educator of anatomy to medical students at Northwestern University (1968-1971), the University of Miami (1971-1980), and Chairman at the Mayo Medical School (1980-1998). After retirement, he was called to serve for a year at Dartmouth Medical School. At Mayo, he instituted the Convocation of Thanks, a closure ceremony for families of donors to the Anatomy Donor Program. Dr. Cahill was the founding member of the American Association of Clinical Anatomists. Dr. Cahill published an atlas of human anatomy, numerous research papers and was on the cutting edge of computer aided instruction. He was the Editor-in-Chief for the Clinical Anatomy journal. Dr. Cahill traveled worldwide lecturing at seminars.

Donald was a hard worker, who somehow found time to enjoy many pastimes such as woodcarving, photography, gardening, painting, restoring his 1953 Kaiser, motorcycling, and especially flying his Coyote ultralight aircraft nicknamed “Wiley.” He was a handyman who could repair his vehicles and anything around the home. He enjoyed running marathons and boating. He taught his children and grandson to water-ski and motorcycle. He loved his grandchildren and teaching them about the wonders of life.

After retiring, in 2001, Donald and Susan moved to Arizona. In 2015, Donald was diagnosed with dementia and moved to an assisted living facility near home. He was visited frequently by Susan and remained there until he passed away.

In lieu of flowers, family requests memorials, in Dr. Cahill’s name, to Mayo Clinic to further medical research. This can be done by calling 1-855-852-8129 or online at https://philanthropy.mayoclinic.org/donatemc.

Obituary courtesy of Rochester Post-Bulletin