Dr. Daniel Ian Kaufer
1959 - 2020
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Dr. Daniel Ian Kaufer

Durham

Dan was born March 7, 1959, in St. Louis Missouri, son of the late Harry Lee and the late Beverly Simon Kaufer. He succumbed to cancer on July 2, 2020 after a brief illness.

Dan graduated University City High School and matriculated to the University of Wisconsin—Madison, where he received his BS degree Cum Laude in Molecular Biology and Zoology, followed by his MD degree, and a residency in neurology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). He went on to do a fellowship in geriatric neurology at UCLA and, for several years, served on the faculty of neurology and psychiatry at UPMC. He later joined the faculty of neurology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as an associate professor and founding director of the UNC Memory Disorders Program.

Dan enjoyed an international reputation in the treatment of dementia and Alzheimer's disease, and was renowned for his work in Lewy Body Dementia and Primary Progressive Aphasia. He co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. His research focused on developing novel clinical tools for improving the diagnosis and treatment of degenerative dementias, notably Frontotemporal Degeneration and Lewy Body Dementia.

Dan was the recipient of many honors and distinctions, including election as a fellow into the American Academy of Neurology and as President of the Society for Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology. He took medical education seriously and mentored hundreds of medical students and residents over the decades. In addition to his academic and educational work, Dan was deeply devoted to patient and family care. He recognized that patients with memory disorders put severe stress on family caregivers and through his clinical research as well as advocacy, he sought to improve the experience of family caregivers as well as the loved ones they cared for.

Beyond advancing the lives of people, Dan had a green thumb. His home was lushly appointed with over 100 colorful indoor plants and his office likely half that. Outdoors, he was a master at all-season color and strove to find the perfect harmony between height, color, growth habit, and texture. He moved non-potted outdoor plants around like indoor furniture. He explained that moving plants for enhanced aesthetic effect calmed his mind after long stressful workdays.

Dan was a devoted father to his precious daughter Ella and a loving partner to his significant other, Denise Haviland. He is survived by a sister, Nancy Lehrer (Harvey) of St. Louis and his brother, David Kaufer (Barbara) of Pittsburgh. He was an adored presence in a large network of aunts, cousins, nieces, and nephews.

In honor of Dan, checks should be made payable to the UNC Health Foundation. Please note on the check that it is a memorial for the Daniel I. Kaufer Memory Disorders Fund. Donations may be sent to the UNC Health Foundation, 123 W. Franklin Street, Suite 510 Chapel Hill, NC 27516 and online donations can be made here: unchealthfoundation.org/kaufermemorial. If you have questions, please contact: Aron Johnson, UNC Department of Neurology: 910-409-2973, aron_johnson@med.unc.edu.

Condolences may be shared at CremationSocietyNC.com

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The News and Observer & Herald Sun on Jul. 5, 2020.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
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11 entries
August 7, 2020
Through the brief time I was acquainted with Dr. Kaufer, it was easy to see what a caring and devoted doctor he was. He was a force to be reckoned with in his dedication to researching and further knowledge and understanding of the cruel disease of dementia. He was clearly dedicated to helping his patients through one of the most traumatic experiences a person could go through in life. His passing is such a tragic loss for all who loved him- his family, friends, and patients. I pray that the torch he so boldly carried will not be extinguished, so that his work will not have been in vain. Rest In Peace, Sir.
Dana
Acquaintance
July 29, 2020
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Javier Villagra
Coworker
July 29, 2020
a great person, forever Dan
Javier Villagra
Coworker
July 26, 2020
This is such a shock to me and my family - Dan had so much vitality it is very hard to comprehend that he is gone. He was an outstanding, brilliant physician who was so kind to everyone around him including his patients, fellow physicians, students, and staff. Dan was my mentor and taught me too many lessons to mention - I loved his version of "blue-collar neurology" that made testing and thinking through complex cases accessible to general neurologists. I asked for and Dan gave me permission to use some of the forms and tests that he created, and use it is my practice frequency. He was so generous with his time answering questions from his students and continuing to do so when his students became attending physicians. On a personal note, Dan and my family became close and spent time at each other's houses when we lived in NC, I loved his brilliance, his warmth, and his great sense of humor. We are all saddened by this loss, and proud to have known Dan.
David Delman
Student
July 15, 2020
Met Dr. Kaufer in 2010 when he confirmed my mothers LBD. he was a lifeline of hope for our family and gave her a year of improvement before the disease took over. I have referred many of my patients to him. it was an honor to know him even though he was a Cardinals fan. God bless him and his family for his life lived well
h. k. rhodes
Acquaintance
July 14, 2020
I had the honor of meeting this man we he took care of my dad. Dr Kaufer was an AMAZING man he was such an awesome person, phenomenal neurologist and expert in his field. He will be missed greatly!!
Heidi Shrieves
Acquaintance
July 10, 2020
Dr. Kaufer was a great doctor to my sister who had FTD of the brain. He will be greatly missed. I could Email him any time he would always call me back. My sister Marsha passed away 5 years ago he was so compassionate with our family. I am so glad to have had the please meeting this great man. May his work go on forever. God Bless his family.
Charlotte Melton
Acquaintance
July 10, 2020
Dr. Kaufer was a great doctor to my sister who had FTD of the brain. He will be greatly missed. I could Email him any time he would always call me back. My sister Marsha passed away 5 years ago he was so compassionate with our family. I am so glad to have had the please meeting this great man. May his work go on forever. God Bless his family. I have enclose a picture of my sister Marsha Ferebee
Charlotte Melton
Acquaintance
July 7, 2020
I HAVE JUST LEARNED OF HIS DEATH HE WAS A VERY KIND PATIENT DR. HE HAD JUST RECENTLY FOUND OUT ISSUES THAT WAS GOING ON WITH ME.I WAS SENT A LETTER ON THE 30TH BY HIM.MY PRAYERS GO OUT TO HIS FAMILY . HE WAS 1 IN A MILLION.HE HAD BEEN MY DR. FOR AWHILE. I WILL TRULY MISS HIM .THANKFULLY HE HAD ALREADY SET ME UP WITH ANOTHER DR. GOD BLESS YOU AND REST IN PEACE DR. KAUFER. PRAYERS FOR HIS DAUGHTER AND FAMILY GOD BLESS

GLENDA JOHNSON
Acquaintance
July 7, 2020
Dr. Kaufer was my mother's physician. For the past 4 years, he helped us understand dementia and Parkinson's. But the most important thing about him, was his ability to listen. He would balance the needs of the patient and primary caretaker. He will always be the medical standard for my family when we choose a physician. A fantastic man who we already miss. To the family, stay strong and know he touched so many with his words, kindness, humor and above all, his humanness.
Rick Copeland
Acquaintance
July 3, 2020
Dan was one of those doctors who inspired trainees with his enthusiasm. He truly loved what he did and he was devoted to his beautiful daughter, Ella. I had the immense privilege to have him as my mentor in residency, and we remained friends after I finished my training. I will always remember him as the person who did not allow me to give up during the darkest of times while in residency. In a sense he was like a father to me and I knew I could always trust his advice. I miss him already. My thoughts and prayers are with his family as I can only imagine how much he meant to them.
Leonardo Morantes
Friend
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