Summer 2016 Issue
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In Memoriam

Daniel Edward Kowler, MD

Dr. KowlerDaniel Edward Kowler, MD, of Richmond, Virginia, passed away on July 2, 2016, surrounded by his devoted and loving family. He was the son of the late Miriam and Samuel Kowler, and was also preceded in death by his sister, Judith Lynn Kowler. The love of each other's lives and in fact sharing their birthday, Dan is survived by his wife of over 48 years, Judith. Together, they cherished their children, Suzanne Grace Gelbard (Jon), Andrew Lewis Kowler (Astrid Kowler-Martinez) and Laura Francine Kowler; and their grandchildren, Sonora Rose Gelbard, Grace Mikaela Gelbard, Samuel Micah Kowler-Martinez and Paula Michal Kowler-Martinez. He is also survived by a brother, Richard (Constance), and many other family members and friends. Dan was born on May 19, 1944, in Newburgh, New York and grew up in Forest Hills, New York.

He attended college at the Cooper Union, where he earned a B.S. in chemical engineering. He also attended graduate school at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich., where he earned a Ph.D. in chemical engineering. He went on to attend medical school at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, where he was a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha, Honor Medical Society. He completed his residency in psychiatry at the University of North Carolina Memorial Hospital in Chapel Hill, N.C. He was board certified in Virginia in medicine and surgery in 1977, and certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in 1980. Dan was a well-respected psychiatrist with a specialty in psychoanalytic psychotherapy for over 37 years, and was very devoted to his patients. He was a supervisor, lecturer on personality disorders and psychoanalytic theory at VCU College of Medicine Department of Psychiatry, and the psychiatric consultant at the University of Richmond. He was respected for his exemplary service as both president and treasurer of the Richmond Psychoanalytic Society and received the American Psychiatric Association Distinguished Life Fellow award. Dan had great love for and complete devotion to his family; he lived with a sense of optimism, fairness and integrity. He had a lifelong passion for classical music, becoming an accomplished pianist and, in his youth, cellist and bass player. He brought his warm smile to the world in traveling to pursue treatment options, Dan and Judy connected with family and friends in New York, Houston, and Seattle. This brought sweet times to help soften the very difficult challenges. Dan and Judy shared a sense of hopefulness, always savoring the time they had together. Their family and friends have brought so much light to their lives, helping to ease the challenges. He was an inspiration to so many people.

He was a gentle soul who celebrated life, was a devoted friend and an inspiration to so many. The family would like to thank the doctors and staff at the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the Thomas Palliative Care Unit. A celebration of Dan's life was held onTuesday, July 5. Interment followed in Richmond Beth-El Cemetery, Forest Lawn. Contributions may be made to the Leukemia-Lymphoma Society, CAMERA, Temple Beth-El, VCU Massey Cancer Center or a fund of your choice.


In Memoriam

Mary Carroll Shemo, MD, DLFAPA

Dr. ShemoMary Carroll Shemo, MD, DLFAPA, died on Sunday, July 3, 2016, at 5:20 pm from a glioblastoma multiform (malignant brain tumor) found on February 7, 2013. She underwent extensive treatment with neurosurgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, and survived for far longer than was expected, a testament to the strong spirit that everyone who knew her experienced. Though she did endure progressive neurological deficits, it was clear to all involved in her care that the essence of Mary endured – her strength, her kindness, her keen intellect, her spirituality, and her unfailing humor.

Mary was born in Washington, DC on February 3, 1950. Her father, Charles Carroll, served in both the Navy and Air Force to the rank of Colonel. He had a PhD in electrical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley and a law degree from Georgetown University. He worked in military intelligence for many years; at one point he was the Chief of Technical Intelligence for the Navy Chief of Staff. Mary’s mother, Amelia Fisher, had a degree in chemistry. Mary was in a sibship of eight, including an adopted sister Linda, who was a maternal cousin whose mother died suddenly at a young age, as then also occurred with Linda.

Mary grew up in a military family which moved frequently. She was, however, especially shaped by her childhood time on a farm in Pennsylvania, as well as her early adolescence in Pacific Palisades, California, where she literally lived down the street from Ronald Reagan.

Mary attended Wheeling Jesuit College where she majored in biology with minors in philosophy and theology. She graduated as valedictorian of her class and was a member of Alpha Sigma Nu, the National Honor Society of Jesuit colleges and universities. While there she met her husband, John, in 1969. They married on May 20, 1972. Also in 1972 Mary entered medical school at West Virginia University where John was already enrolled. In medical school, she was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha, the National Medical Honor Society, in her third year, the earliest career point of eligibility. She completed her psychiatric residency in 1979, and then was recruited by the University of Virginia where she became Director of the University of Virginia Student Health Service Psychiatric Division. After several years in this position, she entered private practice.

In addition to her clinical and academic roles, Mary served in multiple positions on the Psychiatric Society of Virginia Board of Directors. She was asked on three occasions to run for the office of President of the PSV, unopposed, but persistently declined as she simply did not like to “run meetings.” She did serve for three years as a member of the steering committee for the American Psychiatric Association Practice Guidelines. In her practice she was extensively involved with an integrated biopsychosocial medical model of treatment, while also engaging as principal investigator in a broad array of research studies. Mary has been elevated to the position of Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, the highest level an APA member can obtain.

Mary and John have two daughters and two sons-in-law, Bryna Carroll Pfaffenberger and her husband, Michael, and Cordelia Palmer Wolf and her husband, Josiah. Mary and John have been extremely grateful that both these daughters and their husbands have been able to find ways to relocate back to Charlottesville during Mary’s illness. Their presence and support has been a true blessing.

Mary had always, even in her college days, had a keen interest in natural cures and the therapeutic benefit of botanicals, long before this was “trendy.”  On scuba trips through the Caribbean she would arrange excursions with the resident biologist on various islands to learn about the native plants and their uses. She would have fascinating discussions connecting their botanicals with ours.

Mary has always been a highly spiritual person. She was raised Catholic and always had a very positive experience of this: that salvation is not by “faith alone” or that one must “avoid sin.”  Rather, she held the religious perspective that we are expected to actively be committed to finding ways to do good, that the ultimate message of the Bible comes down to one commandment: “That which you do unto these the least of my brethren, you do unto me.”

Mary is a descendant of Charles Carroll of Carrolton, the only Catholic and the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence. He reportedly added “of Carrolton” to his signature so King George would know where to find him. As is true of most Americans here for three generations or more, Mary is of mixed ethnicity including Irish, German, and Native American.

Mary’s interests and skills were extensive. She was always reading three or four books on an extensive array of subjects. She sang and danced, including choral and ballet, while also being skilled in Zen Judo. She went on long portage trips in Canada, skied and had master’s certification in scuba diving. She drew, painted, sculpted, and wrote poetry. She was a magnificent cook, designed and crafted beautiful clothes and jewelry, and had a truly magical touch with plants. She was a remarkably caring and skillful physician and, most importantly, she nurtured and encouraged two wonderful daughters. She likewise took her role of being a godmother very seriously and has maintained very close relationships with her godchildren.

Mary is survived by her husband of 44 years, John Palmer David Shemo, MD, DLFAPA, and her two daughters and their husbands, as referenced above. She is also survived by her siblings, Eric, Martha, Alan, Claire, Barbara, and Elizabeth. An adopted sister, Linda, who was the daughter of a maternal aunt who died at age 26, died herself at age 40. She is also survived by very special godchildren, Eric Carroll, MD, and Lauren, Nathan, and Christopher Mott.

The family wishes to acknowledge the healthcare team who helped Mary through this long journey, including David Shiff, MD, James Larner, MD, and Andrew Wolf, MD, and their clinical associates at UVA. They also express gratitude to those who helped keep Mary in her home for almost three and a half years, including Selita Hester, Margay Featherston, and Fran Ingram. We likewise thank Kristen Heinan, MD, Jeannie Scanlan, and Father Stephen Alcott, OP who visited from church and brought Mary communion and prayed with her. Father Stephen also administered last rites to Mary. We thank Hospice of the Piedmont for their kind assistance in Mary’s last days. We are also so grateful for the kindness of the staff at Psychiatric Alliance of the Blue Ridge, Mary’s clinical practice, including Anne Candella, Ann Patterson, Linda Terry, Angel Morris, RN, and Hillary Pascall, RN.

Finally acknowledged are Mary’s many friends, colleagues and patients who gave such kind support. Her array of friends includes Ellen, Carter and Nicholas Elliott, Paul and Cindy Mott and their three delightful children, and Drs. Barbara and Tom Ingersoll – dear friends and kindred spirits of over 40 years.

At her request, her brain is being donated for teaching purposes to the UVA Department of Neuro-oncology and her remains will be cremated. Memorial contributions may be made in her memory to the PSV Foundation to support advocacy for those with disabling psychiatric illness. CLICK HERE to make your online contribution or mail your check to: PSV, 2209 Dickens Road, Richmond, Virginia 23230-2005. Be sure to include Dr. Mary Shemo in the memo line of your check. Questions? Call 804 565-6377.

Thacker Brothers Scottsville Funeral Home handled the arrangements. Family and friends may share memories and photos at

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