MAYWOOD, Ill. (Nov. 14, 2014) – Michael Koller, MD, a compassionate physician, master teacher, skilled musician and beloved member of the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine community, died peacefully at his Oak Park home Nov. 11 after a long illness. He was 53.
Dr. Koller was assistant dean for Educational Affairs; chair of the Admissions Committee; director of Second-Year Curriculum; associate professor; and president of the Alumni Relations Board. He twice received teacher-of-the-year awards: the Outstanding Basic Science Faculty of the Year Award and the Ralph Leischner Master Teacher Award.
“Dr. Koller touched innumerable lives in his many roles here, serving as a model for students and colleagues alike,” said Linda Brubaker, MD, MS, dean and chief diversity officer of Stritch School of Medicine.
Colleagues described Dr. Koller as generous, caring, supportive, loving and kind, with an endearing and self-deprecating sense of humor.
“He was Loyola through and through,” said Aaron Michelfelder, MD, assistant dean for educational affairs.
Sandra Cavalieri, senior manager for educational affairs, added: “Dr. Koller gave of himself totally to everyone. We all loved him very much.
Dr. Koller was a highly skilled pianist and pipe organist. He was the longtime music director and choir director at St. Victor Church in Calumet City, Ill. And every fall, he wrote and starred in a humorous music video urging Loyola University Health System employees to get their flu shots. Wearing crazy costumes, he would sing pop songs with rewritten lyrics – for example singing “The Flu is Back” to the tune of “My Boyfriend’s Back."
Dr. Koller grew up in Calumet City, Ill., and graduated from Bishop Noll Institute in Hammond, Ind., and Western Illinois University in Macomb, Ill. He earned a medical degree and completed a residency in internal medicine at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.
Dr. Koller, an internist, treated about 300 priests from the Archdiocese of Chicago and Diocese of Joliet, and chaired the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Health Program for Priests Advisory Board.
After becoming a physician, Dr. Koller earned a master of divinity degree from University of St. Mary of the Lake (also known as Mundelein Seminary). “His experience as a seminarian, and his love for the church, gave Dr. Koller an affectionate affinity toward the priesthood, which translated into a desire to serve the health needs of priests,” said Keith Muccino, SJ, MD, a priest and Loyola physician. “He understood that priests can at times be self-giving to the exclusion of their personal health needs."
Dr. Koller’s nurse, Ramute Kemeza, RN, said Dr. Koller was “personable, focused, dedicated and caring. He was concerned about the entire patient, not just the physical component."
Dr. Koller volunteered at many Stritch student and alumni events, often serving as an ambassador for the school.
Dr. Koller is survived by his loving brother, Mark (Eileen) Koller, DDS. He is the cherished uncle of Erin, Sean and Brendan Koller, and beloved son of his late father, John C. Koller, and his late mother, Marcy Koller.
Visitation will be 3- 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21, at St. Victor Church, 553 Hirsh Ave., Calumet City. Visitation again will be held on Saturday, Nov. 22, from 9:30 a.m. until the 10:30 a.m. Mass at St. Victor Church. Entombment will be at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery & Mausoleum in Calumet City.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Stritch’s Michael W. Koller, MD/William C. Bayer, MD, Medical Student Scholarship Fund. Contributions also may be made payable to Loyola University Chicago, St. Victor Church or the Mercy Home for Boys & Girls.