David Bahlman, 78, of Davidson County, passed away at his home in Lexington, NC, on Monday, November 13, 2023.
There are no formal services at this time.
David was born on Jul 6, 1945, in Mishawaka, Indiana, the youngest son of the late Henry Louis Bahlman and Hanna Violet Bahlman. After graduation from high school in Findlay, Ohio, Mr. Bahlman went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts degree in Art History at Ohio State University. In 1974, he enrolled in the Ph.D. program in architectural history at the University of Pennsylvania, and from 1976 – 1979 was Assistant Professor of Art History at Ohio State University.
In 1981, Mr. Bahlman left academia and accepted an executive position at Lincoln Center, Inc. in New York, and subsequently became Associate Director of Public Relations for the New York Philharmonic. It was in New York where Mr. Bahlman’s love of architecture, Classical music and decorative arts flourished.
In 1984, Mr. Bahlman accepted the job of Executive Director of the Society of Architectural Historians in Philadelphia, a position he held for nearly a decade, before accepting the position of Executive Director of San Francisco’s Architectural Heritage.
His move into historic preservation coincided with his ability to purchase and restore historic residential structures, a passion which lasted until his death.
In 1999, Mr. Bahlman accepted the position of CEO and President of Landmarks Illinois in Chicago, the statewide not-for-profit preservation organization. In 2003, Mr. Bahlman was instrumental, along with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and prominent Chicago philanthropists, in leading the campaign to save Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House in Plano Illinois, from being purchased at auction and moved out of the state.
In 2008, Mr. Bahlman retired from Landmarks Illinois and moved to Suffield, CT. He was quickly recruited by the State of Connecticut to become its State Preservation Officer and subsequently the State’s Director of Culture. He retired again in 2012.
Mr. Bahlman is survived by a brother, Steven Bahlman, M.D., of Golden Colorado, and by his lifelong friend and partner, Howard Klosterman, M.D. of Lexington, North Carolina, who shared Mr. Bahlman’s passion for the fine arts.
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David A. Bahlman joined SAH in 1975 and served as executive director of SAH in the Philadelphia office from 1984 to 1993. Prior to his role as executive director, he was the SAH Tour Coordinator consultant (1980–1981) and served on the local committees for the 1976 and 1994 SAH annual meetings in Philadelphia.