Thursday, June 11, 2020
Watchung, New Jersey, United States
Obituary of Rameshchandra Jivabhai Patel
Please share a memory of Rameshchandra to include in a keepsake book for family and friends.
In loving memory of Rameshchandra Jivabhai Patel, it is with profound sadness we announce that he passed peacefully surrounded by his immediate family on June 6th, 2020 at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. Our father was born on April 20, 1942 in Kasor, India to Jivabhai and Chanchalbhen. After graduating with bachelors in science at J & J College of Sciences in Nadiad, he immigrated to the US in 1965 to attend Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey to study polymer science and chemical engineering. During his time there, he screened Hindi movies for Indian students which catapulted him to form the Indian Students Association (ISA). This ultimately launched the beginning of his lifelong career in community service. For more than a half century thereafter, he devoted his life serving the Indian community in various roles starting with the Federation of Indian Association (FIA) where he rose to Vice President in 1987 and then two term President in 1988-1990. While working two jobs and supporting his family, he never forgot his larger role - to establish and promote Indian Americans and their culture and heritage. During his tenure as a president, there were significant racial tensions and crimes in the tri-state area. One infamous incident was known as “Dotbusters”, and he and the association were an integral part of bringing to light and helped stop these crimes with assistance from politicians and law enforcement. In his life’s work, he was always a catalyst for change. His work continued on a more national level when he became two term president of the National Federation of Indian Association (NFIA) from 1992-1996 during which he used the platform to further the cause of all Indian Americans. He was an instrumental part of bringing wealthy Indian American entrepreneurs, executives and others together during the devastating Indian Earthquake in 2001. He lead an impressive delegation to India, with then former US President Bill Clinton, to tour the areas most affected that had killed more than 20,000 people and damages of more than $4.5 billion. The pride and joy of his time as a community servant was the annual New York India Day Parade, the largest Independence Day parade outside of India that is held in NYC every August. While several community leaders before him started and continued this parade, our father’s enthusiasm, pride, passion and dedication to his motherland was instrumental in bringing Indian communities together from all over the tri-state area as well as the world for this annual celebration. He had remained on as Chairman of the FIA where he continued to dedicate his time to the community but also bringing in the next generation of young and enthusiastic Indians to advance and extend his great work which lead to him being fondly known as ‘Kaka’ (uncle). After nearly five decades of community service, he received the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor in May 2013. When he was not serving the community, he worked as a forensic chemist and supervisor for the NYPD and retired in 2008. When it came to pastimes, he was passionate about the Indian cricket team waking up at all hours to cheer them on and holding the beloved New York Mets near and dear to his heart. He was an avid reader particularly of historical context as he was fascinated by leaders who affected change. But most of the time, you would find him reading Suhash’s many medical textbooks many times over. Despite work, service and pastimes, his most notable impact was with his family. He was the first member of the family to settle in the US and single-handedly brought members of his own and mom’s family to the US over several decades. Whether he made annual trips to India to visit his in-laws, road trips with us all over the US, staying up late to quiz us prior to exams, traveling the world never missing an important event no matter the location, or multiple video calls a day with his three grandchildren if not already in his presence, our father was the true essence of a family man. His favorite way of passing time was being in the company of family, friends or new acquaintances; always capturing their attention as he would recount stories. He was magnanimous, loyal, unconditionally loving, kind hearted, compassionate, charitable and most importantly, hardworking. Dad lived by two basic tenets— whatever you do, give it your all and where there is a will, there is a way. His life example is one we will celebrate and emulate. Rameshchandra is survived by his loving wife Sucheta, two daughters Manisha with her husband Samir and two children Vinay and Jia in Pennsylvania, and Kunjal with her husband Dipesh and son Riaan in Florida, and son Suhash in Connecticut. He has three living younger sisters, Indirabhen, Suryabhen, Kusumbhen and one living younger brother Rajnikant and many nephews and nieces. He is preceded in death by his brother Babubhai and Vinubhai. His children and grandchildren were the pride and joy of his life. The legacy of his kind spirit, passion for community service, and zest for life will live on through us all. Through his dedication both spiritually and his life’s work, may he attain Moksha. Om Namah Shivay. Shankar Dada Ki Jai