Ramesh Patel, Chairman FIA (NY-NJ-CT), passes away at 78

Ramesh Patel
Ramesh Patel

Vidya Sethuraman
India Post News Service

Prominent Indian American community leader Ramesh Patel, FIA – NY/NJ/CT Chairman passed away due to complications from Coronavirus on Saturday, June 6. He is survived by his wife, one son and two daughters. Ramesh Patel was born and brought up in Gamdi-Anand, Gujarat India. He came to the USA in 1966 to pursue his MS in Chemical Engineering from Steven Institute of Technology, Hoboken NJ. As a student leader, Mr. Ramesh, had formed the first Indian organization at his college, The Association of Indian Students, to cater to the needs of Indian students. One of the founders of FIA, as chairman of the organization for decades, he led the organization to new heights.

Fondly known as ‘Kaka’ within the community, Mr. Patel had held various positions in the FIA Executive committee including president of the organization from 1988 to 1990. He has been instrumental in establishing a number of events that promote the culture and heritage of India in the US, including FIA’s flagship event – the India Day Parade organized in August. Ramesh was a colossal figure in the Indian American community who made an immense impact on the socio-cultural scene.

Patel, who worked with the NYPD in a senior position in the forensics department till he retired around 12 years ago and was honored with the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2013.

Very sad to learn about the passing away of Ramesh Patel, the Founder Member and Chairperson of Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) after a 2 month long fight against Covid 19. A highly respected Indian American Community leader, we will miss him very much. RIP! India’s Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu tweeted.

“A pioneer who brought together the Community & worked on many issues. I particularly value his strong support to the Consulate”, India’s Consul General in New York Sandeep Chakravorty tweeted.

I’m personally totally devastated & heartbroken to see Ramesh Patel leave us. I have fond memories of working in the National FIA under his astute stewardship when we traveled together all across America to unite Indian-Americans. I could feel his unconditional love for me. I learnt tremendously from him about dedication and devotion for community activism. Ramesh had phenomenal commitment & profound passion towards volunteerism. He touched multitude of lives and his leadership will be missed dearly by everyone. I personally lost a good friend, guide and mentor, said Dr. Romesh Japra, Chairman, FIA of Northern California and Publisher, India Post.

Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, Chairman, Parikh Worldwide Media expressed his thoughts in a Shraddhanjali on ITV Gold, calling Patel a “legendary community leader, my very good friend, my family friend,” and “selfless leader.” “His love and dedication to Bharat guided him to unite the community under one umbrella,” Dr. Parikh said. He founded the India Day Parade 50 years ago,” making 2020 the Golden Jubilee of the celebration. “This is another loss to the community due to the coronavirus. His spirit will guide us. Rameshbhai you will be missed,” Dr. Parikh said, ending with the words, “Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.”

Ramesh Patel was a close friend of TV Asia Chairman and CEO Padma Shri Dr. H R Shah for over 50 years. “Rameshbhai was instrumental in numerous community outreach projects that helped Indian Americans as well brought them mainstream attention in the US and worldwide,” said Dr. Shah. He noted that Ramesh Patel was one of a kind who dedicated his life for the betterment of his fellow human beings and especially the Indian American community. “His dedication to serving the community will never be forgotten. His legacy will live on,” Dr. H R Shah added.

Patel’s name and the India Day parade in New York have been linked together successfully for many years. He made this parade a matter of pride for all Indian Americans, said Angela Anand, current president of the NFIA. He is gone but his legacy lives on and he will be remembered by America as well as by India. Both nations lost a champion who represented India and Indian culture in its best form.

Patel’s passing leaves a void too big to be filled,” FIA president Anil Bansal said. Bansal described Patel as a kind, supportive and strong person who guided the FIA for the past 50 years with his dynamic leadership and vision. “Our most sincere condolences to the family and prayers for peace.

Expressing condolences on Patel’s demise, former President Ankur Vaidya said that the organization has lost its “mentor” and the “community stalwart” will be missed forever. I had the privilege to work with Ramesh Bhai for over 12 years in FIA, have travelled to India and various States with him and we will miss his kind, supportive leadership, added Ankur.

Ramesh Patel is not a rare name in Gujarat, but then, there is only one ‘Ramesh Patel’ who has the honor of dining with Presidents of United states – Ronal Regan, George Bush, Bill Clinton. Or are invited by Indian Prime minister – Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and host visiting cabinet ministers when they arrive in the tri state. Rameshkaka lived by the core principles of celebrating diversity and promoting inclusion in his daily life and was a tremendous role model for the Indian American community. Rameshkaka’s charm, infectious attitude, and kind heart made him easy to love. He will be truly missed, said Srujal Parikh, Trustee, President 2018, Federation of Indian Associations.

From its humble beginnings, Ramesh Patel’s leadership brought FIA from its grassroots origins to its current powerhouse standing in the Indian community of the tri-state area of NY, NJ & CT. His legacy has not only kept the Indian values alive but has kept India’s rich culture and heritage relevant for the future generations of American-born desis. I will dearly miss his ideas and leadership, but most of all his friendship, said Jagdish Patel, Federations of Indian Associations, NY/NJ/CT, Trustee and Past President.

Condolences began flooding in remembering Patel for his good deeds and great friendships.

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