Mahendra S. Pandya, age 83, of Chicago, died Sunday, January 29, 2023, after a brief battle with an aggressive form of lung cancer. Mahendra passed away in his daughter’s home, surrounded by his family: son, Arjun Pandya; daughter, Bela Mote; granddaughter, Maya Mote; son-in-law, Rajiv Mote; and a little dog named Loki, who, in Mahendra’s opinion, should have been named “Legend.”
Mahendra was born in Mahemdavad, in the Indian state of Gujarat, in 1939, and moved to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in 1953, where he spent his formative years. He married Malvika Joshi in 1970, and they had their daughter, Bela, in 1972. His small family fled political and social upheaval in East Africa, and they came to the United States in 1974 and settled in Chicago. In 1980, Mahendra and Malvika welcomed their son, Arjun, to the family.
Mahendra’s curiosity, thirst for learning, and proficiency with numbers led to his working as an accountant at Sears Roebuck & Co., with an office in, at the time, the world’s tallest building, and later for Cook County. He was committed to earning a college degree and did so from Northeastern Illinois University, after attending part-time for eight years, while working full time and being an engaged father and husband. His tenacity and curiosity to learn drove some of the most significant decisions in his life.
His children remember his keen interest in politics, anatomy, physiology, and history, and a worldliness he acquired from books and learning when his opportunity to travel was limited. He would strike up a conversation with anyone, and did not let modest means stop him from showing his family the many wonders of Chicago and the world, and indulging in the pleasures of good food and drink, especially a single malt Scotch. They remember an intelligent, proud, loving, and principled man, who inspired the same traits in them. His pride and tenderness for his granddaughter, Maya, was evident even in his final hours.
Mahendra’s life story was simple yet extraordinary, and his children and grandchild are so proud to be a part of it. He was a beloved husband, father, father-in-law, and grandfather and will be deeply missed and forever remembered.
Public Visitation and Eulogies, Friday, February 3, 2023, at 10:30 a.m., at HABEN Funeral Home & Crematory, 8057 Niles Center Rd., Skokie, with cremation immediately following.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Lung Association, 55 W. Wacker Dr., Suite 1150, Chicago, IL, 60601 (lung.org).
Funeral info: 847.673.6111 or habenfuneral.com to sign guestbook and to leave a condolence message.
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