View Sudesh Kataria’s Obituary
Dr. Sudesh Kataria, 70, of Greenville and Raleigh, passed away at home on Oct. 16, 2011. Governor appointed commissions relating to underserved children’s health issues. Sudesh was born on Aug. 15, 1941, in Lahore, India, a region which is now Pakistan. She was the daughter of the late Mehar Chand Bhatia and Kesar Devi Bhatia. Her family moved to Jalandhar, Punjab Province, India, during the Partition period. Growing up in Jalandhar, she and her four sisters struggled to rebuild their lives from nothing, as they had been left refugees. Sudesh would recount harrowing tales of Partition, a brutal period in India’s history. Sudesh remained knowledgeable about the world, and throughout her life, she maintained a passion for current events and business. After she graduated from Government Girls High School Jalandhar, her parents moved the family to Chandigarh, India, and they began planning to arrange her marriage to a young man, as was typical for young women in India. However, Sudesh had other plans for her life she wanted to become a physician. In 1960s India, pursuing a medical degree was ugg wedges still considered a man’s path, and very few women in her culture were encouraged to pursue it. Nevertheless, she applied and was accepted to Amritsar Medical College. Her father resisted this, feeling that it would be too difficult to “marry her off” if she became “too educated.” Medical education was also a cost the family could not afford. She was again admitted, and she chose Lady Harding Medical School in New Delhi, India, and this time received a merit based tuition scholarship from the Punjab Government to pay for medical school. Lady Harding was for women only, and she thought this would convince her conservative parents to give her a chance. Her family finally agreed, and Sudesh was overjoyed. She packed her bags and happily set off to pursue her career. Medical school was a dream come true for Sudesh. She loved the intellectual pursuit and made great friends. She decided to become a pediatrician, as she loved children and their limitless potential. In her first year of Residency, she met her husband, Yash Pal Kataria. He was a physician completing his fellowship in the United Kingdom, a graduate of Amritsar Medical College. On one of his trips from London to his hometown of Moga, India, he stopped in New Delhi to drop off a sweater his roommate had sent for his cousin (Sudesh). It was love at first sight. “She had me at hello,” he often used to tell their friends. Sudesh, surprised to be visited by her cousin’s medical school roommate, graciously made him a cup of tea, and they talked. One cup of tea turned into many cups of tea. Over a short period of time, they decided to marry. Yash often told family and friends that when you are ready to marry, and you are with one hundred people in a room, “there might be only one that stands out to you and if so, you are lucky. I was lucky to find Sudesh. She was not only a beautiful woman, she was my intellectual partner and friend.” Sudesh and Yash married Dec. 9, 1967, in India. They honeymooned at the Taj Mahal and then headed off to London, where they both began the next phase of their medical training. Her first stop in America was Chicago, Ill., where she continued her residency at Mount Sinai Hospital, Chicago. In Chicago, she gave birth to her first child, Anjali Rani Kataria. When her daughter was only six weeks old, Sudesh and Yash moved to Columbus, Ohio. Sudesh finished her residency and fellowship at Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio; she struggled to balance new motherhood with a demanding work schedule. Seven years later, in 1978, she gave birth to her second child, Neil Kumar Kataria. When he was only three months old, Sudesh and Yash moved to Greenville, the home of East Carolina Universit ugg wedges y and a brand new medical school. Sudesh and Yash were excited and entrepreneurial. They decided they would like to help build the curriculum and program at the new medical school now called the Brody School of Medicine. She was a highly regarded pediatrician and respected clinical instructor at the ECU School of Medicine; a trailblazer in the field of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics; and a leader in serving the children of Eastern North Carolina. Gov. James G. State Interagency Coordinating Council for Handicapped Children. She also served on a legislative commission for children with special health needs. In 1998 she received her Master’s in Health Administration (MHA) from UNC Chapel Hill and began expanding her focus to pediatric public health issues. She assumed many leadership roles in a number of medical professional associations, including the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA), where she served as State Director in 1992. Pediatric Society in 1993 1995. She loved the Blue Ridge Mountains and the changing of seasons: Summer to Fall, Winter to Spring. Sudesh’s illness was unexpected, a terrible shock to all her knew her. Yash Pal Kataria, Professor Emeritus of Internal Medicine (Pulmonology) at Brody School of Medicine; Anjali Kataria (daughter), married to Vinay Bhargava, and their two children Pallavi Rani Bhargava and Arjun Raj Bhargava, all of Chevy Chase, Md.; Neil Kataria (son), married to Lynn Venugopalan, and their two children, Shaan Kataria and Dev Kataria, all of Arlington, Va.; and by ugg wedges four sisters, three half brothers, and their families living in America, Canada and India. Hindu Funeral Services were held Saturday Oct. 22, 2011, at Brown Wynne Funeral Home, followed by Cremation Services. Close to two hundred people attended, participating in the Hindu chanting of “Hey Ram” and “Gayatri Mantra” during the cremation service. Dear friends John Holter (piano), Jon Shaw (vocal) and Nancy Shaw (violin) performed a musical tribute. The services concluded with a light reception celebrating her life and the vibrant spirit of life around. The Sudesh Kataria Memorial Trust Fund has been established and will help support programs such as The North Carolina Indian American Physicians (NCIAP) Charitable Medical Clinic for North Carolina. In August 2011, just before getting sick, Sudesh was looking forward to spending time volun ugg wedges teering at the new NCIAP nonprofit medical center for the uninsured. Sudesh dedicated her life to helping the underserved children and families of Eastern North Carolina and this fund will help to continue that effort.