ForeverMissed

Born on October 18, 1950 in the city of Navsari, State of Gujarat, India to Haribhai B. Nayak and Shanta Nayak. Prakash Nayak was the middle son of with his siblings Kiran Desai and Bina Desai.

Surprisingly to probably most of us, but Prakash was apparently a pretty naughty kid and would get in trouble due to him experimenting and tinkering with various toys and gadgets a lot. How ironic as it prepared him to be an Engineer growing up. He attended The Birla Institute of Technology and Science and graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering in 1971.

He was fortunate enough to come to America as a student and pursue higher studies as he graduated with a degree in Masters of Science in Electrical Engineering in 1972 and became a teaching assistant. Never one to stop learning about life, he graduated with a Doctorate in Philosophy in 1976. An Engineer with a philosophical mind is truly a genius! However, he was a very humble person and never referred himself with a Dr. title in his name though he had earned it. With his educational accomplishments behind him, he joined GM in ’76 in Detroit.

After about a year and half later, his parents decided it was time for him to get married and so he followed the custom at that time that still exists today, and went back to India to find a wife! He may have been highly educated in the world of Engineering and put together complex systems, but would that prepare him to find his life-long companion? It certainly did as he was introduced to Geetha Dhirubhai Desai late 1977 and with some Bollywood like twists and turns of how they met and how he “wooed her”, which I won’t get into, they were married on January 16th, 1978.

Soon after settling into their first home in Utica Michigan in April ‘78 they had their first child, Shalini on Dec 15, 1978. Of course in our culture, you can’t have just one child…so, on January 5, 1983, the Sveta made her presence well-known to the world! In-between this time, his job had him move to Downers Grove, Illinois in 1981 where they established a strong network of close friends. Eventually, his career would take them to Troy, MI in 1992. Just when he thought life settled down, it took another adventurous turn when Satyam was born on March 9th, 1984. I’m sure Prakash was excited to have a male companion in the Desai home! 

Prakash was pretty much a kid in an adult’s body and a gentle bear. His humility, kindness, and playful nature drew people together of different backgrounds as he loved to learn something new from everyone he met. In this physical life, Prakash leaves behind Geeta Desai, his best friend and companion, 3 ever-loving children Shalini, Sveta, and Satyam, a son-in-law Nihal Solomon, a daughter-in-law, Pam Desai, 3 grandchildren with boundless amounts of energy and entertainment Sanjan Solomon, Greyson and Norah Desai, his two siblings Kiran and Bina, many relatives, and numerous friends.

Prakash introduced all of us to his world and left a unique mark in all our lives, May he rest in peace knowing that we shall all meet again one day. 

The family asks you to donate to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation in lieu of flowers: http://pulmonaryfibrosis.donorpages.com/Tribute/PrakashDesai2016/

The obituary at AJ Desmond & Son's Funeral Home:
http://www.desmondfuneralhome.com/obituary/Prakash-Haribhai-Desai-Ph.D./_/1614402

The obituary in the Oakland Press:
http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/theoaklandpress/obituary.aspx?n=prakash-haribhai-desai&pid=179906414&
 

Posted by Bindiya Vakil on May 15, 2016
Prakash masa was a gentle and fun soul who touched our lives and left them richer for his presence. When we stayed for several months with masa and Masi, he took us all over and showed us all the amazing sights with tremendous enthusiasm and gusto. He was always kind and jovial and despite our parents not being there for several months we never felt we weren't at home. He had a zeal for life and for adventure. We still remember him on our adventures and will always celebrate his enthusiasm for the small wonders all around us. He lives on in our memories and in the amazing cousins we have in our lives.
Posted by Pulin Desai on May 12, 2016
Prakash-uncle was an absolute gentle soul. My family & I consider ourselves very fortunate that our lives crossed each other. Always a smile on his face, always a comforting hug, always a sense of wonder were only just a few things we had come to expect from him. We will miss him dearly. Look over us & RIP, Prakash-uncle.
Posted by Rakesh Pant on May 11, 2016
A very humble, cultured and decent human being with beaming smile, this is how I knew Prakash in Pilani.
We had special bond. And I will not be surprised if several friends who came in touch with Prakash, will say the same thing, and that was another of his millions of quality. He used to make the 'other' special. He once asked me to teach him "Lara's Theme" on harmonium and the sessions started. To my surprise, he picked up very fast and drop in my room occasionally to practice!
After leaving Pilani, we met at US embassy, I had gone there to get my US visa (to visit Chicago on 4 month trip sponsored by CFTC) and he had gone there to get visa for Geeta. This was in 1978. He insisted with lots of love that we must visit him in Detroit being so close to Chicago. And Hema, Nitin then 1 year old and I did stay with Prakash and Geeta for couple of days and received Maharaja's treatment. Prakash then took us on long ride to Nigeria Falls and I still remember Sarnia Border (Stamped in my passport as we crossed over to Canada)
We will miss Prakash
Jai ho
Posted by Deepak Goel on May 11, 2016
I knew Prakash in Pilani and then reconnected here in Michigan. We some him often at our frequent dinner meetings and Prakash was a delight to be with. Always, pleasant, upbeat, proud of his family and be there for all always.

he made significant technical contributions and GM, his family, friends and every one around him is better off through their association with Prakash - I know a learnt a ton from Prakash.  RIP Prakash.

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Posted by Bindiya Vakil on May 15, 2016
Prakash masa was a gentle and fun soul who touched our lives and left them richer for his presence. When we stayed for several months with masa and Masi, he took us all over and showed us all the amazing sights with tremendous enthusiasm and gusto. He was always kind and jovial and despite our parents not being there for several months we never felt we weren't at home. He had a zeal for life and for adventure. We still remember him on our adventures and will always celebrate his enthusiasm for the small wonders all around us. He lives on in our memories and in the amazing cousins we have in our lives.
Posted by Pulin Desai on May 12, 2016
Prakash-uncle was an absolute gentle soul. My family & I consider ourselves very fortunate that our lives crossed each other. Always a smile on his face, always a comforting hug, always a sense of wonder were only just a few things we had come to expect from him. We will miss him dearly. Look over us & RIP, Prakash-uncle.
Posted by Rakesh Pant on May 11, 2016
A very humble, cultured and decent human being with beaming smile, this is how I knew Prakash in Pilani.
We had special bond. And I will not be surprised if several friends who came in touch with Prakash, will say the same thing, and that was another of his millions of quality. He used to make the 'other' special. He once asked me to teach him "Lara's Theme" on harmonium and the sessions started. To my surprise, he picked up very fast and drop in my room occasionally to practice!
After leaving Pilani, we met at US embassy, I had gone there to get my US visa (to visit Chicago on 4 month trip sponsored by CFTC) and he had gone there to get visa for Geeta. This was in 1978. He insisted with lots of love that we must visit him in Detroit being so close to Chicago. And Hema, Nitin then 1 year old and I did stay with Prakash and Geeta for couple of days and received Maharaja's treatment. Prakash then took us on long ride to Nigeria Falls and I still remember Sarnia Border (Stamped in my passport as we crossed over to Canada)
We will miss Prakash
Jai ho
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A Connection for Life...by PR Solomon

Shared by Nihal Solomon on May 10, 2016

My association with Prakash began when Nihal was dating Shalini and he asked us to meet him and Geeta. We had a casual meeting in Detroit for introducing and getting to know each other. Then Prakash came to California and stayed with us for couple of days when wedding plans for Nihal and Shalini were going on. We began to develop a relationship to understand each other. I saw him as a secular educated Hindu but found it easy to relate and carry on a sensible conversation with him. Although there were many differences between us such as language, caste, religion, we were able to carry on conversations regarding the wedding without any contention or conflict. We did not see any distance between us. During our conversations he validated me and showed respect to me as a valuable person.

In the past eight years, we met several times celebrating Thanksgiving, Birthdays, wedding of Satyam and Pam. He enjoyed our South Indian food like Idlis, Vadai and Sambar. My wife’s Murkku was special to him, so we used to send him Murukku whenever we could. We enjoyed our times together sharing good food and wonderful family times. Last year when I was dealing with our house issues in Grand Rapids, he and Geeta came to see me and understand what was going on. Then one Saturday he felt he had to come and see me. It was a pleasant visit.  He came to the Church with me dressed in his suit and was happy to meet the members in this small village church. He also participated in the fellowship meal.

The best of our time together happened when he and Geeta came to Tamil Nadu last December. We picked them up at Cape Comerin and visited our native place, met many of our relatives and went to distinct temples including the Shiva temple in Rameshwaram. The trip ended with them staying with us at the ashram in Tanjore. He enjoyed the Ashram environment and activities immensely. He in fact told us that he wanted to come to the Ashram and stay for a month. The trip ended with a small feast of typical South Indian Masala Dosa Roast in Trichy before they took off to Ahmedabad.
 

Now when I reflect on these experiences it helps me to understand the inner person of Prakash.  It was very obvious that Prakash had transcended religions, caste and language barriers that normally divide human beings. He showed that building relationship with people was more important than anything else. That is why he was able accept his children marrying partners from other religions than his own. He was also able to freely come to the Christian church and fellowship with the people there. Next thing that comes to my mind about Prakash is the gift of presence he gave me when I was distressed about my house situation and felt alone. He drove all the way from Detroit just to be with me for a day. Giving the gift of presence is being with someone who is lonely and distressed.


We had booked an expensive hotel for Prakash and Geeta in Tanjore city when they came to visit the Ashram but they declined that and chose to stay in the Ashram. He preferred to experience the simple life at the Ashram. He wanted to identify himself with us and became one with the people in the ashram winning their hearts. In the past eight years of our relationship with each other we learned valuable lessons from him. These memories of Prakash will be etched in our memories forever.