Remembering Austin board member, Dr. Ishwar Thakkar

– By Vandana Kumar and Ashish Gupta, Co-Presidents, Pratham Austin

The Pratham Austin family recently lost a dear friend and mentor, Dr. Ishwar Valjibhai Thakkar. He passed away peacefully on August 20th, 2021, surrounded by his wife Jaya, his children, and his grandchildren.

Dr. Thakkar was born in the small village of Anklav in Gujarat, India, where his father owned a small store. With his perseverance and hard work, he won a rare merit scholarship to Baroda Medical School and immigrated to America in 1971 as a resident at Chicago’s Cook County Hospital.

Dr. Thakkar and his wife Jaya moved to Austin in 2011 after his 30-year career as an endocrinologist in Rock Island, IL. He was already familiar with Pratham through his college friend, Yogi Patel, and was eager to engage in any way possible. Both he and Jayaji were passionate about the upliftment of children through education. We had first met them during the 2013 annual gala, and their support was generous and unwavering from that point on. They hosted guests in their beautiful home and attended all Pratham Austin meetings, where their thoughtful ideas and suggestions helped grow the mission tremendously.

Dr. Thakkar was always very kind, empathetic, generous with everyone he met, and extremely passionate about Pratham’s mission. After visiting a Pratham school in a village in Gujarat in 2015 with his wife Jayaji, Dr. Thakkar shared his experience, marveling at the way the Pratham project had started in the village. The parents in the village were initially not open to education, especially for their daughters, but the Pratham team met the village elders several times and succeeded in convincing them. As a result, these young girls and boys got an opportunity to begin receiving an education. The Thakkars loved witnessing the transformation of the lives of many children through education.

Dr. Thakkar believed in the principle that one must always act with utmost trust and empathy in all relationships, never seeking personal gain or prominence. We are grateful to have had the privilege of knowing Dr. Thakkar, and hope to continue leading the Pratham mission in a way that would make him proud. Please join us in sending our deepest condolences to Jayaji, their children Ameet and Anita, and their families.

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