Obit: Rangarajan A. V

Rangarajan A. V. aged 78 passed away on July 14 at Springboro, USA.

Rangarajan was the eldest son of the late A. G. Venkatachary of the “Dinamani” newspaper. The first 30 plus years of his life were spent in Mylapore.

He worked as a lecturer in the Commerce Department in Vivekananda College, and he had been an active social worker since the late 50s.

Till the time he left India, he was known as ‘Dayton’ Rangarajan in the music circle and was responsible for propagating Carnatic music to USA. He was a very good friend of most of the present and past musicians.  Even though he was a long time resident of USA, he made it a point to attend the music season in December in Chennai whenever he was able to come.

A professor at the Central State University for many years where he influenced many lives and contributed to the success of many lives. He was instrumental in cultivating  Indian culture in Dayton, Ohio. A founding member of the Hindu Temple in Beavercreek, he was actively involved in the Hindu community in Dayton.

He is survived by his wife Vathsala , daughter Sukanya Madlinger and son-in-law Rick Madlinger.

His brother, A.V. Kannan can be contacted at 99620 00872, e-mail:

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6 Comments on “Obit: Rangarajan A. V”

  1. I have known Sri Rangarajan since 1968 when I moved to Dayton, Ohio. Over the years our families became close friends.

    Words are inadequate to describe his passion in religious activities and cultural events which were truly reflected in his daily life. He was a backbone of Dayton’s Indian community and voluntered in many activities. He was instrumental in bringing leading artistes for Carnatic music concerts and he hosted them as well. He took an active part in all religious activities at the Hindu Temple and would even volunteer to do priestly roles when the need arose. He had very high ethics and lived thel life of high thinking and simple living like Mahatma Gandhi whom he greatly admired and infact had met as a youth.
    He never got upset or talked bad about others and I do not recall a single occasion when he was not calm. His wife Vathsala taught music to many in the community and I was one among them. In his demise the Indian community has lost a rare soul and he will be remembered by all of us with pleasant thoughts. May God grant peace and courage to Vathsala and Sukanya in their grief.

    Lalitha Swamy
    Dayton, Ohio

  2. We echo the write up by Venki & Mangala. We knew Rangarajan from 1975 till present and closely assocated with him re: cultural/religious/ IRS tax prep etc activiites.
    He was very knowledgeable and it is no exaggearation if we say that there is nobody in Dayton Indian community to fit into Rangarajan’s shoes to explain in detail esp re religious/cultural ( esp Caranatic music) affairs to colleagues and younger generation. He really had the ” gift of the gab” and to put it in his own words ” words are not adequate” to express his yeoman service to Dayton Inidian community. We will really miss him and we offer our heartfelt condolences to Vatsala, Suknaya & Rick and last but not least his favorite grand son Ajay and we pray to God, Almighty to give all of them strength to bear this enormous loss.

  3. Professor A. V. Rangarajan

    Many in the Indian community around Dayton had known him only as a community elder, a practicing spiritual guide and an authority on Hinduism. Many do not know, his achievements as a University Professor are equally ethereal. Professor Rangarajan taught and served at Central State University (CSU) in Wilberforce, Ohio for over 30 years, where he was very respectfully called Professor Raj. I had the good fortune of being a junior colleague of him in the University since 1989. He started teaching Accounting and Management Information Systems (MIS) in the late 60’s in the College of Business, which was subsequently named College of Business and Industry (CBI) after merging with the manufacturing engineering, environmental engineering and water resources management departments of the University. In the earlier days, he taught COBOL programming – the programming language that gained in popularity to overcome the infamous millennium or Y2K glitches in business computer systems. Later on, he was made the principal faculty for the area of Accounting in the University. He taught numerous accounting classes and was considered an expert on accounting for non-profit organizations.

    He was a very popular professor and could count numerous top executives of large corporations amongst his students. It was not unusual for them to come and convey their gratitude during homecoming celebrations of the University in October of every year. He taught at both the Dayton and the Wilberforce campuses of Central State University. He was recognized numerous times for his teaching excellence at CSU. He in fact made the lives of many students at CSU for the better but remained extremely humble about his service. He served the University in a selfless manner and did not seek any self advancement and turned down opportunities for climbing up the academic and academic administrative ladders.

    During Black History month, he was often invited to speak, at different forums in the area, on the impact of Gandhi in the philosophy of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. People in the audience were awed by moving speeches from the man who had seen and spoken with Mahatma Gandhi.

    There are three (3) important things that would speak to his legacy at Central State University where he served.

    He was one of the principal faculty members to establish a local chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) at Central State University. The basic contract language for streamlining promotion and tenure processes was drafted by a team of professors in which he was a principal member and he participated in the first set of negotiations with the CSU administration that led subsequently the way for academic governance of the University remaining in the hands of professors today.

    Professor Rangarajan provided service for the community at large, in particular to those in need in addition to the Indian community. Along with fellow accounting faculty -Professor Ed Reichmann, who has also retired, Professor Rangarajan established free tax preparation services for disadvantaged people of the area. Professors Rangarajan and Reichmann along with Central State University accounting seniors helped people around Wilberforce and Xenia with their tax returns. This practice continues today at CSU.

    The capstone of his legacy at work is the establishment of the Kroger Scholarship through his daughter Sukhanya and son in law Rick Madlinger who are top level executives at the Kroger Corporation. Any where from 5- 7 students from Central State University annually receive scholarships from Kroger along with summer internship. Many students who do internships at Kroger then continue to work for Kroger after graduation. Such, positive and life impacting help to students at Central State University in a quite and selfless manner is indeed service to God in the best of the traditions that Professor had faith in.

    I still remember the day when Professor Rangarajan came to see me in my office during the first week of my service at CSU in January of 1989 after hearing an Indian faculty has joined the University. I felt immediately that I was in the presence of no ordinary person. Our family was taken into the fold of the great Professor and his family. After 21 years of having known the sage, our hearts are heavy. It is a great loss for the community at large and for those of us who got guided by him spiritually in which music played an integral part. Heartfelt sympathies from our whole family – my wife Raji and daughters Mathangi and Heima are for Mrs. Vathsala Rangarajan,, daughetr Sukhanya, son in law Rick and others.

    As he always concluded his discourses – Om shanthi!, Om Shanthi Om Shanthihi.

    Dr. S. I. Sridharan

  4. On July 14, the Indian community in Dayton, Ohio and his many well-wishers and family in Mylapore where he spent some thirty odd years lost a great friend in A. V Rangarajan. He lived in Dayton for over four decades and we and many members of our family knew him for thirty of those years. It is impossible to completely list Sri Rangarajan’s contributions to the Indian community here in Dayton. To the expatriate Indian community,he was our usual authority on matters of religion, culture and social nuances. He was frequently sought for his ideas and counsel and gave numberless talks both at Indian community gatherings and served as an unofficial and respected spokesman on community issues to the mainstream. Perhaps, one of his most lasting legacy was bringing Carnatic music to Dayton and the cities nearby on an unimaginable scale. In this effort, he was the Mylaporean at his very best. Since 1968 he tirelessly organized music concerts by some of India’s best and famous musicians. The impressive list included late M.L.V, Maharjapuram Santhanam, T. V. Shankaranarayanan, T. N Seshagopalan, K. V Narayanaswamy, Lalgudi Jayaraman and all other members of that gifted family, N. Ramani, U. Srinivas, Ravikiran, M. S Sheela, Sudha Raghunathan, Bombay sisters, R. K Srikantan, Trichur Ramachandran & Charumati, O.S Thyagarajan among others — most of whom gave repeat performances. Sri Rangarajan was a founding member Dayton’s Hindu Temple in 1985 and integrated a Thyagaraja/Purandaradasa Aradhana day as part of the temple’s annual commemoration. He and his wife Smt. Vathsala very successfully fostered a culture of music in Dayton encouraging and training both young and old to learn Carnatic music. It was a thrill to hear Rangarajan’s introductory and closing remarks after each concert when he would beautifully link the music and the atmosphere created to a past event he had witnessed in his usual silver-tongued prose. We may add that on more than a few occasions, musicians rendered a song or a pallavi composed by Rangarajan appropriate to the occasion! A virtual ambiance of Mylapore music was created on alien soil!

    The Hindu Temple at Dayton was another major beneficiary of his profound knowledge of Hindu religion and philosophy. Right from its inception he tirelessly campaigned for funds and was intimately involved in setting up the proper ritual procedures. He spoke at just about every temple function explaining its ritual significance. Successive boards of trustees of the temple sought his advise before undertaking major projects.

    He was much in demand to offer lectures on his favorite scriptures – The Gita, Ramayana, Tirukkural and the hymns of the Alvaars. Very much like a Mylaporean of yore he graciously gave much of his time to this lofty pastime — we recall in our own home in Dayton the late 1980s for several months he conducted a weekly “satsang” on the Gita, Vishnu Sahasranama and Taitriya Upanishad. He was one of those rare and gifted scholars with a deep knowledge of India’s rich Sanskrit and Tamil traditions from both of which he would quote extemporaneously in his English rendering of our scriptures. Time and again he would express his adoration of Adi Sankara and fondly recall conversations with the (late) Paramacharya H.H Chandrasekharendra Sarasvati, often peppering his talks with his love for Advaita philosophy.

    The Tamil potery of Kamban, Bharati, the Alvaars and others fascinated him and he was a natural fit at literary Tamil gatherings in Ohio, Toronto, Chicago, etc.

    Rangarajan’s community spirit and service is unmatched among Dayton’s Indians and in his passing we have lost a great and wonderful friend. Our sympathies and those of our sons, Arjun and Kartik are with his wife Smt. Vathsala, daughter Sukanya and other family members.

    Dr. Venki/Dr. Mangala Venkatesh
    Dayton, Ohio

  5. We were greatly grievedand shocked to hear the sad and sudden demise of Shri A.V.Rangarajan, whom we fondly refer to as AVR. I am his co-brother, Kidambi Ramachandran. He treated me as his own brother and showed and showered me with great regard and true love. His life is that of a true Hindu and he had unflinching faith in God, in whose devotion he had worked hard and selflessly to undertake and complete many tasks for the community he lived in at Dayton, Ohio.
    Having been one of the senior most persons to settle down in the US, younger ones looked up to him for leadership. He used to evince keen interest in carnatic music and promoted its cause in more ways than one and he also had given lectures and speeches on Hindu epics like Ramayana and Hindu philosophy. To say that Dayton lost a great son of the soil is to stress the obvious and the Hindu community here lost a friend, philosopher and guide.
    I convey my heart-felt condolences to his daughter Sukanya and wife Smt. Vathsala and I pray to the Almighty to give them strength and courage to carry on their daily life invoking his memory in all good things that they do.
    Thanks to Mylapore Times for publishing his Obit.

  6. A V Rangarajan was a Mylaporean in more ways than one. Part of what may be called the ‘nation-building’ generation, he was instrumental in organising political meetings in the Mylapore area in the decade after independence. He actively campaigned for Anandanayagi, the Congress candidate of those times. Earlier he was associated with the Praja Socialist Party and in that capacity worked hard to bring the ideas of Gandhian socialism to the fore, especially in his own neighbourhood. He was an avid lover of Subramania Bharathi’s poetry and instilled in all those who cared to listen a passion for the same. An early interest in Karnatic music led him to work closely with sabhas in the area – and this practice he continued in his US days as well. Personal circumstances necessitated his going to the US in the late 1960s, but at heart he remained a man of the 1950s, and keenly interested in music and Tamil literature.
    V. Geetha (A V Ranagarajan’s niece)

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