NEW YORK – Vivian Cheng-Khanna, wife of attorney Rajiv Khanna and daughter of Helen M.M. and Lu-I Cheng, passed away on November 24 at the age of 62, succumbing to cancer.
She was born in New York City and lived in Upper Saddle River and Seaside Park, New Jersey as well as Goa, India.
She spent her life enriching the lives of everyone who crossed her path, helping them achieve their dreams and potential and encouraging them with her overwhelming optimism and brilliant intellect.
Her professional career consisted of mergers and acquisitions attorney, a municipal bond attorney at leading New York-based law firms, a real estate attorney and immigration attorney in her own firm and in social justice as a board member of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Vivian spent her early years in the San Francisco Bay Area where she graduated valedictorian of her Clayton Valley High School class before heading off to attend college at Harvard on a scholarship and also attended Columbia University Law School in New York City.
Vivian’s varied interests carried a rich multi-cultural tone and optimism for the future, providing a staunch sense of purpose to help others in multi-faceted ways.
Her higher purpose to life was motivated by her ancestry and teachings carried from her mother, Helen Yu and from her grandfather, Yu Youren, a leader in the founding of the Republic of China, and also a prominent Chinese calligrapher, educator, founder of a university and journalist, whose legacy is claimed by both China and Taiwan and is highly respected by both.
Like her grandfather, Vivian was detemined to leave this world a much better place than when she entered it, a goal which achieved in a multi-dimensional way with the countless people she helped achieve their potential and the social justice that she bought to society.
During her early years as an attorney, she met her future husband, Rajiv Khanna, a partner in a major law firm. They were married within a month after their first date, which lasted 28 years.
Vivian had a strong sense of family.
Her Chinese-American heritage and constant desire to immerse herself and learn about the Indian culture and family traditions, was apparent from the many cherished family dinners, reunions and events she participated in, organized and hosted with her husband.
Vivian loved playing the classical piano and concert clarinet, she also served as a student General Secretary of the Harvard Model United Nations club, reported for the Harvard Crimson, interned at the U.S. State Department, practiced law and visited her relatives across the globe in Washington DC, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Beijing, and New Delhi and Mumbai, India.
She also walked the trails of Yosemite National Park with her father, strolled hand in hand by the seashore near her homes with her husband in Seaside Park and Goa, India and planted the seeds of life and hope in her garden as well as in the minds of those who knew her and loved her in a life well-lived.
Vivian is survived by her husband Rajiv Khanna and her siblings Noland, Lana and Julia.
Her funeral will be held on Thursday, Nov. 30 at VanderPlatt Funeral Home, 257 Godwin Avenue, Wyckoff, NJ from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
A special memorial ‘Celebration of Life’ service is also planned for early next year in mid-to-late January, in New York City at the Harvard Club of New York in Manhattan.