Community leader Jaswant Mody (May 20, 1938-July 4-2021)

Jaswant Mody (May 20, 1938-July 4, 2021). Photo Society of Indian American Engineers and Architects NY –

Jaswant Mody, 83, an Indian American community leader and former vice president of the Federation of Indian Associations died when his car collided with a freight train on July Fourth in Piscataway, New Jersey.

“With a heavy heart, we wanted to share with you the news of our dear husband and father, Jaswant Mody’s death on July 4th. He died in a tragic car accident and was the only one affected,” the family said in an email from son Neil Mody, to community members. “Thanks to all for being a part of his life, he is deeply missed already,” said the note.

A prayer meeting is scheduled to be held July 17, 2021, at Royal Albert’s Palace in Fords, N.J., from 10 am to 1 pm, according to the family

The crash took place at the New Brunswick Avenue crossing mid-afternoon July Fourth, according to news reports.

The news outlet reported that apart from Piscataway’s New Market Fire Department, the South Plainfield Volunteer Fire Department also responded. Members of the South Plainfield Volunteer Fire Department reported on their Facebook page that “a car was struck by a freight train. The impact caused the car to roll onto its roof and catch fire. Sadly the driver of the car was killed,” quoted the Facebook page.

Flyer giving details about the time and place of prayer meeting for highly respected community leader Jaswant Mody who passed away July 4th, 2021. Photo: provided by family

Born May 20, 1938, Jaswant Mody had been providing “dedicated community service for over 50 years” said FIA in a memorial flyer commemorating his life.

A retired mechanical engineer with New York City, Mody was was there for the community, said Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold, which publishes Desi Talk.

“He was a very close family friend, he, his wife Chandrika, and children. He came to my son’s wedding recently. A gentleman, very helpful. He was there at every event, not just as a guest but helping out, even manning the registration booth happily,” said Dr. Parikh. “The community will miss him as will I and my wife Sudha. He was the kind of man everyone would like to know and cherish as a friend.”

Ankur Vaidya, chairman of FIA, echoed the feelings noting that Jaswant Mody was there whenever help was needed. “I’ve known him for more than 25 years and respect him highly. I traveled with him several times to India for Pravasi Bharatiya Divas events, and spoke to him just last week. It is very, very sad.”

Members of the community gathered at the family home in Piscataway, to offer condolences, and WhatsApp was flooded with comments from many who spoke fondly about their memories of Jaswant Mody.

Obituary provided by family

Jaswant “Jay” Bhailal Mody passed away suddenly on the Fourth of July, 2021 in his hometown of Piscataway, NJ at the age of 83.  Jaswant was born in Mumbai, India on May 20, 1938.  He was raised with 4 brothers and 3 sisters.  After attending the University of Bombay, he followed his dream to come to the United States of America for freedom and opportunity.  Jaswant worked and saved for the fare, and after 1 ½ months of traveling by passenger ship, he arrived in New York.  He then began his American Dream.

He worked his way through college and graduate school.  Jaswant attended universities in Utah, Ohio, and New Jersey.  Jaswant married and settled down in New Jersey and worked as an engineer for over 5 decades.  He retired in 2012 from the DEP of NYC after working there for over 25 years.

Jaswant lived his life as a public servant.  He volunteered his time so that others would live a better life.  Many of his brothers and sisters, nieces, and nephews emigrated from India to the United States.  He also volunteered his time to the community through various organizations and was awarded a Lifetime Service Award by the Association of Indians in America.  He enjoyed organizing and attending cultural events, many of which showcased Indian culture which he was so proud of.

He was an active member of Gujarati Literacy Academy of North America Inc., Association of Indians in America (AIA), the Society of Indo American Engineers & Architects, Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), Federation of Indian Associations (FIA), Kapol Samaj of USA, and India Festival Committee (IFC) as well as many others.

Jaswant was also very active in the Piscataway community, where he’s lived for the past 47 years. He was a Committeeman for over 20 years, with the Piscataway Democratic Organization.  He served on the Piscataway Township Zoning Board and was an alternate for the Planning Board.  He helped organize the first India Day Parade in Piscataway.

Jaswant is survived by his wife Chandrika, son Neil, daughter Lena, daughter-in-law Sheetal, son-in-law Rupal, 4 grandchildren, 2 sisters, 3 brothers, and several nephews and nieces.

A funeral service is scheduled for July 8, 2021 at Franklin Memorial Park in North Brunswick, NJ.  In lieu of flowers or any donations in his name, we ask you to spend time volunteering to help the community just like he did for most of his life.




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