Life of Service: Indu Varia (1943-2022)

Dr. Indu Varia lived a life of service and love. Photo: courtesy Varia family

Dr. Indu Varia passed away peacefully on August 12, 2022, surrounded by loved ones. She lived 79 vibrant years.

Born in Jamnagar, India, she excelled in academics and sports, earning a medical degree in 1968. In 1969, after an immediate connection and magical walk, she married Dr. Mahesh Varia and moved to Uganda. The two were medical officers in Mbale and Iganga, and had their first child Rachna.

They immigrated to the US in 1972 ahead of the expulsion of Asians from Uganda. After stints in Baltimore, MD and Cherry Hill, NJ, Indu and Mahesh made their home in Chapel Hill, NC. They had two more children, Nisha and Smita.

Dr. Indu Varia completed her residency in psychiatry in the Duke Program and joined Duke University Medical Center’s faculty. As a clinician, researcher, and teacher, she specialized in psychosomatic medicine and anxiety. She treated hundreds of patients, published and presented over 40 scientific papers and was involved in training many medical students and psychiatry residents. She retired in 2012.

Indu was also a founding member of the Jain Study Center of North Carolina, and lived her life by the guiding values of non-violence and compassion. Along with her husband Mahesh, she volunteered annually for almost two decades to provide free medical services in villages in India. In 2015, they built a school for children in Gujarat, India in honor of her mother Radhaben Ghatalia.

Indu was a cherished wife, mom, grandmother (amma), sister (ben), sister-in-law (bhabhi), auntie (masi/mami/faiba), and friend. Indu’s deep and energetic love strengthened an incredibly close web of extended family and community that spent time together over meals, celebrating holidays, social visits, and traveling together. She made lifelong friends through the Duke Department of Psychiatry, her movie club, book club, travel group, Bon Bon club, dancing, and playing bridge.

She was dearly loved and admired by her family, friends, colleagues, and community who remember her fondly.



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