Devraj Rama Naidu, whom many of us affectionately called "Nana" (Father) or "Tata" (Grandpa), passed away peacefully at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital at 4:15 a.m. in the city he loved so much. He was born May 15, 1916.
Devraj was an expert in Physics, specializing in Optical Spectroscopy during his long career as Assistant Director of DMRL (Defense Metallurgical Research Laboratory) in Calcutta, and later in Hyderabad, India. He graduated with Honors in Physics from Nizam's College - affiliated with Madras University.
During his young days, he was awarded the Gold Medal in Physics for the entire Andhra Pradesh state in India. Later in his academic career he met Dr. Satyen Bose - synonymous with the Bose-Einstein Equation - who offered him a research position in Calcutta. Devraj, a believer in Karma theory in relation to space and time with Physics, even had the privilege of seeing freedom-fighter Mahatma Gandhi.
In 1954, Devraj went on one of his biggest adventures, with DMRL, to England and Scotland where he supervised and oversaw Spectroscopy operations. He mentioned that, interestingly, many Indian manufactured instruments far exceeded their British counterparts. He told many tales of friendships made during his year-long stay in Great Britain.
One of Devraj's most memorable achievements was being in charge of the total transfer of DMRL from the Calcutta headquarters to Hyderabad. He said it was his chance to use his quality decision-making skills as Assistant Director. His achievement was honored this year for the 50th anniversary of DMRL.
He was very particular about voting in this year's election, personally casting his vote just 2 days prior to hospitalization. He mentioned how proud he was that he had made it to the polls in the nick of time.
Devraj had come to the U.S. in 1982, with his wife, Padma, and later became a citizen. An avid learner, he took many courses at the University of Alaska.
Devraj was preceded in death by his wife, Padma Naidu. He is survived by his 7 children and their spouses, Dr. Geeta and Dr. Shri Shailam, Sudha and Dr. Sathy Naidu, Sheila and Mohan Rao, Dr. Indu and Dr. Vinod Kumar, Dr. Sindu and Dr. Maryala Krishna, Dr. Madan and Sylvia Naidu, Bina Kumar and Dr. Kees Jasperse; loving nieces and nephews Shashi and Dr. Raju Kotipoyina, Raghu and Prasanna Palla, Gautham and Jennifer Devara, Dr. Dolly Manikonda and Srinivas, Satish Dinakaran, Bindu, Bhavna, Deepak and Pramod. He is also survived by 10 grandchildren and their spouses, Dr. Sanjay Naidu Kumar Sr. and Radha Naidu Kumar, Dr. Sunita Shailam, Rajesh Naidu, Dr. Randheer Shailam, Shalini and Patrick Beath, Sharmila Kumar, Dr. Sushma Krishna and Dr. Vesh Srivatana, Nikhil and Sanchita Krishna, Shyam Rao and Amar Naidu; and grandnieces and grandnephews Sanjana, Harish, Anupa, Prathik and Deepali. He was privileged to cherish his loving great-grandsons, Sanjay Arman Naidu Kumar II and Naveen Krishna, and several more members of the extended family.
Our Tata always had a curious mind and posed intriguing questions to stimulate deep discussions in a group. His highest priority and advice he gave us grandchildren was to always read as much as possible and strive for our aims in life. He made sure his own children received the best education his money could buy. He made many sacrifices for the sake of the children. We, as a family, promise to continue honoring the Naidu legacy, and Tata's philosphy that "Life Is A Gift."