NIJHAWAN, Dr. Bal Raj 98, of Sun City Center, formerly of Kokomo,IN, entered into rest on April 6, 2014, following a brief illness, with his family present. He was born in Lyallpur, India, to Lala Sukh Diyal and Rajwanti (Kochar) Nijhawan. He married Pushpa (Puri) Nijhawan on Sept. 26, 1944, and she survives. Bal Raj was a man who lived a life full of new beginnings. He has been described as a legend, a visionary and inspirational leader of R&D in the metallurgical industries, and who experienced the joy and inspiration of the founding fathers of India. He was the first Indian Director of the CSIR-National Metallurgical Laboratory (NML), an internationally acclaimed institute. At the NML he hosted leaders from several nations, and royalty from foreign countries. During his tenure he held over 56 patents and nearly 500 technical publications/monographs and journals. He left in 1966, to become the Senior Inter-Regional Advisor (Metallurgical Industries) with UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization), based in Vienna, Austria. The Iron and Steel industries in South America, South Korea, India, Middle East and Far East, Central & Eastern Europe, Mexico and many others benefited from his personal expertise and leadership. He has been honored in India with the Padma Shri (1958) and the prestigious Bhatnagar Award (1964), as well as several Honors and Awards from several countries for his work and contributions. He retired from the United Nations in 1986 and immigrated to the United States to live in Kokomo, IN. He humbly assimilated himself into the Kokomo community, that he grew to love, and spent many an hour with friends at the local bank, doctor's offices, financial institutions, and Indiana University-Kokomo, where he once sponsored Chiyoe Tabatha, an acclaimed international pianist and wife of the former President of the Japan Iron & Steel Institute. He enjoyed the friendships and the functions of the Kokomo India Association. Bal Raj and Pushpa moved permanently to Sun City Center, in Jan. 2013. His wife of 69 years, Pushpa, was the inspiration for his family. He loved his family and grandchildren and often recited stories of his past, and his experiences. His love of family began at an early age when following India's Independence and the subsequent partition in 1947, his family had to flee what is now Pakistan. He took on an informal role of being a mentor/benefactor. He was blessed with much and he shared much with all who came into his life. He was a devoted husband and father, and loved his family. Bal Raj will be deeply missed by his family and friends around the world, but his legacy will live on in their hearts and memories. Bal Raj is survived by his wife, Pushpa Nijhawan; sons, Pradeep (Beverley Ann) Nijhawan and Pramodh (Nancy Ann) Nijhawan; brother, Manmohan Kumar; sister, Usha Dhall; grandchildren, Sunita Renee Nijhawan, David Raj Nijhawan and John Raj Nijhawan. Bal Raj was preceded in death by his brothers, Krishan Kumar, Suraj Kumar and Sudarshan Kumar; and sisters, Savitri Devi and Sumitra Devi. Bal Raj was cremated on April 11, at the Manasota Funeral Home & Crematorium in Bradenton, with a brief service. A Havan/Pooja ceremony and a Celebration of Life memorial service will be held April 26, at 10 am, at the Hillsboro Memorial Funeral Home in Brandon, Florida. Cards and flowers may be sent to their home. Online condolences may be sent to the family at http://obits.dignitymemorial.com or through www.hillsboromemorial.com.
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Published in the Tampa Bay Times on Apr. 20, 2014