Dr. Kimat Khatak
1937 - 2021
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On January 7, 2021, due to complications arising from Covid-19, Dr. Kimat Gul Khatak passed from this world. He leaves it a much better place. Few individuals rise from such difficult and limiting circumstances to make the kind of impact he did, not only on institutions and communities, but on the lives of thousands, from his patients to his congregants.
His is a life worth honoring and remembering.
For the past forty-two years, Dr. Khatak practiced internal medicine and cardiology in Holyoke, Massachusetts, and continued to until the time of his passing. A passionate, visionary leader, a generous activist, an extraordinary humanitarian, and a respected community organizer, Dr. Khatak left a mark in his profession, in his community, and on his country. He used to love participating in the St. Patrick’s day Parade and was fondly referred to by Holyoke Medical Center staff as Dr. O’Khatak.
During the course of his forty-seven years in the United States, Dr. Khatak founded and led many Pakistani American and American Muslim organizations, all with the aim of empowering the next generation of Muslims and Pakistanis to succeed in their fields of work, areas of service, and the civic life of this country. His commitment to the political, religious, and cultural rights of American Muslims and Pakistani Americans is evident in the remarkable work that he pursued and contributed.
The journey begins in the most modest of circumstances in his ancestral country of Pakistan.
Dr. Khatak was born in Talab Khel, Karak, Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, Pakistan, on February 19, 1937 to Sadmira and Khanzad Gul and was the eldest of 12 children. He moved to Sanghar, Sind when he was 10 years old and attended Noor Muhammad and, thereafter, Nawab Shah High School in Hyderabad. He completed his pre-medical and science studies from Government College, Hyderabad in 1955 and graduated from Liaqat Medical College in 1962. After his House Job at the Civil Hospital in Hyderabad, Dr. Khatak joined the Medical Corp of the Pakistan Army as a captain.
He fought bravely on the frontline Lahore/Attari/Wagah sector during the 1965 Indo-Pak war. He was seconded to the Pakistan Air Force in 1967, and again served on the frontline during the 1971 Indo-Pak war.
In 1974, Dr. Khatak retired from the PAF as a major.
That same year, Dr. Khatak came to the United States and completed his residency at the Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, New York. He completed his Fellowship in cardiology in 1978 from Baystate Medical Center and then went into solo practice in Holyoke, Massachusetts in 1979.
He combined his excellence in medicine with a profound dedication to those around him.
He was a founding member of Association of Physicians of Pakistani-descent of North America (APPNA), when the organization was launched in Dearborn, Michigan, in 1976, and a long-time trustee of the organization. He was instrumental to initiating some of APPNA’s seminal programs, such as APPNA SEHAT, Pak Pac, SAYA, and vital support for current Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cancer hospital. In 2003, Dr. Khatak was a founding member of APPNE, the New England chapter of APPNA, and served as its first Vice President.
Moreover, Dr. Khatak established the Pakistan Association of Western Massachusetts in the 1990s and was active in the Pakistan Association of Greater Boston.
In addition to this work with Pakistani American communities, Dr. Khatak was also intimately involved in founding, shaping, and leading American Muslim institutions, a pioneer in the infrastructure that has formed American Islam today. This work began in 1982, with his establishment of the Islamic Society of Western Massachusetts, along with Dr. Mohammad Saleem Bajwa, through the purchase of a small home as its seminal space. He served as the Society’s first President, from 1983 to 1995, overseeing its development into a purpose-built mosque that now hosts hundreds of congregants.
Further, Dr. Khatak was a lifetime benefactor of the Islamic Council of New England, or ICNE, joining in 1987 and serving as its President in 2008. In 2011, Dr. Khatak established the Masjid Baitus Salaam and served as its President until his untimely passing, leading a community even as he oversaw a thriving medical practice. He complemented this tremendously consequential legacy with his active participation in and support for the Interfaith Council from 1984 onwards, believing strongly in the tolerance and acceptance of all faiths.
There is no doubt that this work alone is enough to ensure that Dr. Khatak’s legacy continues for generations to come, including, as it does, the future of Pakistani American and American Muslim life in this nation. But even beyond this, it is Dr. Khatak as a person who shone in his life and the memory of which shall remain in the hearts of the countless people he has touched.
He was friendly, jovial, a joy to be around, compassionate and generous to a fault, a wonderful storyteller and a compelling conversationalist. His brilliance was never in doubt—he graduated top of his class at every academic institution. He was born into poverty but made his way in the world on his own wits and resources, receiving full academic scholarships at all his educational institutions. He spoke six languages fluently—Pashto, Punjabi, Sindhi, Urdu, Persian, and English. He educated his siblings, established scholarships in Talab Khel, loved Pakistan, and always wanted to give back to the country that made him who he was.
Over the course of his sixty-year medical career, he donated to countless charitable causes, contributed his medical skills in a volunteer capacity and, above all else, healed. He healed thousands of people. His patients adored him, and he loved and dedicated himself to them and their welfare. Before his passing, he was on his third generation of patients, a testimony to what an amazing physician he was. On the news of his passing, the administration and doctors at Holyoke Hospital remarked unprompted how beloved he was by his patients. Many called, crying, asking how they could extend his legacy and honor his work.
We can do so by cherishing and extending his example, giving to those in need, providing our knowledge, expertise, and passion to those who can most benefit by it, and even, as he did, offering a place to stay to those who fell upon hard times. From the children in his ancestral village to the thousands who were shaped by the organizations he shaped, his death is mourned, and his contributions honored. This kind man, this thorough gentleman, this servant leader, this humble, simple, warmhearted soul left an indelible mark on all those whose lives intersected, however briefly or enduringly, with his own. The world is a brighter place for his having passed through it.
Dr. Khatak leaves behind his wife, Gulnigar, and their four children - Nafees, Nabeela, Saema and Kaisar. He also leaves behind his granddaughter, Neshmeeya and son-in-law Ahmar. They are heartbroken but honored to have called him husband, father, grandfather, uncle. His legacy will always inspire and motivate them.
Dr. Khatak was buried on January 8th according to the Islamic tradition. In lieu of flowers, contributions to help the homeless can be made to Baitus Salaam at 148 Pleasant Avenue, Springfield, MA 01108 or at http://bit.ly/2LOHdJB

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Republican from Jan. 15 to Jan. 17, 2021.
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by The Family
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29 entries
February 7, 2021
It is a shock for Dr Khattak family and all of us.
I met Dr Khattak in 2019 first time in Holyoke College. He was such a nice and polite man. Most of the time I would recall his conversation with me when I met him several times on different occasions around here. Since I am new in the New England, and recently arrived from Pakistan, and he would discuss the situation in Pakistan and particularly in my hometown there. He was a great gentleman, and a nice doctor. He served people well, and he is our front-line hero. He will be remembered.
May Allah grant him Jannah and may Allah gave his family Sabr. We will remember him in our prayers.
Rizwan
Rizwan Shinwari
Friend
February 2, 2021
I am deeply greatful for the care Dr. Khatak provided to me and my family, my parents Walter and Mary Hickson, for over 30 years. He was a very important and a very good part of our lives. He couldn't be replaced. God bless him and his family.
Michael Hickson
Friend
January 23, 2021
Well ,If he is the one,who was posted in PAF Base Masroor(Mauripur Karachi) in 1967,then he was a frequent visitor to our house,a very jovial fellow,my fathers junior colleague
Sadiq Hasan
Acquaintance
January 22, 2021
Dr. Kimat Khatak was our family doctor for as long as I can remember. He was always kind and caring. He had a wonderful relationship with my mother Rita Sowa. They hugged every time they saw each other. When my mother recently got sick he answered my call even though I have moved out of country and answered all my questions. She passed from COVID-19 last April and he was so sad to hear of her passing. I had great comfort knowing that he was still caring for my dad. He is greatly missed. I just know that they will meet again with a hug.
Kathleen Sowa Henderson
Friend
January 21, 2021
My favorite doctor and friend - I lost part of my life with his departure. May he rest in peace and never be forgotten.
Gozel
Friend
January 21, 2021
Thank You for all the guidance you gave me you were more than my Cardiologist you knew how I feel before I was able to tell you. My mother and I will miss you. Our Condolences to the Kathak Family God Bless You All.
Mariluz Figueroa
January 19, 2021
May Allah reward him with Paradise.
Tariq & Alooah
Friend
January 19, 2021
Dr khathak was a very helpful in the community, May Allah bless his soul rest in peace and janna Aameen. I share my condolences with his great family.
Zahid Khurshid
995 West St,
Mansfield, MA 02048
Zahid Khurshid
Friend
January 19, 2021
I personally knew Dr. Khatak since 1984. I met him at APPNA meetings and also met him few times in his office in Holyoke MA. One time he took me out to eat in an Indian restaurant. I also met him in Orlando few years back when he was visiting Dr. Idrees. I took both of them to a Pakistani restaurant, we had a great conversation and laughter. He was a very dear friend of mine and nice client. I will miss him dearly. He was great friend, human being, he had a heart to help people. RIP.
JAVED STEPHEN MASSEY
5911 Dexter Court
Titusville, FL 32780
Phone: 407-704-0746
Email: javedsmassey@yahoo.com
JAVED STEPHEN MASSEY
Friend
January 19, 2021
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Askia Muhammad & family
Friend
January 18, 2021
My doctor, my friend. When you saw Doctor Khatak you knew he gave you the correct diagnosis. He never said maybe or it might be ,he knew his stuff and you could be confident in his words .You could also talk to him as you would a neighbor or a close friend. Always honest in his view on any subject and never angry if you disagreed, My friend Kimit taught me many things that may have otherwise never been revealed to me.
I will miss him.

Jim Reardon
Patient and friend
Jim Reardon
Friend
January 18, 2021
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Linda E Dulude
January 17, 2021
I have known Dr. Khattak since July 1974, when we started internship in West Chester Medical Center, Valhalla, New York. He was my dearest and sincere friend. I am very shocked to hear the sad news of his death. We had many many good memories. May God give him the best place in the life hereafter.
Liaqat Zaman, MD
Friend
January 17, 2021
Dr. Khatak was my Memere's doctor and presently my doctor. I am heartbroken to hear this news...He cared for me in 1997 after I very nearly died from an eating disorder. He was the very best doctor you could have, easy to open up to and talk with, he gave the best advice and was always very compassionate, sympathetic and kind. We often talked about family, life and he always had relatable stories from his life to share. So comforting to be around. I always felt like I was in the best of hands, medically...he was the BEST doctor! I will miss him immensely! He was such a TREASURE. God Blessed the Holyoke community with him for so many years and I am SO grateful to have been able to call him my doctor! May he rest in peace and may God strengthen and give comfort to his wife and entire family!
Patty Koontz Liardi
January 16, 2021
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Nancy Almeyda
Coworker
January 16, 2021
I have known Dr. Khatak from 1997 and always enjoyed his jovial company. He was a passionate man who believed in himself and was not afraid to stand for his beliefs. My last meeting with him was in 2019, pre-covid in the home of a common friend over dinner. We regret his passing but I heard about his last moments, which I thought were typical of him, living life to the fullest and connecting with Allah in the recitation of the Quran as perhaps his last action. I pray that Allah has mercy on him and grants him Jannah without reckoning.
Mirza Yawar Baig
Friend
January 16, 2021
Sympathy to Dr Khatak family for their loss
J Walachy
Coworker
January 16, 2021
My condolences to the family of Dr.Khatak. He was a wonderful man with a gentle soul. He will be missed.
Anna DeRosier
Acquaintance
January 16, 2021
Dr. Khatak was an incredible influence in my life. He took me under his wing when I started in healthcare and taught me so much. So generous, incredibly generous man. I am so honored to have known him and will always love him. Thank you, Dr. Khatak, for being a wonderful friend. ❤
Laurie Gagne
Friend
January 16, 2021
He was a kind and compassionate man. I have known him for many years as my medical director at the Chicopee Rest Home and as my personal physician.
Ruth Mercer
Friend
January 16, 2021
Group of 10 Memorial Trees
Plant Memorial Trees
Sympathy Gift courtesy of
Ruth Mercer
January 16, 2021
So loved by all. Will always remember your kindness to nurses and dedication to your patients .
Cherelyn Roberts
Coworker
January 16, 2021
So sorry for his families loss. People that were fortunate enough to have met him will always have fond memories of him. I worked at Holyoke Medical Center for many years and was always happy to come across him in the halls. He truly was an incredible man. I never knew all these tremendous things he had accomplished in his life
Doris Dietrichsen
Acquaintance
January 16, 2021
Great in Peace. My condolences to his family. We were neighbors and friends.
Linda Gagne
Friend
January 16, 2021
Dr. Khatak’s passing leaves a huge void in the community he served.
I would like to express my condolences to his family.
May he Rest In Peace.
Theresa Boudreau
Acquaintance
January 16, 2021
He was my mother’s (Helen Allen) physician and cardiologist for as long as I can remember. I accompanied her on many occasions to her appointments. His demeanor, combined with his expertise was always reassuring, and very helpful. Mom, always had complete confidence in his abilities, which was aways accompanied by personal stories. Thus the bond. Please accept my condolences to the family members. My family is so appreciate of the wonderful and compassionate physician and friend, he was.
Most Sincerely,
On behalf of Helen Allen, Holyoke, MA
Bruce Allen
Bruce Allen
Friend
January 16, 2021
As a 3rd generation patient, after both my grandparents and mother were his patients, I was fortunate to know Dr Khatak for over 30 years. I last saw him in early December and we spoke about family, as we often did. He was more than my doctor, he was truly one of a kind and will be sorely missed by me and by all who knew him. it is truly a great loss for us all. My sincere condolences.
Eva Recchia
Friend
January 16, 2021
Dr Khatak was my mother’s doctor. I will never forget the kindness he extended to me when she passed in 2001. He was a skilled healer and truly a good human being. May you find comfort in knowing he made the world a better place by his good deeds.
Linda Celi
Acquaintance
January 16, 2021
So sorry for your loss. A wonderful man.
Russ Omer
Acquaintance
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