Umamaheswara Rao Cherukuri, professor emeritus of California State University, Stanislaus, passed away on October 11, 2011, at the age of 76 after he courageously fought a four- year battle with cancer.
His can-do approach to life led him from a small village in India to a new life in America. Dr. Cherukuri's journey always included striving for excellence in education whether as a seven-year old who rode his bike sixteen miles every day to attend a better school or as a scholar who served the students and the Central Valley community for more than four decades.
The first to earn a college degree in his family, Dr. Cherukuri was a Fulbright Scholar with five advanced honors degrees. He began teaching finance at CSU Stanislaus in 1970 as a founding member of the School of Business. He later served as dean of the College of Business Administration, taught more than 7,000 students, and was honored as Outstanding Professor of the Year in 2003 before retiring in 2006. He always had time to mentor others and help his colleagues. His commitment to education involved not just the classroom but the whole lives of those he taught.
Dr. Cherukuri had several passions beyond the classroom walls. As the son of a farming family in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, Dr. Cherukuri had a lifelong love of gardening and the outdoors. He also enjoyed working on cars and playing bridge.
Dr. Cherukuri was the first American in his family. His sense of duty to others resulted in an awareness of the importance of cultural understanding. He worked with the Modesto Sister Cities International Program and the Indian Cultural Society for more than two decades. He helped many others settle into their lives as new Americans. The success of others was his greatest joy.
The patriarch of a loving family, he is survived by his mother, Allevalu Mangamma of India, his wife of 56 years, Sobha Cherukuri, his daughters, Padmaja Vejendla and Sailaja Rajappan, his son, Srinivas Cherukuri, their spouses, seven grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. We will miss our professor, our friend, our Babu, our Daddy, our Tata.
Even in his last days, one of his nurses shared that Dr. Cherukuri continued teaching. This time the lesson was in compassion.
Arrangements are entrust to Allen Mortuary. Services are pending. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society, Donor Services, P.O. Box 4072 Pittsfield, MA 01202.
Please share your memories at www.allenmortuary.com.
Saturday, October 15, 2011