NEKK Founding Member and Former President Rajendra Rao Passes Away at 79

Rajendra Rao

MARLBOROUGH, MA– Rajendra Rao, a founding member of New England Kannada Koota who was involved in a wide range of cultural activities in the Indian community since mid-1960s and ‘70s, passed away on Sunday in Framingham, MA. He was 79.

Besides his loving wife Renuka, Mr. Rao is survived by his daughters, Varsha Rao & her husband Cameron of San Francisco, CA, and Sandhya Rao & her husband Joshua of Seattle, WA, his grandchildren, James & India and Cheythan & Reshma. Rajendra is also survived by his extended family in India.

Wake Service and Funeral Services will be held on Tuesday, May 21, from 4:00 PM to 8:00 pm and on Wednesday, 10:00 AM, respectively.

Mr. Rao, a resident of Framingham and Marlborough, died suddenly of natural causes. He earned his BSc Honors in Chemistry from the University of Madras, an MA, MSc in Chemistry from Presidency College, and attended Florida State University for graduate studies.

Rajendra Rao

He immigrated to the US in 1965 on a Ford Foundation Scholarship. He began his career as a blood research analyst in Boston, and later went on to become a financial consultant. He worked for over 30 years in the financial sector for Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers and A.G. Edwards.

Mr. Rao, who was endearingly known as “Raj” and “Rao” by friends and family, was an active and committed leader in the local Indian community since the 1970s. He was a founding member and past president of the New England Kannada Koota, known as  NEKK, where he loved helping new immigrants assimilate into their new community and arrange for a vast range of Indian cultural activities.

Mr. Rao had a limitless love of life and found great joy and interest in everything and everyone he met. He loved to share countless stories and pictures, motivate and mentor kids of all ages, and it gave him great enjoyment to help all those with whom he came in contact.

Family and friends will honor and remember Rajendra’s life by gathering for Visiting Hours in the McCarthy, McKinney & Lawler Funeral Home, 11 Lincoln St., in Framingham, on Tuesday, May 21st from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

His Funeral Services will be held in the Memorial Chapel of Newton Cemetery, 791 Walnut St., Newton, on Wednesday morning at 10:00 AM. Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to NEKK towards the Rajendra Rao Children’s Scholarship Fund and mailed to: President NEKK, 10 Hawthorne Rd., Shrewsbury, MA 01545. For directions and online tributes, kindly visit


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