Life Story Visitation
Thursday, June 16, 2022
3:30 PM EDT
Mt. Ever Rest Memorial Park North
1717 N Drake Rd
Kalamazoo, MI 49006
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Gautam Parthasarathy was a kind, loving soul who met each day with courage and determination to be his best self. He embraced each moment as a gift and delighted in connecting with others. To those who knew him best, Gautam was "the pun master." He always had a joke ready, and though his daughter declared most of them as bad dad jokes, they generally inspired smiles. Gautam welcomed opportunities to learn and grow and encouraged all who were lucky to share time with him by example. In his good company, hardships were lessened, and joys felt more deeply. A cherished son, brother, husband, father, and friend, Gautam will long be remembered and so very missed.
Born on November 27, 1984, in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, to Parthasarathy Sabniviss and Saraswathy Parthasarathy, Gautam grew up with strong family traditions and deep respect for others. He held his elders in high esteem and was very proud of his family's history. From his earliest days, Gautam led with his heart. He felt deeply and was driven to please people.
At the age of nine, Gautam immigrated to the United States with his parents when they moved to pursue their jobs as Information Technology professionals. Twelve years older than his sister, Gautam was a very good big brother. Though she didn't always appreciate his parental nature, she knew he always had her best interests at heart.
Gautam was interested in politics and a big fan of the television show The West Wing. He sang in the school choir as well as karaoke and was drawn to the song Edelweiss. After his marriage and the birth of his daughter, Neela, this became a very special song for the young family, starting as a nightly lullaby and becoming so special that Gautam later got a tattoo of these flowers with Neela’s name. As a teen, he played ice hockey, and he was also a lifelong chess player. He competed in many tournaments, even as recently as 2021, and was a member of and rated with the United States Chess Federation. While in college, he taught chess lessons with a natural ability to engage his students' minds. With great affection, his students called him “Anna,” the Tamil term for "Big Brother."
Gautam's grandpa was a high-ranking pilot in the Indian Air Force. His service inspired Gautam to hold military members in high respect and he longed to share that same brotherhood. With great pride, he joined the Army. After returning home, he followed in his parents’ example and pursued a career as an I.T. professional.
It didn't take long for anyone who met Gautam to learn that anything he was passionate about, he threw himself into entirely. During his years in India, he learned and fell in love with the game of cricket. He was a very good player himself and had a knack for knowing many professional players. He could recognize them from great distances (even before players’ names were written on their shirts) and was a huge fan of Sachin Tendulkar; one of his very happy memories was during a visit to London when Gautam got to witness one of Sachin Tendulkar’s hundreds. He was also a big football fan and enjoyed watching his team, the Green Bay Packers. He proudly passed his Packer loyalties down to his daughter. Much of Gautam’s clothes, as well as decorations in the family room of their new home, sport the team colors, and there are many memories of cheering them on alongside family and friends.
While living in Madison, Wisconsin, in 2012, Gautam met his great love, Kari. He and Kari quickly recognized they had much in common, especially shared morals and life values. They both loved animals and were dedicated to living vegetarian lifestyles. They were engaged a month after meeting, married six months after, and shared the better part of ten years together.
To be closer to Kari's family, they moved to the Kalamazoo area in 2016. Kari introduced Gautam to her childhood pastor and friend, Steve Charnley, who was the pastor at Kalamazoo First United Methodist Church. The men grew to enjoy talking about and growing their faiths together, and Gautam became the first Hindu Steve baptized. Gautam loved the community he became a part of at Kalamazoo First UMC and leaves behind many loving friends.
In 2013, Gautam and Kari started to grow their family. Gautam cried tears of joy upon learning they were expecting, and in September they were blessed to welcome their daughter, Neela Mae, to their family. Gautam was a devoted father who supported his daughter in every way. They loved going to the beach together, pursuing her love for figure skating, and taking naps. The pair could nap anytime, anywhere, a trait inherited from both Gautam’s parents. Neela was Gautam’s pride and joy, and his legacy lives on in her.
Recently, the family moved to a new house. They enjoyed DIY projects to improve their home and make it truly their own. A bit of a MacGyver, Gautam could fix just about anything. Their shared love for pets led to fostering cats and breeding Goldendoodles. Gautam also loved a good novel. Banned from reading his wife's books because he dogeared so many pages, he particularly liked reading Tom Clancy's thrilling adventures, and he kept many books from his youth, read so much that covers were worn off entirely.
Gautam modeled how to face challenges with curiosity and perseverance. He faced his nearly lifelong struggle with mental health issues with signature determination. He acknowledged the illness, sought help, and worked diligently to live life to the fullest the best he could. Kari provided him great support during these battles, and together they tried to set an example of destigmatizing mental illness, normalizing embracing professional help, and celebrating every success. Gautam worked very hard and had a lot to celebrate.
Though our days with him were far too few, each moment with Gautam was rich beyond measure. May we find comfort in knowing he no longer faces such struggles. Together, we carry forward his legacy of love, laughter, determination, and service in our own lives. In this way, we will keep his spirit alive and inspire others as he so inspired each of us.
Gautam Parthasarathy, of Kalamazoo, age 37, died on June 12, 2022, after a heroic battle with colon cancer. Gautam was preceded in death by his maternal grandfather, R. Sundaresan; and paternal grandparents: Subba Rao and Saraswathamma. Surviving are his wife of nearly ten years, Kari; 8-year-old daughter: Neela Mae; his parents; sister: Kaamya; grandmother: Madhuram Sundaresan; and many extended family across the globe. Please join us at a Life Story Visitation 5-7 PM Wednesday (JUNE 15) at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900. Funeral services will be celebrated 1 PM Thursday (JUNE 16) at Kalamazoo First United Methodist Church, 212 South Park Street, Kalamazoo. Burial at Mt. Ever Rest Memorial Park North. Visit Gautam's webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories and photos and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Kalamazoo First United Methodist Church.