Sunder Bhatia AIKEN, SC - Sunder "Sunny" Lal Bhatia, passed away on January 8, 2017, due to complications of pulmonary failure and a massive stroke, which occurred on December 26, 2016. He was 82 years old. Sunder leaves behind his wife of 52 years, Pushpa Bhatia and adult children Ravi and Shashi, and their respective spouses, Johanna Arias-Bhatia and Stuart Golfman, both of whom were like another son and daughter to him. Sunder also leaves his beloved younger brother, Inder Paul. In the course of his life Sunny saw his birth nation of India gain independence and become two nations, Pakistan and India. He and his family survived the violence in the days after independence and partition and settled in India. This was a traumatic experience that deeply affected his life. Throughout his life he commented he wanted to return to his childhood home in what is now Pakistan, "just to see it one more time," it remained an unfulfilled wish. Sunny was always an excellent student, and he excelled academically. A family story tells of him being sent to a village well to fetch water, and when he did not return, an older brother was sent to find him. Sunder was found with one hand pumping the well, (water overflowing the bucket), while young Sunny read his school book as the sun was setting. Before coming to America in 1967, Sunder was a scientific officer in India's Atomic Energy Commission. His studies led to him earning a Master's degree from the University of Louisville, and he nearly finished a doctorate at the University of Nebraska. Recently, he was inducted as a member in the "Cold War Patriots;" the result of his service to the United States Department of Energy in Idaho and Richland, Washington nuclear facilities. Just after his first retirement, his restlessness led to a short stint as a Nuclear Regulatory Commission safety engineer and inspector. He had to be convinced that it was ok to be retired and not want to travel for work. Soon after, his wife, Pushpa, accepted a job as a mechanical engineer at Savannah River Site, and that is what brought them to their new home here in Aiken, South Carolina. Sunny was a staunch proponent of classical education and after his second retirement taught mathematics at Aiken Technical College. His calculations were done in his head or by hand, never caring much about computers, telling his students "if they did not work the problems in their head, how would they know the computer was right." Sunny was a great hearted man and lived an honorable life of simplicity. He loved discussing domestic and international politics with complete strangers and friends. He loved shopping for groceries, especially fresh produce, and would often make several trips to several different stores to gather the best items "at the lowest price." He especially loved his morning coffee and reading his newspaper with his friends and strangers at the McDonalds on Whiskey Road, here in Aiken. Sunder Bhatia was a friend to many of you here in Aiken, and Augusta. His global circle of family and friends are heartbroken and grieve his loss. Perhaps when you read this you should not be sad, but remember him fondly, rejoice that you knew him, and take care of yourself and those you love. The family will hold a private cremation ceremony on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 at Thomas Poteet & Son Funeral Directors, 214 Davis Rd., Augusta, GA 30907 (706) 364-8484. Please sign the guestbook at www.thomaspoteet.com A religious service in his memory will be held on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 from 5pm until 8pm at Sunder Bhatia's place of worship, Guru Singh Sabha Temple, 4031 Evans to Locks Road, Evans, Georgia 30809, (706) 863-7391. Dinner will be served after 8pm. All who knew Sunder Bhatia and/or his family are welcome to attend.
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