Obituary: Dr. K.N. Rao, July 1937 – July 2011, Toxicologist
Categorized as October 2011
By Nagasankar Rao Dittakavi, MacDonald, PA
Editor’s Note: Naga Sankar Rao Dittakavi, a long-time resident in the area, is an Associate Director of the Center for Legal Information at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh.
Dr. Kalipatnapu Narasimha Rao, simply known as Dr. K.N.Rao to his friends and colleagues, died on Monday, July 4, 2011 after a prolonged illness. Born in 1937 in Andhra Pradesh, India, K.N.Rao earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Bombay University, and master’s in organic chemistry from Nagpur University. He completed his PhD in biochemistry at the prestigious Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi.
Dr. Rao joined the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in 1971 as a research associate in the department of pathology, where he later became a professor. He was with UPMC for thirty-four years.
With his expertise in toxicology, he was the expert witness in several medicolegal cases. Even towards the very end of his life, he was academically active, completing a textbook entitled, “Forensic Toxicology: Medico-legal Case Studies,” published by CRC Press.
Keen to help India, Rao was involved in founding a research program in late 90’s at the Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences in Hyderabad. In the year 2001 he helped in establishing a clinical toxicology laboratory at the Hinduja National Hospital and Medical Research Center in Mumbai, India.
Rao enjoyed listening to Indian classical music and film songs. He was a fan of the actress-singer-director P R Bhanumathi. He loved to play tennis with his children and friends. Rao was a man of deep faith, attending many functions at the S.V.Temple, where he and his wife Rama volunteered for many years.
In the early days of Indian immigrants’ life in this region, he hosted many newcomers in his house, helping them to get acquainted with the local culture and food habits. I was one among them.
He married Rama in 1965, who fondly recalls that Rao encouraged her to obtain a master’s degree in Library and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh.
K. N. Rao’s end came at the Vassar Brother Hospital, Poughkeepsie, NY, where he was visiting his daughter on June 20th 2011. His son Babu perfomed the Hindu cremation rites at the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery. Dr. Rao leaves behind his wife Rama; daughters Dr. Padma Garvey, Dr. Uma Purighalla; son Babu; and three grandchildren Joe Joe, Sandhya and Radha. And a large circle of friends and relatives.
A memorial service for K. N. Rao was held on August 20th at the University Holiday Inn, Oakland, where the Rao Family requested that donations be made to the American Diabetes Association, P.O. Box 11454, Alexandria, VA 22313. Readers too can send their contributions directly to the American Diabetes Association.