The Raghupathis Move to San Diego After Their Four Decades of Active Life Here

By V. Vasudevan, Monroeville, PA

Janaki and Narasimhan Raghupathi, known to many among the Indian diaspora here, and very well-known people associated with the S.V.Temple, moved to San Diego last July after their over four decades of productive years living amongst us. They moved to San Diego to live close to their son and daughter there.

Janaki arrived in Pittsburgh in the early 1970s to pursue her master’s program in structural engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, after graduating in 1971 from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras in civil engineering. In the mid-1960s, she was one of the very first “girls” to enter the IIT to pursue the coveted BTech in engineering. One of the reasons she chose Pitt was that her fiancé Narasimhan Raghupathi was pursuing his PhD in Chemical Engineering at Pitt.

Pandits Venkatacharyulu and Gopala Bhattar offered a garland to the Raghupathis

After their marriage, they had a brief stint at Ford Motor Co. in Detroit before moving back to Pittsburgh to spend over four decades here.

Janaki spent all her working years at the Westinghouse Energy Center in Monroeville and Cranberry in various capacities in structural engineering projects related to nuclear power plants.

Raghupathi recalling a poignant moment with Sthapati Ayyachami Narayanan with his audience. Pandit Venkatacharyulu looks on.

Her background in civil and structural engineering came in handy at various stages of finalizing  the plans for the S.V.Temple that was consecrated in 1976. Her volunteer work at the temple continued in various roles in planning many one-of-a-kind festivals and procuring a variety of unique supplies against deadlines from all over the world in the pre-Internet, pre-Amazon, and pre-Walmart days.

Janaki was there to help anyone at any time, whether it was for arranging arangetrams, marriages, and hosting visiting artistes; or helping people in medical and any other type of emergencies. There was no end to the selfless and tireless work she did for all who approached her.

Raghupathi, her husband, on the other hand, is quiet, complementing Janaki’s gregariousness. Often, he introduced himself as Janaki’s husband. He did his master’s in chemical engineering from VJTI, Mumbai and earned his PhD in ChemE from Pitt. After his brief stint at Ford in Detroit, he joined PPG working in various capacities in managing projects. He travelled widely for work, meetings with customers and vendors. He regaled with stories on his visits to Moscow and other cities in the Soviet Union during the collapse of the USSR. He too was associated with the S.V.Temple management in various official capacities.

The women who made the event happen with some others. (Picture by Sripriya Vasudevan, North Hills, PA)

Raghupathi has been the unofficial tax consultant for the priests and office staff at the temple from the time the temple started, making sure that they got all the applicable deductibles and refunds. He also made sure that they also set aside money for their retirement.

The friends of the Raghupathis organized a farewell party at the Murrysville Community Center on July 8, 2022, where they recalled fantastic stories and anecdotes in their interactions with Janaki and Raghupathi. While all their friends miss their presence here, I join them wishing Janaki and Raghupathi well in their retirement with their two children in the sunny San Diego, enjoying their life living close to the beach, the mountains, and the desert. 


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