Lakshmi K. Moorthy, 87, matriarch who was treasured for her mothering instinct

Lakshmi K. Moorthy

WILMINGTON — It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you of the passing of our mother/mother-in-law, Lakshmi K. Moorthy, 87, affectionately known as “Lakshmi Manni” to most people, born May 7, 1933, in Mumbai (Bombay), India. She passed away peacefully Friday, April 23, 2021, at approximately 5:25 p.m. after brief, but heroic, battle with lymphoma.

She epitomized the meaning of the words wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, sister and aunt; her caretaking and mothering instinct allowed her to be an adoptive “mom” to many people in her life. Her passion was reading, yoga, naturopathic remedies, being knowledgeable on many topics and sharing her advice/words of wisdom. She was always an animal lover and had a deep fondness for their family dog, Frido, and her granddog, Chutney. She was truly a formidable woman who accomplished many things in her life, but to her, family always came first!

She was the daughter of Kuppaswamy and Parvathi Iyer, and grew up in Mumbai (Bombay) with her two younger brothers, Ambi and Krishna (Kitcha) Iyer, and she was the older and wiser sister throughout their lives. She attended college and graduate school at Bombay University. For her generation, she was a trendsetter, and achieved her Master of Arts in Economics and worked as an income tax officer in Mumbai (Bombay) for several years until her marriage. Soon after meeting our father/father-in-law, Venketraman (V.K.) Moorthy, clandestinely and dating on the local train, they decided to marry on July 3, 1959, at which time, our mother/mother-in-law gave up her career to dedicate her life to their family. With the promise of a good life, and financial security, they moved to a cozy home in Kalina, a suburb of Bombay.

Within the first year of their marriage, in May 1960, they welcomed their precious daughter, and apple of their eye, Janaki (Jana). After living in Kalina for a few years, they moved to Chembur, and lived in a ground floor duplex, and the building was named Jai. Once they welcomed their cherub of a son in November 1962, they struggled to find a name and conveniently named him Jai after that building. Our mother/mother-in-law was family-oriented first and foremost, and took care of her younger brother-in-law, Viswesh, and brother, Krishna, who both lived with them for many years, and her younger sisters-in-law, Vallibai and Kalyani, when they came home for their deliveries.

Following many joyous years raising their children, Jana and Jai, in their Chembur home filled with siblings, cousins and extended family, they briefly moved to Calcutta before returning to South Bombay in 1976. After Jai and Jana completed college, they moved to her husband’s first overseas posting in Hong Kong. They lived in Hong Kong and Singapore through the 1990s, and eventually emigrated to the United States in 1998 with the sole purpose of being close to their children and grandchildren. They lived in Massachusetts with Jana and her husband, Dilip, but eventually moved to New Jersey and settled in next door to their son and daughter-in-law, Jai and Prema, in the sleepy town of Mahwah, for approximately 17 years. At the end of 2020, she moved to Wilmington to live with Jana and Dilip in their new retirement home. She was married to her husband for 59 years, and she remained his diligent caretaker for the last few years prior to his death in October 2018.

She was a woman who could be described as the pinnacle of feminine power. She balanced both modern thinking with the best of our Hindu culture and traditions. She was highly educated, read voraciously and was knowledgeable on a variety of topics. She embodied the Hindu saying, Atithi Devo Bhava, a Sanskrit verse, which means, “The guest is equivalent to God.” Her hospitality and giving nature were her signature traits. She has hosted thousands of people at her home, had a knack for putting everyone she met at ease and people truly looked forward to spending time with her while she made her famous “cup of tea” for them.

She was a wonderful cook, and enjoyed making “dosas and poori/bhajis” for her four grandchildren and their friends. Her commitment to family was the over-arching theme of her life, beginning from taking care of her parents, her brothers and her husband’s siblings, to helping to care for her grandchildren, Vivek, Varun, Vinay and Riya. She always put her needs to the side for others, especially for her family. She provided childcare to all her grandchildren for the first two years of their lives, and maintained a close relationship to each of them as they grew into young adults. She was truly loved by all and will be dearly missed by all those who knew her. At the very end, she was surrounded by her immediate and close family.

She is survived by her two children, Jana and Jai; son-in-law, Dilip; her daughter in-law, Prema; grandchildren, Vivek, Varun, Vinay and Riya; and granddog, Chutney. She has one surviving sister-in-law, Kalyani, and her husband, N.S. Sharma; and brother-in-law, Viswesh, and his wife, Lalitha. She now joins her husband, V.K. Moorthy; parents, Kuppaswamy and Parvathi Iyer; brothers, Ambi and Krishna (Kitcha) Iyer; and sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Vallibai and V. Mahadevan.

May her loving soul rest in peace.

A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m., Tuesday, April 27, at the Wilmington Funeral Chapel.

Share online condolences with the family at Wilmington Funeral & Cremation.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email