Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Ramanlal “Ray” D. Patel, 72

WILMINGTON — Ramanlal “Ray” D. Patel passed away peacefully on Saturday, June 4th, 2022, in Wilmington, North Carolina from complications of a heart attack.  He was surrounded by his wife, children, and grandchildren.

Ramanlal was born on May 16, 1950 in Tavua, Fiji, the oldest of seven children of the late Dayhabhai and Maniben Patel.  He spent his first 18 years in Fiji before attending Bhavan’s College in Bombay, India from 1969 to 1975, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry.  In 1976, he married his beautiful wife Ajitaben in India, and they happily welcomed their first child, daughter Daisy in 1981.  Soon, after a brief return back home to Fiji, Ramanlal and his family moved to the United States, with a dream of a better opportunity and life.  They eventually settled in Dunn, NC for nearly a decade, operating and owning their first motel, Downtown Motor Court.  These were the most formative years where both Ramanlal and Ajita worked side by side and remodeled so much of the motel with their own hands. From removing wallpaper and carpeting, to painting and installing all the furniture details, this was where they grew into the hotel and motel business. Also, during this time, they welcomed their second child, son Rahul, in 1988.  After 3 years, Ramanlal moved one last time down to Wilmington, North Carolina, where he resided for more than thirty years.  There he owned and operated the Travel Inn where they remodeled all over again to create a successful business. Later, he fulfilled a dream and built the Wingate by Wyndham hotel which has also been successfully operated since 2000.

Ramanlal always lived life on his terms until the very end – young, active, and vibrant.  He took interest in so many areas – food, politics, music, current events, gardening, and so much more.  He and Ajitaben traveled the world, from Australia to Europe to Southeast Asia, but his favorite would be his adventures within India.  Most of all, Ramanlal was a generous, caring, and loving man.  He was a mentor and teacher to many, especially to his family.  For the Wilmington Indian community, he loved to host gatherings and cook meals for everyone’s enjoyment.  He gained happiness by being hospitable to others, both personally and in business. 

Ramanlal’s life will be celebrated at Andrews Mortuary on Wednesday, June 8th at 11am in Wilmington, North Carolina.  His legacy will be carried on by wife Ajitaben, daughter Daisy and her husband Pragnesh, son Rahul and his wife Pragati, and his grandchildren, Simran and Shaylen.

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