Ashok Shanker Mantri
Ashok was born in 1940 in the Dadar section of Mumbai, India, to his parents, Shanker and Sarojini Mantri. His home was a bustling one filled with the love of his parents and his siblings - Kunda, Megha, Bharat and Manda. His siblings remember him as an accomplished athlete as a child - recalling local sports competitions where he won many awards. After completing his primary education he went on to study architecture at the Bandra Academy of Arts in Mumbai, India where he received his degree in Architecture in 1963.
After completing his studies he worked for an architecture firm in Mumbai for a few years. In 1969 he moved to the Clapham neighborhood of London to start his career. He began working as a draftsman and started a lifelong habit of ordering fish and chips whenever it was on any menu. He enjoyed playing for various cricket teams where he often played as batsman. He returned to Mumbai in 1971 where he met and married his wife Sheela. Soon after marriage, Ashok set off on another global adventure - this time to New York City. He worked tirelessly in order to earn enough to afford a proper home for his new wife. He achieved this goal in 1972 and Sheela was able to join him to begin his family. His eldest daughter, Resham, was born in 1977 and Maya followed in 1982 - both born in their Forest Hills neighborhood of Queens, NY.
He loved his work as an architect and in his spare time would stop at every beautiful building he passed to comment and take photos. He could never pass by a construction site even, without stopping to look. He worked for many years at various architecture firms in Manhattan including Swanke Hayden Connell designing office buildings and interiors including some notable New York City staples such as the JP Morgan Chase building. Later he joined Venezia & Associates in New Brunswick, NJ working on designs for elementary through college level school buildings.
In 1985, the family moved to Sayreville, NJ where they settled into their family home. In Sayreville, Ashok discovered and polished his talents as a handyman. He filled his weekends with projects inside and outside of the house. Some of his more ambitious projects include refinishing the basement, designing and overseeing the construction of a sizable addition onto the home, and building an outdoor deck where the family enjoyed many outdoor meals. The family called this home for the next 27 years.
In 2009, now retired from being an architect, his first granddaughter Mira was born. He would wake up at 5:30 AM in order to take the bus and trains from Sayreville NJ to Williamsburg, Brooklyn to help babysit his beloved granddaughter when Resham and Angus were at work. Many Williamsburg parents fondly remember the beautiful duo of Baba and baby Mira all over the neighborhood. They both lived for the days they were together. No one made baby Mira laugh quite like he did. He always loved being around small babies and children, in some ways he was most himself around them.
In 2012, Ashok and Sheela started a yet another new chapter by moving in with Resham and her family in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Though by now retired, Ashok, never one to remain idle, explored his new neighborhood with a new set of hobbies - learning chess to play with his eldest granddaughter, Mira; swimming several times a week at the YMCA near his home, taking over weekly babysitting tasks for his grandchildren, and becoming a diligent student of yoga.
Ashok was a tireless man who dove into all the twists and turns that life brought his way with intensity and determination. We thank you for the love, friendship and support he has been shown in both life and death.
Survived by his wife (Sheela), daughters (Resham and Maya) sons-in-law (Angus and Vikram), granddaughters (Mira, Sunita, Leela and Amna), brother (Bharat), sisters (Kunda, Megha and Manda), nieces and nephews (Heramb, Ujwala, Swapna, Pallavi and Sidhesh; Sameer, Sachin, Amit, Ameya, and Neeti), brothers-in-law (Prakash D., Prakash G., Sudhir, and Vivek), sisters-in-law (Neema, Rekha, Nilima, and Sanjuta).
Remembered along with his parents (Shanker and Sarojini), his dear young siblings (Prakash, Pramod, and Prakash), and dearest nephew (Abhishek).
In lieu of flowers, consider making a donation to the YMCA in Ashok's name.
Prafullachandra. N. Purandare.