Obituary of Dr. Sunandan B. Singh
Dr. Sunandan B. Singh was born in Beed, India, on June 12, 1936. The youngest of 12 children, his name meant “good son” in Sanskrit. His family settled outside Hyderabad where his father, Mr. Babu Singh, was a superintendent and principal of public schools. His father instilled many values in his good son, including deep spirituality, curiosity, intellectualism, dignity, integrity, empathy, humility, generosity, hard work, and a profound love of and devotion to family. Dr. Singh would embody those traits throughout his life, both in his personal relationships and professional career. In his youth, Dr. Singh considered himself to be a philosophizer and daydreamer and wanted to become a Hindu pandit. He remained committed to Bhagavan-ji (God) and enlightenment during his life, albeit in a different way. His father had taken note of his son’s innate intelligence and talent and decided it would be best spent as a physician. As a good son, he obliged. After triple majoring in biology, chemistry, and physics as an undergraduate at Osmania University, Dr. Singh would go on to attend Grant Medical College in Bombay, graduate with highest honors, and specialize in pathology because it was the most interesting discipline. Dr. Singh was an exceptional person with preternatural talent, but he lived his life eschewing the spotlight and renouncing labels associated with prestige and acclaim. Instead, he favored hard work, service, and duty, which is why he served as a captain in the Indian army, working as a doctor for impoverished communities. He conducted several tours and was stationed at the Himalayan border in Kalimpong—his favorite place on Earth. During his tour, Dr. Singh treated a patient who offered to tell his fortune as a form of gratitude. The patient told Dr. Singh he would leave India forever and travel to a distant land and eventually get married. Dr. Singh graciously accepted his horoscope, but quietly dismissed it as an outlandish tale. He never planned to do anything of those things, and yet months later, he received an acceptance letter in the mail from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, inviting him to study in New York City. A friend had applied on Dr. Singh’s behalf, unbeknownst to him. Ever curious, adventurous, and lucky, he moved to the United States.
Dr. Singh came to the United States in 1971, where he would call his home and spend the rest of his incredible life. He was charmed by the country, but especially New York City, a place that would give him unimpeachable academic and professional credentials and several years later serve as the backdrop where he met his wife, Mrs. Swarsha Singh (nee Bhatia). After losing his job due to hospital consolidations and underfunding in the 1970s, Dr. Singh left the East Coast and took a role as a general practitioner on a Sioux Nation reservation in South Dakota as a way to continue serving overlooked communities in need care and dignity. He eventually returned to New York, and by 1979, he and had met his wife, married, and settled in New Jersey. By the time his daughter was born in 1981, Dr. Singh began studying for his boards in a new specialty called forensic pathology. True to form, he passed and earned his forensic boards on his first attempt—one of the approximately 100 physicians to survive the less than 1% pass rate, and remains just as difficult decades later. Dr. Singh enjoyed an extensive and distinguished career as a forensic pathologist and served as the Chief Medical Examiner of Bergen County, New Jersey until his retirement in 2006. He chose to forgo lucrative private practice or high profile public roles, and instead remained committed to serving those in the community who needed advocacy, honor, justice, and dignity in their afterlife. He was committed to being a present and involved father and an equal partner as a husband, and chose to keep his family rooted in Morristown, New Jersey.
To anyone who met Dr. Singh, he will be remembered as a true gentleman, a man of quiet dignity who always conferred the same onto others. He was known for his impeccable manners and politeness, and showed respect, compassion, kindness, and patience to everyone. To his family and friends, he was uncharacteristically convivial—even silly—and always helpful. He relished being in the company of those he cherished most in this world and lived his to bring joy to his loved ones. His goal was to make sure no one ever had a meal alone. Despite his educational and professional achievements, he believed his greatest roles were those of father, grandfather, and husband. He served as the most exemplary role model to his daughter, grandchildren, and son-in-law, and has indelibly shaped their lives and how they view the world. All four will ensure they carry on his legacy, whether it’s by acting with the utmost integrity, remaining grounded and gracious, staying curious, cultivating a passion for lifelong learning, having an appreciation for seafood, pursing adventure and travel, having great hair days, or making sure his inimitable wry, morbid sense of humor endures. Above all, they will honor him by forging the strongest of family bonds.
Dr. Singh passed away at his home in Morristown, as he intended, in peace and with family. An avid fan of astronomy (and astrology thought he’d deny it), Dr. Singh moved onto his next life during a rare blue moon. He is survived by his wife Soshi, daughter Reina, son-in-law Sam, and twin grandchildren, Ashwin and Lakshmi.
Dr. Singh touched so many lives, and while he wouldn't like the attention, his family invites those who wish to pay their respects to join them at 11 AM on Saturday, September 9th at the crematorium at Somerset Hills Memorial Park at 95 Mount Airy Road, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to St. Jude's Children’s Research Hospital, as Dr. Singh dedicated his research as a pathologist to pediatric diseases.
Arrangements were under the care of Dangler Funeral Home, Morris Plains, NJ.
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