OBITUARY

Raja Parasuraman

August 2, 1950March 22, 2015
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Raja Parasuraman, PhD

Dr. Raja Parasuraman of Falls Church, VA died on Sunday, March 22. He is survived by his wife and colleague, Carryl Baldwin, daughters Rachna and Shanta Parasuraman, their mother Rashmi Sinha, Russell (Krista) Baldwin, and grandchildren Paeton, Kaleb, and Cailea.

Raja was born on August 2nd, 1950 in New Delhi, India to Rukmani Krishna Iyer and T. S. Parasuraman. He was the youngest of four children: Chandra, Saroj, and Bala. Raja was the baby of the family with an age gap of 16 years between him and Chandra.

Raja’s daughters were the center of his life from the moment they were born. He bathed them, cooked for them, played monsters with them, and made up whimsical yet foreboding stories about chubby hippos and elephants and the dangers of eating too much candy, and later took them to their sporting events, music recitals and college visits. He was their biggest support in all their endeavors.

Raja’s early education was in New Delhi and Mumbai and then at age 16 an elite English public school. Raja had come in second in a nation wide scholastic competition but the first place winner’s parents refused to let him go. Raja’s immeasurable strength and courage grew then as he struggled to adjust to the new culture in England (e.g., from vegetarian meals at home to bland meat-based dishes and overcooked vegetables). It was then when he began to learn to cook – a survival skill at first that later became a rewarding hobby much appreciated broadly by family and friends.

Despite little moral or financial support during this time Raja persisted - working various jobs, such as cleaning cargo ships in Calais, France – until receiving a B.Sc. (1st Class Honors) in Electrical Engineering from Imperial College, University of London, U.K. (1972). From there he went on to complete a Ph.D. in Psychology at Aston University, Birmingham, U.K. (1976), and a post-doctoral fellowship at University of California Los Angles.

Among his many accomplishments he held two university appointments, Professor of Psychology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. from 1982 to 2004 and then University Professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, from 2004 till his passing, where he also served as the Director of the Human Factors and Applied Cognition Program in the Department of Psychology as well as the Director of the Center of Excellence in Neuroergonomics, Technology, and Cognition (CENTEC), a field he was instrumental in pioneering. Neuroergonomics synthesizes two areas that Raja loved- human factors/ergonomics and cognitive neuroscience. His bridging of these domains, and the substantive contributions he has made in this area promises to be his fundamental legacy.

Raja had a brilliant mind, a kind heart, generous nature, and a gentle spirit. He accepted others for who they were without judgment. He loved being with people and enjoyed entertaining. His dinner parties were legendary, a friend of his recently declared. He was a superb cook who always had a glass of red wine not far from the stove. He could whip up a delicious and original feast with minimal ingredients. After the meal, when asked eagerly for the recipe, he would reply that it couldn’t be reproduced, as he didn’t remember exactly what he did, and furthermore, that the dishes were simply made from leftovers.

Raja loved music and travel, which he enjoyed throughout his life but even more with Carryl Baldwin, his wife, friend, and colleague. Together they played music, traveled – often combing work and pleasure and enjoyed endless evenings with friends in the tree house like back porch.

Raja was a devoted father, husband, friend, and mentor, as well as a talented academic. He was the essence of a vibrant, articulate, and emotional advocate for the improvement of the human condition. His passing impoverishes us all, but in this time of sorrow we must remember that each of us has been elevated by our time with him.

SUPPORT FOR MUSIC http://www.charitymusic.org/ http://musicandmemory.org/

SUPPORT FOR GILRS EDUCATION IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES https://raziasrayofhope.org/education-in-afghanistan.html http://eastafricachildrenshope.org/sponsor-a-girl/ http://www.globalgiving.org/microprojects/sponsorship-of-education-to-girl-children-in-india/

http://www.projectwhy.org/donate.htm This particular charity does not do memorial donations, so if you chose to donate here, please let Carryl know directly.

SUPPORT GRADUATE STUDENTS PSYCHOLOGY AT GMU http://psychology.gmu.edu/give 011615 Human Factors Student Fund 011602 Psychology Department

Services

  • Visitation Wednesday, April 1, 2015
  • Celebration of Life Thursday, April 2, 2015
REMEMBERING

Raja Parasuraman

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Peter Nolan

August 8, 2018

I'm shocked to hear of Raj's passing three years ago. I first met Raj at the Applied Psychology Dept. in Aston University in 1974. He was doing a PhD under Roy Davies who was Reader in the Department at the time. I was studying for my MSc under Senior Tutor Ron Easterby. Raj was obviously an excellent student and we were all somewhat in awe of his tutor who had a frightening reputation. I remember Raj as being quiet, humble and very easy to talk to, just a very nice person. Looking at all of these photos of his life, family and students he led a full and rich life and I'm sure his family miss him dearly. My condolences to all who were close to him.

Melissa Budnick, East Africa Children's Hope

June 2, 2015

Thank you to the generous donors who donated to East Africa Children's Hope on behalf of Raja. The donations will be used to support education in Africa, a constant remembrance of Raja.

Jessica Marquez

May 7, 2015

Having read many of his academic papers, I was privileged to have met Raja once. I acted like a star-struck teenager meeting a rock-star -- but I remember him most because of his kind nature. Truly sad about his passing. My heart is with his family.

Nikita Sharma

April 16, 2015

I will never forget the moment when he said "it's not that difficult...... you can do it...", when he visited BHU, India in 2013. He was the one who inspired me for human factors. He is the one who is actually behind my aspiration. I will miss you sir. And you were, you are and you will be a landmark...... May god rest your soul in peace.

Steven Landry

April 9, 2015

Raja was one of very best, and our discipline is greatly diminished without him among us. He will be greatly missed.

Anna Urmuzova

April 7, 2015

Raja Parashuraman was such a creative person, and I am so sorry he died. I didn't work with Raja directly, but Victor Ananyev, one of Raja's colleagues and good friends, gave me a chance to translate some of his articles into Russian, and I am so thankful I had a chance to get aquainted with some of his works in my life. My deepest condolences for his family, friends and colleagues.

Mark Chan

April 3, 2015

I will always remember meeting Dr. Parasuraman for the first time at Driving Assessment (DA). I presented a poster on vigilance and he stopped by to chat with me. I was meeting and speaking with the man whose work served as the foundation to my research! What a wonderful experience! I was star struck!

Thank you for "adopting" me and having me be part of the George Mason group while at DA.
Thank you for your encouraging words about research.

George Bonanno

April 2, 2015

I was a colleague of Raja's back over 15 years ago, when he and I were both on the faculty at Catholic University in DC. I was always struck by the fact that, for some one so obviously intelligent and productive, he was also a very kind and generous man.

Martin Wiener

April 2, 2015

When I was first interested in working at George Mason, I e-mailed a colleague to see what he thought of Raja. Accidentally, I e-mailed Raja himself! He e-mailed me back with a great sell on the Mason program, and soon thereafter I started as a postdoc. Although I didn't work with Raja directly, he always welcomed me into his office when I had questions and to offer advice, and he was frequently letting me know about interesting things he'd seen or done on his travels that I would like. He is, quite clearly, the inspiration for how I would like to conduct myself as an academic and a person. I will miss him and never forget him. My deepest condolences for his family.

Lee Sciarini and Michelle Harper-Sciarini

April 2, 2015

We are lucky to have been able to call Raja our friend and we will forever be inspired by the light that he brought to the world.