Dr. Virendra Virsingh Rana
November 1, 1945 – January 5, 2019
Dr. Virendra “Viren” Vir Singh Rana
November 1, 1945 - January 5, 2019
Viren Rana passed away on Saturday morning, surrounded by his loving family. He was the devoted and beloved husband of Rajsudha Rana, his wife of over 50 years, the proud father of three daughters, Shruti, Smriti, and Sangeeta Rana, loving grandfather (Nanaji) of Shayla, Eva, and Sarina, and respected father-in-law of Samit Dasgupta and David Gamage.
Dr. Rana was known for his warmth and generosity, his brilliant mind, and his love of family, friends, and laughter.
Dr. Rana was born in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India in 1945, two years before India's independence. He was extremely close to his family, and was one of five sons and two daughters born to Dr. Harkaran Singh Rana and Shri Bhagwan Devi Rana. He and his siblings formed a boisterous, loving household, full of spirited hijinks, intense engagement in sports and academics, and numerous adventures, some of which have attained the status of family legends. In his youth he was Secretary of the Bal Ravindralayaan Institution of Children’s Welfare, where he loved engaging in sports and art and was a favorite of the Didi, the lead teacher.
Dr. Rana was an outstanding student, graduating at the top of his class in high school and from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur, with a first class honours degree in Metallurgical Engineering in 1967. He was an avid tennis and ping pong player and was an award-winning student who lived in RP Hall. He attended college with his older brother Janendra. They shared a close-knit social circle, including many life-long friends who have kept in close touch despite living all around the world.
Following his graduation, Dr. Rana received a scholarship to study for a Ph.D. in the United States. However, his mother told him that she wanted him to get married before leaving India. And so one afternoon he ended up having tea in the village of Akrauli, India, where he met his future wife, Rajsudha Rana, drawn there by a beautiful picture he had received of her. They married in May 1968, and after a month-long honeymoon, Dr. Rana arrived in the United States to begin a Ph.D. program at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Dr. Rana was among the first group of Indian students to arrive in the United States after the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act re-opened immigration from India. He and the other Indian students in New York became fast friends, and had many vivid stories and pictures of their experiences traveling the United States, as they often encountered people who told them they were the first people from India they had ever met. He was joined soon by his wife Sudha and his brother Narendra. Together they moved from Long Island to Ohio to California, where Dr. Rana moved after receiving his Master’s degree. Continuing his studies, he ultimately received a Ph.D. in Materials Science from the University of Southern California in 1978.
His daughters Shruti and Smriti were born while he was at USC. Dr. Rana then obtained a position as a research scientist at the elite Bell Laboratories in Berkeley Heights, NJ, where his daughter Sangeeta was born.
Dr. Rana’s research into magnetic bubbles proved to have ground-breaking applications in the then-emerging field of semiconductors. He was soon recruited to AT&T’s semiconductor manufacturing laboratory in Allentown, PA. In Allentown, Dr. Rana was a pillar of the Indian community. He was one of a small group of families that raised funds for and built a multidenominational Hindu, Sikh, and Jain Temple, where Dr. Rana became a board member and taught Hindi and table tennis classes, and wrote a Temple newsletter.
After a stint at Sematech in Austin, TX, Dr. Rana was then recruited to Applied Materials in Santa Clara, CA and moved to Los Gatos, CA, where the family lived for the next 27 years. Throughout his years in California, Dr. Rana was a fixture of the community. He was active in local civic affairs and was a leader of the Hindi Samiti club, where he wrote short stories and poetry in Hindi and helped organize conferences to enrich the development of Hindi literature.
Dr. Rana’s award-winning career in the field of semiconductor manufacturing was truly exceptional. He is the listed inventor on more than 50 patents, including several groundbreaking patents in the fields of semiconductor manufacturing and laser applications, including one of the foundational and most valuable (and therefore one of the most highly litigated) patents in the field of semiconductor manufacturing. He received a number of scientific and company awards, authored many scientific papers and articles, led conferences, and was a mentor to innumerable students, scientists and colleagues. After his retirement he chose to begin a new stage of his career, becoming a Fellow and leading cutting-edge research at Solexel, Inc., a solar cell startup in Silicon Valley.
He was an avid sportsman throughout his life and enjoyed running, yoga, and hiking throughout Yosemite and the forests of Northern California with his wife. He had a lifelong love of music and enjoyed hosting music and singing parties with friends. He was extremely kind, warm hearted, and fun loving and touched the lives of so many. He surrounded himself with the love of family and friends and treasured his strong lifelong friendships. He showered his 3 daughters and 3 granddaughters with love and affection, and most of all, he loved sharing his life with Sudha, who was truly his soulmate and the love of his life.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org/involved/donate.html ; Infinity Foundation, www.infinityfoundation.com; SAALT, http://www.saalt.org
Arrangements by Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 300 Saint Mary's St., Raleigh, NC 27605.
Arrangements by Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 300 Saint Mary's St. Raleigh, NC 27605.
- Funeral Service Monday, January 7, 2019