Hasmukhlal Jamnadas Patel, fondly known as Bapuji by family and friends, was born on October 30, 1934 in Rundhwada, India. Bapuji’s early childhood was spent in Mumbai. Upon the passing of his father, resulting in economic downturn, he moved to Puna, near Surat, with his mother and three other siblings. At the young age of 16 and in spite of health challenges, Bapujimoved to Africa to explore opportunities to turn around the family’s economic reality. His formative years in Zambia were full of challenges, including joining the military. This is where he had the fortune of meeting his future wife, Lalitaben Patel, daughter of Govindbhai and Ratanben Patel.
His entrepreneurial spirit blossomed and he established Lilients, a very successful department store. In spite of his own success, he realized the importance of education and his focus turned towards supporting his brother’s education abroad in England and eventually to the United States of America. At the same time, Bapuji supported his family back in India. During these years, Bapuji and Lalitaben enjoyed raising four beautiful children: Bhagwati, Shailesh, Jayshree and Kalpana.
Despite the success afforded by Lilients, Bapuji believed in the higher opportunities of education that existed in the U.S. for his four children. In 1972, he made the bold decision to relocate the family to Foster City, California. This is where he joined his younger brother, Madanlal, and began his real estate career. In 1974, they were joined by their older brother, Ishwarbhai(Motabhai). Over the years, the three brothers developed a very close bond. Bapuji unconditionally shared his success and wealth for the development of the entire family and always put the needs of others above his own. He became the pillar for the Kuber family. He also insisted that help had to extend beyond the family and always found joy in donating to charities.
Bapuji’s lack of a formal higher education did not prohibit his quest for knowledge. He was an outstanding communicator, story-teller, and counselor. Readings of Ramayana helped him attain inner peace and impacted his day-to-day life. His smile and positivity were infectious, and Bapuji could strike up a conversation with all genres of people. He touched many hearts and minds and became a source of inspiration for friends and family.
Even during the last few months, when his health was failing, Bapuji enjoyed his family and continued to enrich his life through spirituality. On October 30, 2021, Bapuji enjoyed his 87th birthday, surrounded by all his extended family in the hospital. During these last few days, Bapuji was still able to impart wisdom and blessings to his entire family. Bapujipeacefully completed his journey on November 1st, 2021.
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