Rahul Chatterjee, 56

Published 05/19 2014 09:06AM

Updated 05/19 2014 09:07AM

Rahul Chatterjee, 56, passed away early Sunday, May 11 2014, surrounded by his friends and family. A man who meant a great deal to many people, he was nicknamed Mishtu by his family, called Ray by his poker buddies, and claimed the title Bear among his friends in the science fiction community.

Originally a native of India, Rahul was born May 20, 1957 to Sunil Manik and Roma Mukherjee Manik in Delhi and raised at the family home in Simla, Himachal Pradesh where he discovered a passion for stories through the comic books his mother bought for him.  He also spent many happy hours with his cousins at his grandfather’s house in Delhi getting up to all sorts of mischievous fun during the school holidays.

Rahul and his family moved to New York City when he was ten. That year the Jets won Super Bowl III and earned a life-long fan. Ever loyal, he started each season expecting the Jets to go to the Super Bowl.

Rahul, a graduate of Stuyvesant High School and Columbia University, was commissioned as a U.S. Navy surface warfare officer in 1982. He served on USS RICHARD E. BYRD (DDG 23) as an engineering officer and earned the ship a unit commendation. And when the ship crossed the Equator, he whole-heartedly enjoyed the crossing the line ceremony as he and the other new sailors proved their seamanship and worthiness to become trusty shellbacks.

After the Navy, Rahul worked in management for PepsiCo in Pennsylvania where he met the love of his life, Joyce Morrison. They married in Lutheran and Hindu ceremonies on June 3 and June 24, 1989. Together they accumulated a great mountain of fine books for their home libraries in: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Glendora, California; and finally Saint Joseph, Missouri.

Rahul continued to support good storytelling by becoming an active member of the science fiction fan community, attending conventions around the United States, and serving as a first reader for several authors. His name can be found on the dedication pages of multiple novels, and he even occasionally lent his name to the characters.

Rahul Chatterjee is survived by: his wife, Joyce Morrison of Saint Joseph, Missouri; his parents, Sunil and Roma Manik of Fort Myers, Florida; his aunts, Manda Mukherjee of Leuven, Belgium and Uma Bannerjee of Aligarh, India; and his cousin Abhijit Mukherjee of Ann Arbor, Michigan and Leuven, Belgium.

He also leaves behind two beloved dogs: Loki and Maya Shikari who were his faithful companions thorough every stage of his final illness.

Rahul Chatterjee will be buried at sea by the United States Navy. Memorial wakes will be held at the science fiction literary conventions LibertyCon and LosCon. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be sent to the Wounded Warrior Project or the Humane Society of Pasadena, California.

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