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Memorial Gathering

Thursday August 5th, 2021
2:00pm - 4:00pm

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Nariman B. Mistry

Nariman Burjor Mistry was born in Mumbai, India, on October 21, 1937 to Burjor and Jer Mistry. In 1964, he married Virginia (Gin) Garland, and they had four children: Roshan, Manek, Premila, and Jal. The couple celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary on June 21, 2021. Nari died at home on July 1, 2021, enfolded in the love of his family.

Nari received his undergraduate degree in physics from St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai, and then spent two years doing research. He came to the US when he was 21, arriving in New York City on the ocean liner Ile de France. He did graduate work in physics at Columbia University, and received his PhD in 1963.

While attending Columbia he worked on a project studying neutrinos. The three professors leading this research were later awarded the Nobel Prize in 1988, and Nari and Gin were honored and excited to travel to Stockholm to attend the awards ceremony.

Nari began work at Cornell University in 1964 and worked there for 39 years. His career focused on particle physics, and he worked with his colleagues at Cornell’s synchrotron (particle accelerator) to study the fundamental properties of matter and energy. He was an active member of the Radiation Safety Committee, and served as chairman for many years. Nari also enjoyed teaching graduate students, and traveling to other countries to work at other facilities.

He shared many wonderful tales of his travels, and took pride in his punctuality: he happily related the story of arriving for a meeting in Moscow just on time, having taken a plane, train, and bus, despite weather problems and travel delays.

Nari retired from Cornell in 2003 and then pursued a second career as a self-taught artist. He painted watercolor landscapes, scenes around Ithaca, and birds, among other subjects. His work appeared in regional galleries and he was an enthusiastic participant in the Greater Ithaca Art Trail.

Nari also loved music. He played piano and encouraged his children in their musical interests, often accompanying them. He was a member of the board of the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra and served as its president for some years, inspiring many people who enjoyed the orchestra’s concerts.

Nari was a Renaissance man. In addition to his work, his lifelong devotion to the piano, and his other artistic achievements, he enjoyed gardening, bird watching, canoeing, sailing, cross-country skiing, hiking, camping, and traveling. He was extremely well-read and he enjoyed learning new information and understanding complex problems on any topic. He was also an adept mechanic, plumber, electrician, and carpenter, and he was the go-to person for any home repair.

But Nari’s greatest pride and satisfaction came from his family. He had a deep love for his wife, children, and grandchildren. He was close with his siblings in India and Australia, and with other extended family members around the globe. 

He was a very active father, always interested and very proud of his children. He delighted in his grandchildren: he told them stories, drew pictures, taught them about nature, made videos, and truly embraced his role as “Papa.” Nari also shared his love with the many foster children he and Gin cared for: Shireen, Christina, Amber, Kimmie, Brittany, Elisabetta, and Lacey.

When reflecting on his life, he expressed his hope that he’d taught his children morality, integrity, honesty, and pride in their accomplishments. This, he said, was more important to him than any of his other professional or personal achievements.

Nari is survived by the love of his life, his wife of 57 years, Virginia, of Ithaca, NY, his children, Roshan (Eric) Swope of Harrisville, NH, Manek (Jodi Backlund) Mistry of Olympia, WA, Premila Mistry of Washington, D.C., and Jal (Stephanie Lee) Mistry of East Greenwich, RI.

He is also survived by his grandchildren, Maya, Molly, Eliana, and Abigail; by his brothers, Jangoo (Firdaus) Mistry and Ronnie (Armaiti) Mistry; by his brother-in-law Shahrookh Tafti; and by many cousins, nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, his sister Gulnar Tafti, and his granddaughter Ayla Mistry.

Family and friends are invited to gather in Nari's gardens on Thursday, August 5, 2021, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Doctors Without Borders, a cause Nari cared about throughout his life.

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Nari Mistry and I go back a long, long way ago. We were close friends in St Xavier's College in Bombay (now Mumbai) from 1952-1954. Even then his passion was pure physics. After passing our Bombay University Inter-Science Exam in 1954 I went off to an outstation engineering college for a few years and he continued his B. Sc. in Physics in the college. Our paths crossed infrequently thereafter and by the time I returned to Bombay, he had left for the US. Then a few years ago, I accidently bumped into him in Masina Hospital just adjoining Rustom Baug in Byculla, Mumbai where he used to live. He was there because of his father's illness. We lost touch thereafter. Last night lying in bed, he suddenly unexplainably came into my thoughts. Premonition? I could visualize his face, but could not remember his name - I could recollect his brother Ronnie's name. Just now his name, Nari suddenly came to my mind and I promptly google-searched, only to learn that he had sadly passed away more than 6 months go, on 01 July 2021 .
To his wife Ginny and his sons, daughters and grand children I offer my deepest condolences. From what I have just read in his Obit,, he lived a full life, with honors conferred on him. During our two years in St Xavier's College we were very close friends and I cannot explain why, out of the blue, he came into my thoughts last night which has made me write this message.
Rest in Peace, Nari.
Garothaman Behest Hojoji

Bomi Shawak Mehta Jan 16 2022 10:31 AM

A candle was lit in memory of Nariman Mistry

Lynn Keeton Gamwell Dec 23 2021 7:23 PM

Our condolences to the Mistry family as they grieve Nariman's passing and celebrate his amazing life. Though we didn't have the chance to know him, our family has benefitted from his shaping of Premila's life as she's served as a teacher to our children over the past 8 years. We're praying for comfort, joy, and celebration, even in the midst of sorrow and remembering.

Matthew, Lisa, Nathan, Elias, & Annelies Watson Jul 22 2021 12:00 AM

We were saddened to learn of Naris passing. He was such a kind and gentle man who loved his wonderful family deeply. He was also a constant force for good in the community. We also remember him as a fine mentor and model for our young son so many years ago. Ours would be a much better world if we all were more like Nariman Mistry.

Davydd and Pilar Greenwood Jul 6 2021 12:00 AM

Were very sorry to hear of Naris passing. He was a wonderful person. I remember working for Nari at Neumann lab in 1965! Glad that he enjoyed life in retirement and did so much good. Ginny, my heart goes out to you and your family.

your family.

Barbara Stasavage Jul 5 2021 12:00 AM

Nari uncle was an extraordinary person, a genius, artist, and pianist, but above all, a humble, righteous, and honorable human being. He touched innumerable lives with his generosity, help, love, and care. Nari uncle and Ginny aunty brought so much happiness, joy and comfort to so many, who always put others and the greater good, before themselves.

Our deepest condolences to Ginny, Roshan, Manek, Premila, Jal, and all the family. May his soul rest in peace.

Bomi, Nina, Dilshad, and Natasha Jul 4 2021 12:00 AM

Expression of Sympathy

Our deepest condolences to Ginny, Roshan, Manek, Premila, Jal, and the family on the loss of our very dear and best friend. Having known Nari since high school days and enjoyed a lifelong friendship, we feel the loss greatly. He was a kind and honorable man who felt responsible for other human beings and nature in all its forms, and actively promoted these causes during his life. In doing so he touched many lives with his love and generosity. We admired and benefited from his artistic and musical talents, and academic achievements, and were fortunate to participate with him in some outdoor activities over the years. We will cherish the wonderful memories of our enjoyable times together. A donation has been made in his memory to Doctors Without Borders, a cause we too actively support.

A good man has left this earth but will forever be in our hearts. May his soul rest in eternal peace and his family be comforted in his passing by the memories of a life lived to the fullest and the lovely family he left behind.

Silloo and Behram Kapadia, and family Jul 4 2021 12:00 AM

I worked with Nari at Newman Lab as a draftsman for my entire of 29 years at Cornell. He was a brilliant and sweet human being. He had such a wide range of interests it was always a treat to engage him in conversation. Working with him in solving design problems in technical equipment was always an education and sometimes exasperating because Nari wouldn't settle for less than perfection. I consider it an honor to have known him.

thomas m kobela Jul 3 2021 12:00 AM

A candle was lit in memory of Nariman Mistry

Minoo Bhagwagar Jul 3 2021 12:00 AM

A very intelligent, talented, humble, noble and giving person who won the Noble prize amongst so many other accomplishments! He lived life to the full, very proud of having him as an uncle! Someone who should always be emulated!

Yasmin Kapadia Jul 2 2021 12:00 AM

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