Ila Kothari

Obituary of Ila Kothari

In Loving Memory of Ila Kothari (1944 - 2023)

It is with profound sorrow that we announce the passing of Ila Kothari, aged 79, on Friday, December 15, 2023. Ila departed this world peacefully at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, embraced by the love of her family.

Ila's journey began in Gujarat, India where she was born in the village of Dhandhuka, then moved to Ahmedabad where she spent her formative years. Her pursuit of knowledge led her to Gujarat University, where she earned degrees in both Art and Commerce. Ila then emigrated to the United States and moved to Chicago to marry her beloved husband Ajit in 1967. Over the years, she wore many hats, working initially as an accountant and then translating those skills to the business world, where she became a successful entrepreneur and owner/manager of multiple small businesses. In her later years, she again shifted gears and became a well-respected real estate agent.

The couple's adventurous spirit took them from India to Chicago in 1967, and eventually to New Jersey, where they made their home in Montville for 38 years. Here, amidst the joys of raising a family, Ila found her true calling. 

Ila was extremely passionate about fostering Indian religion and culture. She was one of the co-founders and pillars of the Sanatan Mandir (Hindu Temple) in Parsippany and managed the temple’s finances for many years. Her devotion to the temple spanned over three decades, a testament to her deep spirituality and commitment to her community. At the temple, Ila started a Sunday School for children to learn Indian languages and culture, which now enrolls over 130 students per year. In addition, she ran a weekly Yoga class at the temple and also founded a monthly classical Indian music program inviting budding artists to perform and showcase their talents. A lifelong sitar player, Ila also furthered her musical interests after retirement, performing in concerts and temple programs throughout New Jersey. 

Ila's legacy is not only in her community work but also in the love and guidance she bestowed upon her family. Ila always said that her greatest joy was her family. She is cherished by her husband, Ajit, after 56 years of marriage; her devoted children, Dr. Neha and Dr. Neil Kothari, and daughter-in-law, Dr. Avani Kothari; her adored grandchildren, Annika, Karina, Alexander, and Roshan; and her siblings in India, Nila, Nikhil and Shatayu whom she made time to talk with on a daily basis. Ila is also beloved by her brothers and sisters-in-law as well as many nieces and nephews. She was a source of joy, warmth, and love within our entire family. Ila was also deeply loved and respected in the community, and through her positive influence and inspiration, she has impacted the lives of so many people. Her absence will be deeply felt by all who knew her. 

We invite you to join us in celebrating Ila's life. Visitation is scheduled for Monday from 4 to 8 p.m. at Higgins Home for Funerals, 752 Mountain Blvd., Watchung, NJ. A private puja service for family and close friends will follow on Tuesday at 10 a.m. at Somerset Hills Memorial Park, 95 Mt. Airy Rd., Basking Ridge, NJ. A public memorial will be announced later.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Ila's memory can be made to Shri Sanatan Mandir, Indian Community Center, 16 Jean Terrace, Parsippany-Troy Hills, NJ 07054, or the Share and Care Foundation, 350 W Passaic St, 2nd floor, Rochelle Park, NJ 07662.


Memorial Visitation at Funeral Home

4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Monday, December 18, 2023
Higgins Home for Funerals
752 Mountain Blvd.
Watchung, New Jersey, United States

Private for family and close friends

10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Tuesday, December 19, 2023
Somerset Hills Memorial Park
95 Mount Airy Road
Basking Ridge, New Jersey, United States
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