Ram Chugh

Obituary of Ram L. Chugh

Ram L. Chugh passed away on October 2, 2020 at age 85, in the presence of his loved ones. He was born in India in 1935 to Ishwar Das and Hari Bai Chugh, one of nine children. He came to the United States in 1966 with his beloved wife, Seema. Ram served in the Indian Air Force from 1951 to 1963 and earned a master’s degree in economics from Panjab University in 1962. Though unable to attend classes at the university because of his air force service, he studied assiduously during his free time, and his final-exam scores placed him at the top of the university. That achievement eventually led to an honorable discharge from the air force through the intervention of the Panjab University vice chancellor, a first in the service’s history. Ram joined Panjab University in 1963 as a Ford Foundation Research Scholar to pursue his doctorate in economics. Later, he taught at Kurukshetra University from 1964 to 1966. After emigrating from India, he completed his doctorate in 1970 at Wayne State University in Michigan. Ram joined the State University of New York College at Potsdam in 1970 as an assistant professor and became a full tenured professor in 1978. He also served as executive assistant to several campus presidents and later as presidential assistant for public service and director of the college’s Rural Services Institute. In 1976, Ram was recognized with the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching. He was very active in various facets of the university operations including the faculty governance through his 20 years of service on the college’s Faculty Assembly and 22 years on the State University Faculty Senate. Ram, who believed in using one’s knowledge and expertise to help solve societal challenges, utilized his training in economics to serve the North Country by helping create numerous partnerships, cooperative ventures and grant-funded projects to improve the area’s economy. He served on several boards, wrote extensively on development issues and received numerous honors and awards for his many years of dedicated service. In 1991, he was named a Distinguished Service Professor, SUNY’s highest honor, in recognition of his long service to the State and the University, Upon his retirement in 2002, Ram moved with Seema to Albany to be closer to their daughter, Pooja, who lived in New York City at the time. Ram later worked at SUNY System Administration in Albany, where he volunteered on several projects and later initiated and then headed the SUNY Retiree Services Corps for several years. In 2018, Ram left the SUNY educational system, but he continued to remain involved in retiree-oriented projects, including serving on the board of directors of the Association of Retirement Organizations in Higher Education (AROHE) and the board of the University at Albany’s Emeritus, and SUNY survey on adjustment to retirement. In his book The Power of SUNY Retirees (2018), he highlighted how retirees are a valuable asset for their communities but remain largely underutilized. He advocated creating a retiree-campus-community partnership at every SUNY campus to harness the power of SUNY retirees for the greater public good As a member of the Albany Hindu Temple, he was instrumental in reforming its election process, revising its constitution, developing the governance policies for its cultural center, and compiling the Bereavement Support Guide. Ram's 12-year stint in the Indian Air Force and his immigration to America are chronicled in his memoir, Against All Odds. His second book, Living to Learn and Learning to Live, describes his life in the United States. Ram’s hobbies included gardening, music, reading, traveling, and socializing with family and friends. But he enjoyed helping others the most. He felt blessed and grateful for the opportunity to give back to his university and the community. Ram loved his family and was deeply devoted to Seema, whom he married in 1966. He enjoyed frequent visits from his daughter and her children. Survivors include his wife, Seema; daughter, Pooja Clayton; son-in-law, Jemal Clayton; five grandchildren, Mosi, Jai, Tyee, Kush and Eloh; a brother, Om Arora; two sisters, Gian Dhingra and Anita Aghi; several nephews and nieces; and a circle of dear friends. Relatives and friends are invited to Hindu Funeral Services which will be held on Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at the Gordon C. Emerick Funeral Home, 1550 RT-9, Clifton Park, NY 12065 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Facial covering and social distancing must be adhered to both inside and outside of the funeral home where there are capacity limitations. Hand sanitizer will be available at the funeral home. Private cremation will follow at the Gardner Earl Crematory in Troy. Please Add Condolences or Share a Memory by using the tabs on this website.
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10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Tuesday, October 6, 2020
Gordon C. Emerick ​Funeral Home
1550 Route Nine
Clifton, New York, United States
(518) 371-5454


Gardner Earl Memorial Chapel & Crematorium
186 Oakwood Avenue
Troy, New York, United States
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