Jaykumar (Jay) V. Dehejia passed away peacefully on the evening of Thursday May 27, 2021 at his home in Manhattan. Jay was endowed with the lovable trait of always seeing the proverbial “glass” as half-full, and never as half-empty. He exuded an easy warmth and had a welcoming smile. His twinkling eyes had the ability to light up a room. Jay made friends effortlessly, loved telling stories, and made strangers feel at ease and grow to love his company. All who had the fortune of knowing him will deeply miss his warm personality.
He is survived by a large, loving family including:
(i) his wife, Dr. Vidya Dehejia;
(ii) his two brothers, Makarand Dehejia (Ursula) and Harsha Dehejia (Sudha);
(iii) his two sons, Aditya Dehejia (Linda Ryan) and Nikhil Dehejia; and,
(iv) his four grandchildren, Kesin Ryan Dehejia, Kamal Ryan Dehejia, Maya Haas Dehejia and Tobin Haas Dehejia.
Jay was born on April 9, 1942 in New Delhi, India and spent his school years in Bombay, India. He matriculated from St. John’s College, Cambridge University, England where he graduated in 1963 with an M.A. in Electrical Engineering. He then received a Masters in Industrial Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley in 1964. Jay met Vidya, the love of his life, at Cambridge in 1961. They were married in Ahmedabad, Gujarat in December 1964.
Jay’s career included stints living in many different countries - the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Hong Kong, India and Belgium. He adapted easily to new circumstances, making lifelong friends and loving each city where he was posted. His employer was ITT - a major conglomerate whose divisions included Sheraton Hotels, Avis Rent-a-Car, Hostess baked goods, Sarah Lee products, Hartford Insurance and defence equipment. His ITT career culminated with three years (1984-87) as the Chief Operating Officer of ITT’s Asia-Pacific region that included 17 countries. He then went on to be part of Callahan Associates International, a fund investing in broadband and wireless, and helped them become one of the largest voice-video-data operators in Europe.
India, the country of his birth, was always special to him. Jay worked tirelessly to introduce a new telecommunications bill that enabled cell-phones to enter, and become commonplace in India. He successfully signed the first hotel management joint venture in India between Sheraton Hotels and the ITC group. In more recent years, he wrote a column entitled “Letter from America” for Business Goa, a newspaper in his adopted home-town in India.
Jay was a mentor to many young professionals including several of Vidya’s PhD students. He enjoyed teaching and encouraging younger people. In 2006, he received the “Best Faculty of the Year” award from the Parsons School of Design for his course entitled Business Strategy in Asia.
In lieu of gifts or flowers, the family encourages anyone wishing to honor Jay to donate in his name to either of these two charitable institutions that were near and dear to him - the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and the ASPCA.