Jeff Hall – Amherst Friend

The Sameer Smile was unforgettable on the Amherst College campus 1982 – 1986 – a bright, uplifting, geniune expression that would stick with you for a long time.

One day I was picking up mail after a rough morning calculus class, and there was The Smile to remind me that the day would get better. Another frantic day I’d endured some stressful final exams, and as I entered Valentine Dining Hall for lunch, The Smile reminded me that life is good.

Sameer was a warm, engaging, intelligent friend, and I feel so fortunate to have known him. He was blessed, in turn, by a wonderful and loving family that caused him to smile so easily and brightly. The Sameer Smile was “Terras Irradient” in action – Sameer shining his light, happiness and comfort, on those around him, on his world. The Sameer Smile and his spirit will live on with the Class of 1986, and will continue to brighten our lives and our reunions forever.

Mike Kaufman & Ken Levin, Amherst ’86

Sameer and I met Freshman year at Amherst, and was my roommate at Amherst for 3 years, sophomore through senior year, and in New York for a year after college. We also traveled a great deal together. We most recently saw each other in Chicago in January and at our 25th Amherst reunion in June 2011.

What you remember and appreciated most about Sameer

I am pasting below the In Memory tribute that Ken Levin and I wrote about Sameer for Amherst College, November 2011. Ken is a friend and classmate and was a roommate of Sameer’s and mine in New York.

Thoughts about Sameer. 

Sameer N. Shah, beloved friend and classmate, left us in a tragic accident shortly after our 25th reunion. It is a struggle to find words to properly convey the size of his life and spirit. Sameer’s wit, warmth and originality were contagious. His intelligence made tremendous success at Amherst, in his MBA program at Stanford and in his strategic and financial consulting career, appear easy. In recent years he reached new levels of happiness with his wonderful family.

We instantly recognized in Sameer broad intelligence and vigorous intellectual curiosity. It was visible in his classes, conversation and astute perceptions of the world. Many of us envied Sameer’s ability to set the curve in his economics classes after only a single night of study at the end of a semester. Sameer’s education at Amherst extended his breadth as well as an already deep and proficient expertise in business and economics. He went on to McKinsey & Co., and eventually became an expert among experts, advising Wall Street firms on investment strategy.

Beyond his obvious intellectual gifts, Sameer glowed in the presence of people. Wearing his signature khakis, a tailored button-down shirt and loafers, he lingered in conversation at Valentine meals, parties and the office of the Amherst Student. He drew people into his playful orbit by smiling, laughing, joking, dissecting the world and exposing irony everywhere. Sameer was a genuine friend, thoughtful, encouraging and steadfast.

Sameer discovered a new depth of contentment in his marriage to Surekha and in parenting their children, Sanjana and Arjun. Even when Sameer was apart from his children, he radiated an unmistakable paternal glow. Sameer always cherished the familial love and connection he shared with his parents, Naren and Neena, and his brother, Shalin. He was bringing these same gifts into his own family.

Sameer had an irrepressible love of Amherst, his friends and acquaintances, and the ideals and experiences we shared with him. In a conversation after our 25th reunion, he repeated how lucky he felt to have had this privilege. We will always remember Sameer as the brilliant, fun-loving, and gregarious rebel, the caring and devoted friend and classmate, the tender and devoted husband and father. He was an exuberant spirit that made our lives brighter. The privilege these past 29 years was ours.

-Mike Kaufman, Amherst ’86

-Ken Levin, Amherst ’86

Jack Fuchs Remarks

When I think of Sameer, I recall unbounded thoughtfulness, humor, and comfort.

Sameer was thoughtful about people in his life, actions that he took, and topics of conversation.  He cared deeply about us, staying in touch well – even as our lives got more and more complicated.  He was thoughtful about almost every subject.  Start a conversation with Sameer, and you would always get a response based on a depth of consideration.  He had strong opinions about economics, markets, business, education, religion – almost any weighty topic.  Unlike most people, Sameer freely shared his opinions with anyone who would listen (and many who didn’t ask).  With Sameer, though, you could discuss and debate these topics, regardless of whether your beliefs and his were similar.  Sameer always considered your opinion, occasionally even allowing it to have an impact on his position.

Of course, Sameer had thoughtful, deeply held opinions about topics that deserved MUCH less thought.  He was the first to teach me the terms boondoggle, OAG, and GUE.  He taught me how to get the best upgrades to business class, maximize frequent flier miles, and optimize travel time.  His thoughtfulness about the airline industry knew no bounds.  He once evaluated the route maps of major US airlines and determined that Continental should open a hub in Cleveland.  1 year later, they did.

To my children, Sameer was extremely thoughtful.  He stayed with us often on trips to the area, and they had a deep relationship with him.  He even went on a date with our 6-year-old daughter, Ellie, bringing her to an event at our 15th reunion.

Most notably, my children had an awesome comedy routine regarding Sameer.  Many of us know that Sameer was the slowest eater in recorded history.  Given our household rule that no one can leave the table until everyone is done eating, my children felt tormented by Sameer.  They would mimic his ritualistic process of cutting a small piece of meat, placing his silverware down, methodically picking up the fork with the opposite hand.  Placing the food in his mouth, chewing at least 50 times, placing the silverware down, picking up his napkin, wiping both corners of his mouth, placing the napkin back, talking incessantly about some arcane topic for 5 minutes, then starting the process up again for the next bite.  We are all thankful that Sameer didn’t believe in desert, or dinner would never have ended.

Sameer’s sense of humor was so wonderful, that he delighted in my children’s mimicry.  He had that infectious laugh, one of the most notable of any I have known in my life.  Audible laughter is all too rare, and it is so important.  Almost all of my fondest memories of Sameer include laughter, seemingly endless laughter.

Some of you may recall a most notable aspect of our first year business school show.  We decided not to make fun of anybody in the show – not the teachers, not any single person in the GSB community, not Cristina Einstein.  Well, if you convert that old video tape to DVD, you’ll realize that there is exactly 1 person who got zinged in the show – Sameer Shah.  He was so comfortable with himself as a person that he greeted the remark with nothing more than his infectious laugh.  Sameer met every challenge in life with that comfort.  When he walked in the room, his affectation said, “I am who I am; you are welcome to come along for the ride, if you like.”  Sameer, we are all honored to have been along for the ride.

Lance Lazar

When I met Sameer: September 1979

Where Sameer and I spent time:
Satellite High School, in Brain Bowl, with the Latin Club under Helene Kansas, in various classes; after college graduation, as young analysts in New York and elsewhere.

Extended thoughts about Sameer. 
For the Children, Sanjana and Arjun, of Sameer Shah,

Fate has determined that you will not know your father well from firsthand, but all of us who have been graced with knowing Sameer, hope that you may gain solace in the sure knowledge that he was a fine human being, with an expansive spirit, who touched the lives of many in the most positive ways.

Sameer loved life, and savored it in his allotted time, more than most who are granted many more years. He combined a brilliant and agile mind with a genuine warmth for his fellow man, and an openness to many ways of looking at the world. He carried with him an insatiable curiosity, and a razor-sharp wit, that never allowed him to pass over his experiences or broader world events without commentary, and usually, keen insight.

Even in any area that was very different from his own specialized expertise, Sameer could usually capture the essential elements and provide high quality analysis of a problem, almost on the fly. But his skills of analysis and persuasion were most on display when there were many differing opinions. Sameer could disagree with you and with good humor, expose the error of your own opinions, and bring you around to accepting an alternative, better than anyone I have known. He could take everything both seriously and lightly, so if there had been consensus, Sameer could expose the underlying contradictions, and if there had been discord, Sameer could find equanimity in a way that you did not even feel bad to be giving in to his position. Or if on rare occasions a flaw in his own reasoning were shown, then he was quick and unhesitant to acknowledge that, and to adopt a new point of view.

Sameer was perhaps the most unprejudiced and tolerant person I have ever met. He reveled in differing points of view, and so it was not in him to be dogmatic. That is one reason that he was a great person with which to share a visit to Jerusalem. He was equally at home by the Western Wall, in the Holy Sepulchre, or at the Dome of the Rock. He was not judgmental in his approach and had ample reserves of empathy.

Sameer took time to appreciate each moment. Not only did he have a broad palate of likes and enjoyments, he helped those around him appreciate whatever they were sharing. I recall an occasion when he was an analyst doing a consulting project in Spain, and even though he was not really a skier, he met me half way at the ski resort of Grau Roig in Andorra (I was coming from France). Even though he had to work through the visit, we enjoyed the evenings sharing tasting menus of Catalan cuisine, with bold red wine, cognac, and cigars so as to squeeze every potential out of the occasion, and to wash down the laughter that always accompanied time with Sameer.

Sameer was spontaneous. While never in a hurry, he could change plans and objectives in a minute, if a new and better alternative were proposed, or if circumstances dictated a change. And he would bring an equal enthusiasm to carry out the new plan to its conclusion. That made Sameer a great travel companion, because he was always ready to adjust to whatever might come along, and enjoy it just as much, as happened once on an ill-fated trip to Ascoli Piceno (a great undiscovered Renaissance hill town) that had to detour to L’Aquila. With Sameer’s base-line level of satisfaction, we all just took advantage of the treasures of L’Aquila before returning to Rome.

Sameer was rich in friendships. Not only did he make new friends easily, but he took great pleasure in sustaining old friends. Sameer cultivated his relationships. At times, it seemed that he kept a giant GPS in his head with knowledge of the location of all his friends, and if his business brought him near, he would reach out to those friends in whatever locale. I regret that I let the last few years slip by without maintaining contact with Sameer, but then this summer reconnected with him on Facebook. Then, just a week before he passed away, Sameer reached out with a phone call out of the blue to share some laughter and rekindle the bond. The intervening years washed away as I heard the same rapier sharp wit and high-pitched laugh over the phone lines, as the conversation bounced from topic to topic. I recognize that phone call now as a gift that stemmed from how Sameer treated relationships: he never let time or distance stand in the way, and took the time to connect and to sustain his friendships.

Sameer loved family. Even as most of his friends gradually found spouses and had children, while Sameer took a bit longer to partake of those gifts, it was always clear to Sameer and his friends that he would have a family. In the meanwhile, those of us who started sooner gained the benefit of the warm attention Sameer showered on our children. Sameer was always comfortable with children, and children responded naturally to his warmth and kindness.

Sameer was a great friend, and I miss him dearly. I am a better person because of crossing Sameer’s path. I treasure his easy generosity of spirit, his open-hearted disposition, and his equanimity. While I have never met you children or your mother Surekha, I hope that a part of Sameer’s legacy for you will be the sure knowledge of the profound impression he left on so many others.

Sameer was a great man, and I cherish his memory.

With heartfelt condolences,
–Lance Lazar

Greg Van De Mosselaer

When I met Sameer: 06/01/2001

Where Sameer and I spent time:
We would meet periodically in Florida when we would visit his brother and sister in law and their family.

What you remember and appreciated most about Sameer
His sense of humor and keen intellect coupled with a boyish charm that made him instantly likable and engaging.

Extended thoughts about Sameer.

Sameer was full of surprises.

We are from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. We were surprised to learn on our first meeting with Sameer that it was our home town that made him the most eager to meet us. It seems that as a child in sunny Florida he used to dream and scheme of one day running an air transportation multinational company. After extensive research and planning he had settled on Winnipeg as the hub and set to work acquiring and encyclopedic knowledge of the city. Being from a smaller town and knowing from Tuya what a kidder he could be we were naturally suspicious that he was pulling our leg until he settled down and laid out everything he knew (and we did not) about Winnipeg.

He seized on Tuya and Shalin’s first trip together to Winnipeg to tag along. Once in town he set to work making pilgrimages to all of the notable landmarks and locations that he had read about in his youth. He engaged eagerly in a local multicultural festival called Folklorama and would grin broadly at some of the more campy performances along side his brother and sister-in-law. He had an ability to enjoy life and a lightness of being that was very evident.

Another coincidence that gave me personally a great deal to discuss with Sameer was our shared interest in the writer, George Orwell. We both had despite not being involved in any literary field possessed great interest in his writings and had both read his complete works. Sure many people heard or read of Animal Farm or 1984 but to sit down with someone who like me could discuss Orwell’s less well known but equally significant works in detail was a real treat. If you want to get inside Sameer’s head I suggest reading Burmese Days or Coming Up For Air. Orwell’s razor sharp insight into how the world is and melancholy for how life could be obviously struck a chord with Sameer.

I have since our time together always tried to catch glimpses of him as life and family floated us around. Everybody gets busy with their own things. That is the way life is. I will miss him but I am glad to have known such an authentic person. I wish we had all had more time to enjoy his company and good humour.

Lee Kempler

When I met Sameer: Feb 1986

Where Sameer and I spent time: McKinsey

What you remember and appreciated most about Sameer: His unwavering sense of right and wrong

Extended thoughts about Sameer. 

The news of Sameer’s passing shocked me into silence. For three weeks, I have thought about him, his life, our experiences together, and the ways our lives came together, moved apart, and occasionally came together again. Twenty five years later, I work in the very same office building where Sameer and I initially worked together. And I have been at a loss for words to explain what Sameer meant to me or how to come to grips with his passing. Today, through a completely random e-mail, I saw the following quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children… to leave the world a better place… to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

This struck me as a pretty good description of our friend Sameer. A success, indeed.

Supriya Desai

Manan and I recently exchanged a note about our wonderful memories of ‘running away’ to NYC with Sameer and my best friend, Julie, so many years ago. That memory never fails to make me smile but thinking of it after Sameer’s death helped me remember that it was he who encouraged our rebellion! And now I’m laughing with the memory of this person who so subtly shook things up that it took me 25 years or more to realize it!!! Now that’s a life well lived that he’s given me a whole new source of joy even though he’s not on this earth anymore.

I hope you’re both finding yourselves able to cope and find solace in ways that mean something to you. There is a poem by Sufi mystic Rumi that says we must just let all the emotions that visit us come and stay as long as they will, not to resist, not to feel you should feel any different than you do. I believe it with all my heart and his wisdom has helped me through some profound losses in my life. I will send the poem shortly to your house in Florida.

William Guzak

When I met Sameer:  Early 1970s

Where Sameer and I spent time:  Ocean Breeze Elementary, Hoover Junior High School, and Satellite High School

What you remember and appreciated most about Sameer
He was a good friend throughout our primary education. He smiled alot even back then, especially when he was winning.

Extended thoughts about Sameer. 
Sameer and I competed on grades all through our primary education. As seen on my handwritten 5th grade rankings, he always came out on top. The winner in Mr. Deith’s 5th grade class got to ride a small pedal car that Mr. Deith built around the school track. I remember Sameer smiling the whole way around the track. If I remember correctly the rest of us in the top 5 just got to sit in it. I remember that science project (picture in the photo gallery) that he did at Hoover. Everyone knew that Sameer would win. I remember the candy business that Josh Litwin mentioned in his remarks. Sameer and William Fitzgerald were partners in that endeavor. I believe they called their business Shah-Fitz Enterprises. You notice that Shah is mentioned first. It was a booming business that made alot of money that had to be shut down by the administration due to its popularity. In fourth grade I remember Sameer and I grading papers for Mrs. Knoll. We even competed doing that by seeing who could grade the most papers the fastest. Sameer came up with a war game in elementary school that we played on a piece of paper. First you would create a map with land and sea areas. Then you would place your artillery, tanks, and ships on the map one turn at a time. You would take shots by placing the tip of your pencil on where you were firing from and flicked the pencil back to fire. If the resulting pencil lead trace hit the enemies object then it would be destroyed or partially destroyed. This would lead to many debates as to whether your object was hit and how bad. Sameer won most of those debates. I do not remember beating him once. I came close one time but he prevailed again and smiled. Teachers would have to tell us to put the game away all the time.

I regret very much not keeping in touch with Sameer after high school. Sameer was one of a kind and I realize now that you should keep people like Sameer a part of your life. Sameer and I did start to reconnect last year when he joined facebook. I was looking forward to seeing him again.

Dilip Karia and Family friends

Dear narenbhai, neenaben and family,

Frankly, i dont know how to start and what to write.

I can understand (and dread) the pain and agony of helplessness you all are going
through. We have gone through similar circumstances when Parag and me lost our father,
very suddenly, back in1985. It was very hard for us to believe and accept, and for a
long time, we always felt that he had gone out of town and would return soon.
Nothing i say may help you feel better or lighter at the moment, but what people told us at
that time was (although not at all fair) that maybe GOD needed him more than us. Every
now and then ,they say, GOD needs good souls for himself and he selects them from
amongst us, maybe because he has something special planned for them. something
better something supreme which us mortals cannot comprehend.
ગુજરાતી માં આપડે કહીએ કે ” એ પાવન જીવ ને પ્રભુ એ સંસાર ના સુખ દુખ થી મુક્ત કરી મોક્ષ ની
પ્રાપ્તિ કરાવી . એમની પાસે બોલાવી ને એમના માં લીન કર્યો

and that is why we were advised to let him go for GOD had better plans for him

But how can we let him go.  Sameer is always going to be there with you, in your heart,
in your soul as a part of you and you will always treasure and cherish the time he has
spent with you and that, mind you, NO ONE NOT EVEN GOD CAN TAKE IT AWAY

When my father expired, my grand father was still there and looking at my mom and us
so young, he stood there firm as a rock inspite of the unbearable weight of losing his son
so early in life, when he himself was still alive,,,  we pray Lord Almighty to give you both,
the strength and courage, as HE gave him, to withstand this irreparable loss and be there
as a rock solid support, for surekha, the kids and shalin and his family, to lean upon
during this terrible ordeal.

Please convey our heartfelt condolences to surekha, shalin & his wife and love to the kids.

We, (mummy, myself-binita-kinnari, parag-avani-kanav) pray lord Almighty to rest his soul

in peace. jai jinendra, jaishri krishna


Pankaj And Kalpana Desai Lady Lake Fl

Our Dear Narenbhai and Ninaben,


Kalpana and I were very saddened to hear your beloved Sameer’s death.

I never had an occassion to meet him but the wonderful things we heard from Asvinbhai, Arunabhabhi and all, and What a great son you raised I can only surmise.

It is said when your spouse dies, you lose your present and future; and when your child dies, you lose your Past, Present and future. Those words of wisdom!!!

Now that Sameer is gone , all future special occasions will be forever changed. Visiting NYand NJ and on the phone and not having to talk with “Sameer”, not seeing his ever handsome, smiling face can not be imagined. The sharing of life’s unique and special events will never again take place. No matter how good a relationship may have been, the survivor often believes it should have been better, causing guilt.

Despite the physical distance that may separate us as adults, this bond of blood and friendship provided protection of Son. And certainly we can make it better by thinking about them; talk about them; remember them at special times such as birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries.

So often as adults, our relationship has changed from younger years. Each travels a separate path, and sometimes communication is lacking and or absent, with ambivalent feelings about maintaining the relationship surface. Even One’s own mortality is often questioned in the aftermath of such loss. So It is also natural for the surviving Parents to look at their own lives and question how many years they have left, and what their deaths would do to the family.

But let us make a resolve to stay in touch regularly, so we will find positive changes, frequent positive communication within our own lives. Let us celebrate Sameer’s life and wonderful memories then get down with the grief as he did not suffer too much and lived a wonderful, glorious albeit short life.

So please accept our sincere condolences in your bereavement and may god grant you the strength to bear this loss.

With Pranams and Warmest regards to Surekha,Shailin and familyl and hugs to you all.

Pankaj, Kalpana, Raj, Rishi and Rupal.

Mahen and Sheela

Sheela & I, saw Sameer  for the first time in 1965 in Virginia, when his parents paid us, a short visit. We had no children then & so this was our first exposure to a baby in the house.

Tiny as he was, he nevertheless left an indelible impression on us, being so full of life, uncontrollably demanding, making his parents tend to him 24 x 7.

Honestly, we got so petrified & wondered if we had the abilities to handle such a baby of our own. Resultant effect we postponed our parenthood by a few years

Thereafter, we have seen him grow.  We met him practically every year, during the visits to India & when on a few occasions we stayed with them in Bangalore and Florida.

During the first visit to their home in Florida, Sameer was at the Tampa Airport to receive us.  He was so proud of the way Tampa airport was laid out – he told so many details with so much passion.

During the various interactions with him, my children found him to be a very likable person.

Intellectual discussions with him were very stimulating. He always listened to and respected the counter views & smilingly, laughingly. But accepted those if he was so sold.

He always had something new to tell us about Mumbai and Life in Mumbai that too in a novel way.  Many times he came up with observations which in hindsight  made us wonder as to why we had not seen it that way.

In subsequent years, I always looked forward to catching up with him whenever my travels took me to wherever he was.

I got one such opportunity when he was in Madrid, Spain.  We had a wonderful afternoon together – here was Sameer a grown up young man, working with McKinsey Consultants – first time discussing the politics, the world around him, his work,  etc with me  whilst giving me a low down on which wine could go with which cuisine etc.

I was so impressed with the interaction that I immediately wrote to Naren,  letting him know how happy I felt meeting him & how well Neena & NC (Naren) had reared him into  becoming such a fine young man.

After many years, I met him again in Florida, post his chucking the job with McKinsey Consultants.  He wanted time out to think through his next options in life.  He was so so relaxed whilst thinking that  I could not but help  letting NC know that this characteristic  was so very different from that of NC.

I had many other interactions with Sameer thereafter as well & what impressed me most was his personality.

He knew what he wanted in & from life.  Even when deciding to choose his life partner, despite requests, persuation, goading his parents time over no. he waited & waited till he met  his dreamgirl in Surekha.

In my minds eye, I will always remember him as  very clever, very clearheaded, Jovial, accommodative, helping person.

May God rest his soul in Peace


Natalie Ellis & Bipin Manuel

When we met Sameer: 10/25/2005

We were introduced to Sameer and Surekha by a mutual friend when they moved into our building (in NYC). We had an enjoyable first evening together in late 2005. But it wasn’t until we ran into each other in a neighborhood café a few months later, when we realized we were both expecting our first children within a few days of one another, that we really started getting to know each other and became friends.

What you remember and appreciated most about Sameer

We remember and appreciate our shared family times with Sameer, Surekha, and the kids. Sameer was always fun to be with, a great storyteller, political and economic debater, and clearly dedicated to and enamored with his family life.

We remember distinctly November 2006, when Sanjana and Laila were born, just a few days apart. As it turned out, Laila showed up first, so Sameer and Surekha came to visit soon after we came home from the hospital. Sameer had such an excited look of anticipation that their little girl would soon be making her own entrance to the world, asking a million questions. He simply couldn’t wait to meet her. The photo of the new fathers and babies was taken a week or so later — two proud Dads holding their first born little girls with a mix of wonder, disbelief and glee. The look on Sameer’s face tells it all.

Click to see larger version

Over the years, we enjoyed family get-togethers, and shared bonding over early baby and toddler rearing. In the baby days, Sameer told us about reading to Sanjana in her crib – not the typical baby books but rather Moby Dick, or epic history works. While he was certainly deliberate about exposing his kids to more sophisticated art and literature at an early age, he never took himself too seriously, always laughing as he shared the story.

Extended thoughts about Sameer. Please write as much as you like.

At every birthday party and outing Sameer always looked at his kids with the same beaming smile and happiness. It was a wonderful thing to see and be a part of. We will miss Sameer’s presence very much, and send our warmest condolences to his family. We are thankful that his warmth, smarts, and wit will continue to shine through Sanjana and Arjun for many years to come.

Tom Novak, Sr.

When I met Sameer:  01/15/1974

Where Sameer and I spent time:  Indian Harbour Beach–I was his Little League Coach on the Lions team

What you remember and appreciated most about Sameer

Attitude! Sameer was one of the most well behaved and enjoyable boys on my team, as he always “gave his all” with enthusiasm, without complaining, even though there were many times it was hot, it was “buggy”, and it was raining. He never got discouraged when he went into a slump, and he was humble when he was on a hitting run.

Extended thoughts about Sameer. Please write as much as you like.

Sameer and Shalin were great kids on my Indian Harbour Beach Lions team. They showed up for every practice, played any and all positions they were asked to play, and were an integral part of our championship season. Their skills improved tremendously over the season, because they were willing to do things over and over until they got it right! They were great companions to the rest of the team, as they were two boys that everyone liked.

Bob Kemerait – Childhood friend

When I met Sameer:     1973

Where Sameer and I spent time:  
Indian Harbour Beach Little League, Cub Scout Pack 386, Boy Scout Troop 376, Throughout School

What you remember and appreciated most about Sameer

I have not talked to Sameer, Shalin, or Mr. and Mrs. Shah for nearly 30 years; however Sameer and the Shah family will always be a part of that most wonderful time in our lives when we are young, innocent, and hopeful for the future. Like cousins not seen in many years, I have never had any doubt that I could call or visit Sameer, Shalin, and the Shah family and be welcomed with warmth and hospitality. I ask myself now, under such tragic circumstances, why I waited for a such a visit.

Extended thoughts about Sameer. Please write as much as you like.

For the children of Sameer, I can tell you that I knew your father as a boy and as a young man. I wish I could tell you all about him and just how proud you can be of him.

Your father and Shalin were a constant part of my childhood. We all played baseball together in Indian Harbour Beach, we went to Ocean Breeze Elementary School together, and most importantly, we were in the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts together. In fact, your grandfather was one of our leaders in the Cub Scouts. You have a wonderful family, as I am sure you know.

My own father is a man of very few words, and of even fewer compliments, He rarely shares his thoughts. However, one of the earliest compliments I ever heard him pay was to your father and your uncle. At the time, Sameer (known to me then as “Sam”) and Shalin (known to me as “Charlie”) and I were playing in the lowest “farm” league of the baseball program. I wasn’t much good at it and complained bitterly about it fairly regularly that I was ready to give it up. One day my father said to me quietly, “Bobby, do you know who I admire?” “No Daddy, who?” “Bobby, I really admire those Shah boys. Do you know why?” “Nope, I don’t Daddy.” “Bobby, because they get out there on the baseball field at every practice and every game and give it their all. I admire them.” That has been over 35 years ago and I still cannot forget my father’s admiration for your father and your uncle; he has few compliments for anyone.  They did try very hard; while none of us went on to stellar baseball careers, I believe the three of us learned much in those early years.

I remember being in the scouts with your father. When I first moved, at 11 years of age, to the Boy Scouts from the Cub Scouts, your father was already there. I was put in the lowly “Panther Patrol”, I believe your father was in the elite “Raven Patrol” with guys like Neil Kent, Mike Hock, Steve Brunton and later Josh Litwin. Our Panther patrol was straight out of the movie “The Bad News Bears,” your father and his crowd were unbeatable in scout craft and winners at everything they did. Was I jealous? You bet I was as I am sure my patrol buddies Mike Moulder and Mike Clanton were too! But your father always had a kind word for me and was a friend to me. I remember especially that he helped me get my coin collecting badge and I bought my then most precious coin, an uncirculated Roosevelt silver dime from him. I could go on and on about what a special person your father was, but I will stop here.

Let me just conclude that despite the years since I last saw your father, your uncle, your grandfather, or your grandmother, I remember them with the utmost respect and appreciation. Your father was brilliant, everyone knows that, but more importantly, he was a friend, he was good humored (I never saw him angry but always smiling and joking with a razor wit) and he was faithful to his friends. I regret so much that I did not see him recently, I regret more that it is now too late. But I am blessed most with the memories that I have of my time with him and the Shah family during that most special and formative time in our lives- our childhood. I wish both of you the greatest of success and happiness in life. I know that your father is so proud of you.

To the Shah family, I am so very sorry for your loss.

– Bobby Kemerait

Abbas Sitabkhan

When I met Sameer

When he was born

What you remember and appreciated most about Sameer

We have known Sameer since his birth in Cleveland.

Our fondest memories of him are when his parents left him with us when they went on vacation and he was less than a year old. He was like a son to us. Our children grew up together till the Shah family moved to Florida. Our last meeting was in Thanksgiving of 2010 at a friend’s house. We were never to see him again.

He was always respectful and courteous. We have never seen him angry. His many memories will be with us forever.

May God give comfort to his family.

Close friends of Naren and Neena
Abbas & Latifa Sitabkhan

Edwina Litwin Hoffman, Family Friend

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Shah and members of the Shah family,

The loss of a beloved son is such a searing, wrenching experience that it leaves one
wondering as to the justice in God’s order. Comfort is gleaned from
the waves of love emanating from those who cared for Sameer. It is
clear from the messages pouring in from around the world that Sameer
sowed great love wherever he went. There are no words to ameliorate
your pain. An extraordinary son, father and human being has left us,
but the love he shared with all of us will always be remembered. I am
grateful to Sameer and the Shah family for the friendship and kindness
shared with Josh and the Litwin family. Know that we are with you in
your pain.

My condolences,
Edwina Litwin Hoffman

Glenn Wilcox, family friends

When I met Sameer:    07/15/1975

Where Sameer and I spent time:

In the mid 1970’s, Sameer’s family and our family shared many happy times in Melbourne, Florida, where his father and I worked together. Picnics, pool parties, etc. brought many Harris families together and formed bonds that last to this day.

What you remember and appreciated most about Sameer

In 1980, Sameer, his parents and brother came to California, where the eight of us set out on a two family adventure in a single passenger van with no air conditioning. We toured the highlights of Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and California. Sameer most often rode shotgun, and was the “navigator” of the trip. He became especially enamored of the Moqui Caves, and insisted that we include them on our itinerary. Sameer also got a big kick out of my playing tricks on a drive-in restaurant, driving through over and over again.

From Glen Wilcox

Extended thoughts about Sameer. Please write as much as you like.

Sameer was a prince. He was bright and funny and got along famously with everyone on our Cowboys & Indians Tour. Fortunately I was able to see Sameer last year, 2010, after many years apart. Seeing him brought back all those wonderful memories of the times our families spent together. Both of our daughters were devastated by the news of his demise. Lisa began storming heaven with prayers, and Leslie said she had no words, only tears, for the family. We were blessed to have known Sameer and his family. We know all of his good qualities will be reflected in his children, and we want them to know he was loved by us.

Glen, Sally, Lisa, and Leslie Wilcox

Oak Park, California

Jack Fuchs, McKinsey & Co. NYC


It is a tragic circumstance that leads to my hearing from you after all these years.  Sameer was awesome with my kids, both of whom have hugely fond feelings for him.  I still remember my 11-year-old talking about her “dates with Sameer” when she was 5-7.  She and he sent notes to each other, and had quite a “relationship.”

Warm regards,