Madhavi, Purvi and Nimisha – Cousin Sisters of Sameer

Dear Sanjana and Arjun,

Sameer means “ a wave of cool air”. To us three sisters, he was our cool, super intelligent cousin who used to breeze by during the summer holidays of the 1970s….so we would like to take you down the memory lane of the young Sameer.

The most distinct memory we have of him, starting with playing board games like Clue, Monopoly, Life, Millie Bornes, which we even play today with our kids. He would always win but eventually taught us the tricks of winning. We used build car tracks in the hall of our grandparents’ house and race with the Hot Wheels cars. He introduced us to different kinds of food, candies, Archie comics, Highlights magazine, and the whole American culture.

Your dad was also mischievous as he taught us to clog the drain of our small bathrooms in India with clothes and fill it up with water to make a swimming pool inside the bathroom. As if that were not enough, he made us put baby powder on the tiled floor and turned into a sliding/skating rink. Of course we got into trouble and he always got away as he was a ‘guest.’ As we got a scolding from our parents, he would stand calmly and chuckle away.

Your dad loved to tease everyone, ask your Uncle Shalin about that, but at the same time he was never offended when we teased him right back. We have never seen Sameer angry, mad, or upset. His cool demeanor matched his name. To him there was always another train, another show, another flight. The best part about him is that he could laugh at himself.

In the 1980’s his visits to India with friends were very interesting as he could adapt to any situation. When you see him he would be this buttoned up shirt guy who could only live in places with comfort, and then next thing you hear that he is traveling on a local crowded bus to some place. His love of travel was legendary.

In the 1990’s, we all got married and moved to the US. Sameer became Sameermama to our children. He became the uncle who always got them books and was never without a book. His favorite book being Charlotte’s Web (which, by the way, he gave two copies to each of our kids) and The Great Big Atlas. Our children cherish these books and memories shared with their dear Sameermama.

Today we remember him through these memories that we have of him. There are many funny anecdotes that have occurred through the years. But the best way to remember him is to read, study hard, travel, and think of visiting places which are not ventured by all. He was proud of his education, his family, and lastly, but most importantly, you, his children.

We hope you have gained some insight on your dad through our eyes. We remember him fondly, with a twinkle in our eyes which are shimmering with tears.

We love you dear brother and miss you always.

~Nimi, Purvi, Madhavi



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.

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

Brad Goodchild, Boy Scouts, High School

Sameer is part of one of my favorite families in the whole world, the Shah Family. Sameer will be greatly missed as he was greatly loved.

Those of us from Satellite Beach are well aware of how open the Shah home has always been to us. Not just the legendary high school parties, but open every day to Sameer’s and Shalin’s friends. Sameer was the older brother to my best friend Shalin. He was the older, wiser(sorry Shalin), and more mature big brother. Of course he made fun of us younger “scouts” and kids, with that classic Sameer sense of humor, which comes from Mr. Shah.

I miss, as an adult, my times in their kitchen with Mrs. Shah trying to get me to eat Indian (read spicey hot) snacks and meals. Sameer always in the back ground pouncing on our rhetoric with his wit. To that point in my life I had not known anyone that dressed as well as Sameer. Whenever I see someone wearing Kaki pressed pants, striped shirt and a sweater hung over his shoulders, I think of Sameer. I remember a few years after the “Members Only” era, of him poking fun my way as I was severely tardy for that trend.

And how smart and clever was Sameer. On a trip to India and Nepal in 1985, Sameer argued with a Casino/travel department over the value of “one time play” chips. So here is Sameer, 20 years old logically winning a dispute against 3 suits twice his age. While they didn’t give us additional chips, they certainly lost their moral highground.

I will miss his laugh and wit the most as it reminds me of good times with him and his family. I am thankful for his friendship and am a better person for his playfully sarcastic but effective input on my life.

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

From Ken Sandlin, Satellite High friend

Everyone who met Sameer immediately knew some important things about him:

1) Sameer was always laughing. Always. He had the innate sense and understanding of what was meaningful and important. And one of those meaningful and important things was to laugh when we can. He did so often–probably 100 times a day–if not more.

2) Sameer was wickedly smart and insightful.

3) Sameer was a great friend and was always sharing his gifts of humor and intelligence to those around him–especially his friends.

Sameer shared great insight with a charming sense of humor–which is a rare and welcome gift. And it will be missed–but it lives on in our memories of him.