Raj Marphatia passed away from cancer in his home in Palo Alto, California on May 8, 2020. He made peace with his illness in his final weeks and reached the end of his life lovingly surrounded by his daughters, Maya and Leena, and his partner, Carolyn. Family and friends around the world were present in spirit.
The beloved son of Chandrakala and the late Ravi Marphatia, Raj grew up in Bombay, India. At 17, he came to the United States on a scholarship from The Rotary Club of Bombay North. Raj landed with the Copeland family in Iowa and fell in love with cheeseburgers, baseball, and all things American.
He earned a full scholarship at Harvard University and went on to earn a Masters in Accounting from Northeastern University and a JD from Harvard Law School. He served as the first non-white president of the Harvard Law Review in 1987. Though Raj was eternally humble about his accomplishments, they were numerous and outstanding - the results of an unparalleled work ethic and love for learning. In his 30 year career with the law firm Ropes & Gray, Raj earned widespread professional respect for his sage advice, attentive mentorship, and unfailing determination. Loyal and fiercely committed to his work, Raj helped to build the firm’s private funds practice into a national powerhouse.
In his time at Harvard, Raj met his late wife, Nalini Ambady, who went on to become a Stanford University professor and respected expert in Psychology circles. Nalini was Raj’s equal (or in his words, superior) in her wit, scholarship, and adoration for her work. Raj doted on his and Nalini’s two daughters, never missing a soccer game or a dance recital. Raising two daughters as playful, brilliant, and generous as their parents, yet entirely unique in their passions, was one of the great joys of his life. The family’s love for each other has lasted through and far beyond Nalini’s passing from leukemia in 2013. Years after Nalini’s death, Raj (a true romantic at heart) found the second love of his life, Carolyn Hayes. Their partnership was full of laughter, music, and mutual kindness.
Raj was a thoughtful and steadfast friend, a devoted family member, and a simply exceptional human being. Raj is missed by his mother, Chandrakala Marphatia; daughters, Maya and Leena Ambady; father-in-law, Shanker Ambady; sister, Mona and her husband, Asit Khandwala; nieces, Anoushka and Nikita Khandwala; partner, Carolyn Hayes; and a warm global community of family, friends, and colleagues.