1924 – 2015

AUBURN — Lakshmi Das died at her home at Schooner Estates on July 23, completing a remarkable journey which took her from British-occupied India to Stetson Road in Auburn.

Born on July 2, 1924 in Secunderabad, India, to Ambat and Thankam Menon, she was educated at Keyes High School for Girls (Secunderabad) and St. Mary’s College (Madras). She received her M.D. from Vellore Medical College in 1948 as a member of the first graduating class. She completed her residency in 1951 at Madras Medical College where she was Senior House Officer in Pediatrics. Moving to the United Kingdom in 1951 (never to return home to India), she filled a number of positions at: the Institute for Child Health, Great Ormond Street, London; St. Luke’s Hospital, Huddersfield (Junior Hospital Medical Officer); Sheffield Board of Education (School Medical Officer). In 1958 she moved to San Fernando, Trinidad, where until 1962 she was the Pediatrician in charge of the Newborn Nursery and Premature Baby Unit at San Fernando General Hospital.

In 1962 she immigrated to the United States and trained as a pediatric oncologist. She served from 1962-1992 as: a Fellow in Medicine at the Children’s Cancer Research Foundation in Boston (the Jimmy Fund); Associate Oncologist at Children’s Hospital of Michigan (Detroit); and Attending Oncologist at Northwestern Children’s Memorial Hospital (Chicago). In 1992, she retrained in HIV/AIDS and worked until her retirement, in 2000, as an Attending Physician in the Infectious Diseases Unit at Children’s Memorial.

She was a skilled and compassionate physician who not only treated the disease but also ministered to the human being. In the words of one patient’s parents: “Thank you for your expert care and gentle manner…thank you for listening to us, addressing our fears, and taking care of our son…”

She was a fine cook of dosais and samosas, an accomplished needlepoint artist and a devoted follower of the Cubbies and the Bulls. She was a loving wife and mother who created a nurturing family environment; she was a doting grandmother who no doubt felt great pride that her grandchildren inherited her will and determination. She is a wonderful example of all that immigrants bring to their adopted homelands.

She is survived by son and daughter-in-law, David Das and Jane Costlow of Auburn; daughter-in-law, Nan Ducklow of Mt. Jackson, Va.; grandchildren, Leah Costlow of Bowdoinham and Dinesh Costlow of Wichita Falls, Texas. She was predeceased by her husband of 59 years, John, and her son,Tony.

The family would like to thank her hospice nurse, Caryn Bourgoin, for her great care and for her patience with a retired physician; her caregivers, Sheila, Patti, Carmen and Holly; the dedicated staff at Schooner; and her friends at Schooner.

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