Santoben Keshavlal Shah (1927-2005)

After a terrible battle with stomach cancer, Santokben Keshavlal Shah left our world on June 18, 2005. She faced her illness with the same strength and dignity in which she faced all of her life’s challenges.

Santokben was born in a small village called Mungani, near Jamnagar, Gujarat. She married Keshavlal Rajpar Shah of Nava Gaam. Santokben lived in St. Louis and is survived by her sons Hasmukh, Dinesh and Kiran and her daughters-in-law Varsha and Kundan. She also has a daughter, Ranjna, who lives with her family in Nairobi, Kenya. Santokben also has nine grandchildren: Purvi, Harshana, Mili, Neil, Poonam, Bansi, Binal, Alex, and Meera.

The funeral service was held on June 18, 2005 at Forever Oak Hill Funeral Home in St. Louis, Missouri. We also held a bhajan in her honor on Monday June 20.

In honor of Ba’s life and memory, we read the following letter at her funeral. It was written as a final letter to her from her grandchildren; written on behalf of the family.

Dear Ba,

You were an amazing woman and an inspiration to everyone that you met. Every room that held your presence was brighter because of you.

You started your life, across the world, on a farm in India. You took joy in the simple pleasures of life. You then got married and gave up all that you knew to move to another continent and pursue a life with your husband. Here, you became an amazing mother to four children of your own, but it would be impossible to count the number of children that you helped raise while in Kenya. You encouraged your four children to become educated individuals that could stand strong on their own two feet. Because of their accomplishments, you were then able to help raise their children (that’s us) in America.

People say that grandmothers are the golden thread of a family quilt. You were not only the golden thread… you were the sun in our sky, the twinkle in our eyes, and the love in our heart. You taught us how to value our culture, speak our language, have faith in our bhagwan, cook our food, and appreciate living in a large family. And above all else, you were the most unselfish soul.

We will miss you dearly, but now is not a time to mourn. It’s time for US to be unselfish and celebrate your life and what you taught us. God has answered your prayers. And now you can finally join Kaka (our grandfather), who has been waiting for you for the past 8 years.

We know you are in good hands now.

With love from,
Your grandchildren & entire family