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Dr. Ashok N. Shah

Dr. Ashok N. Shah passed away peacefully on June 11, 2023 at home surrounded by family in Rochester, New York. Ashok was born in Ahmedabad, India on May 17th, 1939, the eldest son of Nathalal and Kantaben Shah. Ashok was spiritual from an early age, going to temple regularly. He was a gold medalist in multiple subjects at B.J. Medical College and was trained as a general surgeon. In 1966, he married Shobhana Shah of Nairobi, Kenya. In 1967, he received a scholarship from the International College of Surgeons to study Gastroenterology at the University of Pennsylvania. He stayed in America retraining in internal medicine and specializing in Gastroenterology. Following an internship year at the Lahey Clinic in Boston, Ashok returned to Rochester, where he completed his fellowship in Gastroenterology.  Ashok initially worked at Genesee Hospital, followed by two decades at the Strong Memorial Hospital/University of Rochester as Professor of Medicine, before retiring in 2018. He was a renaissance gastroenterologist: his colleagues referred the most challenging cases to him. Ashok was recognized for his teaching, clinical acumen, and compassionate patient care. In 2007, because of his recognized stature and achievement in clinical gastroenterology, he was honored as a Master of the American College of Gastroenterology (MACG). Ashok was loved by his patients, colleagues and trainees to whom he not only imparted medical knowledge but humanism and spirituality. However, he took the most pride in his children’s accomplishments: Samir followed in his footsteps in GI and Sejal followed his love of reading and teaching. Ashok and Shobhana took special pleasure in spending time with their grandsons, Anand and Vijay. Ashok was also a leader in the Rochester Indian community including the India Community Center and the Hindu Temple of Rochester. As an independent scholar of comparative religions and a deeply devout practitioner of Hinduism and Bhakti Yoga, Ashok led Bhagavad Gita classes in his home for members of the community since the late 1970s. He fulfilled his dream of hosting his guru, Sri Morari Bapu for a nine-day Ram Katha in Rochester in the summer of 2018.  Ashok was the spiritual and ethical center of the extended Shah family.

He was predeceased by his parents and by his middle brother, Kirit N. Shah. Kirit and Nitin were steadfast allies to Ashok his whole life (as Lakshmana and Bharata were to Ram) always supporting their elder brother in any undertaking. He is survived by his wife, Shobhana A. Shah; son, Dr. Samir A. Shah; daughter, Sejal A. Shah; daughter-in-law, Dr. Seema V. Byahatti; son-in-law, Rajesh N. Singaravelu; grandsons, Anand B. Shah and Vijay B. Shah; and by his youngest brother, Nitin N. Shah; as well as his loving nieces, nephews, and their children.  Ashok’s success was tied to his spirituality and the unwavering support of his devoted wife, Shobhana.

A ceremony celebrating his life will be held on June 13th from 4-6pm at the India Community Center (ICC) on 2171 Monroe County Line Road in Macedon, NY.  All who wish to attend are welcome. In lieu of flowers, gifts in his memory can be made to the Hindu Temple of Rochester ( and/or India Community Center of Rochester (

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