Jayalakshmi Devi Velagapudi passed away on October 18, 2020 in Odessa, Texas. Funeral services will be held from 10 am-12 pm followed by private cremation services on October 23, 2020 at Sunset Memorial Gardens and Funeral Home in Odessa, Texas.
Jayalakshmi was born in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh (AP), India on August 14, 1937. She went to Kuchipudi High School in AP. Jayalakshmi later married Anantha Padmanabha Chowdhary Velagapudi on May 26, 1955 in Kuchipudi, AP. For her husband’s graduate education, she moved to the University of Maine in 1957 where her eldest child was born. While in Maine, she led cooking and cultural classes for the community. Jayalakshmi and her family moved back to India in 1961 for her husband’s employment. Shortly after their move, they had their second child and raised both among their extensive family. Jayalakshmi and her husband wanted better opportunities for their children and moved to Jersey City, NJ in 1974 where they lived until their final move to Union, NJ in 1996. Jayalakshmi was an amazing wife and mother. After raising her children and getting her GED, she started a part-time position at Pathmark Supermarkets in 1978. She started at entry level and worked her way up to management before ending her career in 2011 to take care of her ailing husband. Despite facing external discrimination for her uniform of a sari and bhindi, she was recognized for her hard work and diligence through numerous outstanding performance awards during her 35-year tenure with the company.
Jayalakshmi was an active member of the Sri Venkateswara Temple and Community Center in Bridgewater, NJ and contributed annually to several funds supporting first responders in her community. Her favorite hobbies included gardening (especially roses, jasmine and curry leaf plants), cooking for family and friends, knitting, playing electronic games (especially Candy Crush), debating politics, watching Indian soap operas and engaging in meditation and Vedic breathing through the Art of Living community. Jayalakshmi will be remembered for her warm smile, generosity, nurturing and loving spirit, and incredible strength in the face of adversity. Her ability to survive and thrive has been an inspiration to those around her who learned the importance of financial stability, independence, resilience, forgiveness and the ability to balance different cultures while maintaining one’s values, principles, and identity.
She was preceded in death by her beloved husband on July 11, 2011, her parents (Purushottam and Vardhanamma Yelavarthi) and her older sister (Sri Lakshmi Davuluri). She is survived by her younger sister (Rajyalakshmi Movva), younger brother (Rajendra Prasad Yelavarthi), her son (Dr. Satish Rai Chowdhary Velagapudi of Fort Wayne, IN), her daughter (Sirisha Padmaja Velagapudi Neerukonda of Odessa, TX), her son-in-law (Dr. Shanti Kiran Neerukonda of Odessa, TX), her granddaughters (Shashi Radhika Neerukonda, Dr. Smitha Devi Neerukonda and Audrey Devi Velagapudi) and numerous friends and family around the world.
The family is appreciative of the medical care provided to Jayalakshmi in Odessa, Texas and Union, New Jersey – it was clear that the love Jayalakshmi exuded to others surrounded her wherever she went.
In lieu of flowers, and despite what is posted on the website in reference to flowers or planting a tree, the family kindly requests that donations be made to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (www.pulmonaryfibrosis.org) in honor of the fight she made against this disease.
To livestream the funeral, the link is below.
To speak at the funeral service, the link is:https://nyu.zoom.us/j/94748216402