Ponnammal Rajamani, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother,
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passed away peacefully on April 14, 2020. She was predeceased by her parents,
Varadhachari and Renganayaki, brother Gopalaswami, and sister Chellamma. She is
survived by her husband of 67 years, T.K. Rajamani, daughter Premalatha Madhavan
(S. Madhavan), son Krishnakumar Rajamani (Elizabeth), grandchildren Nirmala
Madhavan (Sridhar Rajan), Maya, Kiran, and Mallika Rajamani, great-granddaughter
Sanjana Rajan, and many nieces and nephews.
Ponna was born in 1932 in Kizhanatham, Tamil Nadu, India “at a time when fully fed
cows came home to yield milk,” as noted by her grandfather, Krishna Iyengar. She
grew up and went to school in Madras, notably skipping a day of high school to hear
Gandhi speak. She attended Queen Mary’s College and Stella Maris College in
Madras, earning two gold medals and going on to complete master's degrees in
history and political science, as well as a teacher’s training program. It was during
her school years in Madras that Ponna met T.K. Rajamani, the boy living in the house
opposite hers whom she "especially liked" as she wrote in her memoir. They
married in July 1952.
Ponna taught in high schools in both Bombay and Madras. In the 1980s she lived in
Nigeria, where her husband was working, eventually returning to Madras for
several years before moving with her husband to Rochester, New York in 1998 to be
closer to her son and his family. She worked for many years at Asbury Day Care
Center, where she loved looking after the babies and toddlers, and volunteered at
the Penfield Public Library. She also gave veena lessons at home and continued to
play in retirement. She enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and great-
granddaughter, playing Scrabble, and keeping in touch with family and friends.
Many thanks to the dedicated staff of Unity Hospital who were so caring,
particularly during this challenging time, to her kind home health aide, Tina, and to
friends who have been so supportive over the years, especially Kumar, Geetha, and
Donations in her memory may be made to the Rochester Chapter of the Alzheimer’s
Association or to the Penfield Public Library.