Mohan “Mo” Ramanathan, age 47, of Chester Springs, PA, passed away on Friday, February 9, 2018. Mo was born in Wimbledon, England, and was the younger son of Rama Ramanathan and Sarojinidevi "Saro" Sabapathipillai Ramanathan.
Mo was 6 years old in 1976 when his father's computer and programming expertise lead to the family's move to the United States. At the time, Mo believed that the U.S. consisted of New York City, Disneyland, and the Wild West. All the way over on the plane, Mo practiced talking like John Wayne so that he could fit right in. The family arrived during the time of the Bicentennial Year. Mo was impressed by the weeks of celebrations, parades, and fireworks thinking that these were done to welcome his family. Although he was disappointed to discover that Pennsylvania was not as close to Disneyland as he had expected, he grew to love his new home.
Mo excelled at school impressing both his teachers and his principal. He soon "jumped ahead" two grades. He was a tiny third grader, but he was not intimidated by the older students. He graduated at age 16 and fearlessly moved away from home to attend the University of Maryland at College Park.
Mo received his Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Maryland in 1990. Unfortunately, the U.S. was in a recession at the time that he was graduating. Even though Mo had impressed DuPont with his research work into fluid dynamics, he was told that they were laying off PhDs and could not legitimize hiring an undergrad. Mo papered the wall of his dorm with rejection letters, but was undeterred.
It was Mo's outgoing nature that lead to a conversation in an elevator with a stranger. Mo so impressed his elevator companion with his intelligence and demeanor that the stranger offered Mo a job working for the University in the newly developing field of computer network engineering. Although it was not his original field of study, Mo was up for the challenge and accepted the job.
Mo started his career in networking by laying out networking cable in crawl spaces and above ceiling panels in the buildings around the UMCP campus. He advanced into network design working for Bryn Mawr College and Sprint before turning to "the dark side" and working for vendors as a pre-sales engineer in the late 90s. Mo's intelligence and uncanny ability to be able to make the most complicated technical information understandable even to a layperson made him a natural for the position. Mo enjoyed the competitive nature of working on the sales team earning many rewards and trips that he shared with his family. He became a well respected expert in the field of networking and information security being interviewed by multiple sources, including the Wall Street Journal. He enjoyed the challenges and rewards of his career and worked for Digital Guardian as a Product Manager for the last 3 years.
"Mohan" means a charming or handsome person and Mo was both of these. Many of his friends will tell you that they met him when he came up to them, stuck out his hand and said, "Hi. I'm Mo." This was how he met Julie. They were at the wedding of mutual friends. Mo later recounted that he saw Julie from across the room and decided to sit next to her at the reception. Again, he stuck out his hand, said, "Hi," and started a conversation that would change both of their lives. They did not start dating right away, but the bride was a natural match maker and kept subtly bringing up Mo's name in conversation and saying, "You remember my friend, Mo. He met you at the wedding. He thought that you were cute." After a year of this gentle nudging, Julie relented and agreed to "one date" so that she would never have to hear about this guy again. They married 3 years later.
Mo loved to travel. He would take his wife and son, Ravi, on many trips around the country and around the world. In 2003, Mo found out that he had kidney failure and that he would need to go on dialysis. He did not enjoy being on dialysis, because it took time away from his family and limited his ability to travel with them; however, he was grateful that he lived in a time when dialysis and transplantation were available so that he could have the opportunity to get well enough to watch his young son grow up.
Friends and family were devastated when they heard of his illness. Many came forward and offered to become a donor. Mo refused. He insisted that he couldn't live with the guilt if someone in the donor's family might one day need a kidney. Over time, Ben Holladay was able to persuade Mo to accept a kidney from him. Mo had his transplant in the late fall of 2006 and every year he would celebrate his "kidney-versary." He was happy and grateful for the time that Ben gave him and so was his family.
Mo lived his life with gusto. With his freedom away from dialysis, he jumped back into life with full force. He enjoyed the simple things like driving Ravi to school, and taking him to soccer and martial arts practices. He took his family to the beaches in the summer and all around the country and the globe for family vacations. He loved to find new experiences and share them with his family and friends. He traveled frequently for work and used the opportunities to experience new cities, new foods, and to meet friends both new and old. When he came home he would tell people about his experiences and say, "You would love it. We need to go," and he meant it. He lived a full life and he enjoyed every minute of it.
After 10 years, Mo's kidney started failing again and his doctors told him that he would need to go back on dialysis. Mo was ready to do whatever he had to do. He had survived dialysis once before. He loved life, his family, and his friends, and he wanted to fight. Unfortunately, Mo had more complications this time. He finally succumbed to his illness Friday, February 9, 2018.
Mo is survived and missed by his loving wife of 21 years, Julia “Julie” Ramanathan; son Ravi; parents: Rama and Saro; brother: Janahan (Pamela "Pam"); nieces and nephews: Kannan, Keeran, and Kalyani (Kali) Ramanathan, and Connor, Sabrina, and Kira Wadlin; father and mother-in-law: Kenneth and Linda Wadlin; brothers-in-law: Eric (Christina) and Craig Wadlin (Carina Chocano); as well as many loving extended family members and dearly treasured friends.
Mo was known for his infectious personality, humor, and genuine spirit. There are few people like Mo in the world. Everyone who met him, even once, remembered him for being the friendliest, smartest, nicest person that they ever met.
Relatives and friends are invited to celebrate Mo’s life on Saturday, February 17, 2018 at the James J. Terry Funeral Home, 736 E. Lancaster Avenue, Downingtown, PA 19335. Visitation will be held from 1-3:30pm, with a time of sharing from 3:30-5pm.
There will be a Wake from 6PM-11PM at the Elks Lodge. There will be dinner and drinks. Try to "channel your inner Mo" and step forward to tell stories, share anecdotes, or sing favorite songs about our guy. It hurts, but it helps.
On Sunday, February 18, 2018 a Hindu prayer service will be held from 1-2pm at James J. Terry Funeral Home. 736 E. Lancaster Avenue, Downingtown, PA 19335.
There will be another late lunch/early dinner at the Hilton Garden Inn from 2:30-5pm.
In lieu of flowers, a donation in Mo’s name can be made to the National Kidney Foundation, www.kidney.org.