Jaswant Mody, 83, an Indian American community leader and former vice president of the Federation of Indian Associations died when his car collided with a freight train on July Fourth in Piscataway, New Jersey.

“With a heavy heart, we wanted to share with you the news of our dear husband and father, Jaswant Mody’s death on July 4th. He died in a tragic car accident and was the only one affected.”

the family said in an email from son Neil Mody, to community members. “Thanks to all for being a part of his life, he is deeply missed already,” said the note.

The news outlet tapinto.net reported that apart from Piscataway’s New Market Fire Department, the South Plainfield Volunteer Fire Department also responded. Members of the South Plainfield Volunteer Fire Department reported on their Facebook page that “a car was struck by a freight train. The impact caused the car to roll onto its roof and catch fire. Sadly the driver of the car was killed,” tapinto.net quoted the Facebook page.

Bom May 20, 1938, Jaswant Mody had been providing “dedicated community service for over 50 years” said FIA in a memorial flyer commemorating his life. A retired mechanical engineer with New York City, Mody was there for the community, said Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media which publishes Desi Talk, and ITV Gold.

“He was a very close family friend, he, his wife Chandrika, and children. He came to my son’s wedding recently. A gentleman, very helpful. He was there at every event, not just as a guest but helping out, even manning the registration booth happily,” said Dr. Parikh. “The community will miss him as will I and my wife Sudha. He was the kind of man everyone would like to know and cherish as a friend.”

Ankur Vaidya, chairman of FLA, echoed the feelings noting that Jaswant Mody was there whenever help was needed. “I’ve known him for more than 25 years and respect him highly. I traveled with him several times to India for Pravasi Bharatiya Divas events, and spoke to him just last week It is very, very sad.”

Members of the community gathered at the family home in Piscataway, to offer condolences, and WhatsApp was flooded with comments from many who spoke about their memories of Jaswant Mody.

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