Surendra Bhana

Surendra Bhana passed away at his home on Saturday, September 24th at the age of seventy-seven after battling cancer. He is survived by Kala, his wife of fifty years, his children Hershini, Hemant and Palvih, his daughter-in-law Angie, and his grandchildren Kiri, Aiden and Idris. A deeply reflective and spiritual man, Suresh often described his life as a series of journeys. Born in Sisodra, a small village in India, Suresh journeyed as young boy to South Africa which became his home for many years. Those years in South Africa awakened in him a keen sense of justice and a never-ending search for elusive truths. Suresh came to Lawrence in 1966 as a graduate student where he earned his Ph.D. in History at KU. In 1987 he returned to Lawrence with his family to teach in the History department. These many journeys, Suresh wrote, convinced him that buildings and places do not change but the people who live in them do. He believed that it was in the inward journey, the search for home buried in oneself, that true freedom could be found.
The many successes and accolades he garnered over the years—including five books that made him an innovator in his field, his stellar reputation as a teacher and mentor, and his charismatic eloquence—all fade in comparison to his compassion and humility. The number of lives he touched reflected his unique ability to listen, to understand other people and to accept them for where and who they were. The outpouring of love and support from family and friends all over the world, in particular Haskell Springer, Steve Fawcett, Doni Mooberry and the extended Bhana family is a testament both to their kindness and his. A private funeral will be held on Tuesday September 27th. It will be followed by a celebration of his life on Saturday Oct 1st at the KU Alumni Center from 3pm to 5pm where all are welcome. Please join us as Suresh begins his next journey. In lieu of flowers, please donate to Visiting Nurses Association. Online condolences may be sent at