OBITUARY: Chaitram Talele

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Chaitram Talele

Dr. Chaitram Talele passed away peacefully on Tuesday, July 4, surrounded by his family at his long-time home in Columbia, TN. He was 84.

He was born on January 27, 1939 in the lush farming village of Satod in Maharashtra, India. Born to Jivaram and Jai Talele as the second of 12 children, he displayed an early love of education and the wider world. He left home at the age of 17 to attend the University of Poona, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honors in 1960 and a Master of Arts in 1962.

With a strong desire to see the world and broaden his horizons, he came to the United States on Columbus Day in 1964 to attend the University of Wisconsin at Madison. There, he further pursued his studies, receiving a Master of Arts in 1967 and pursuing his PhD in Economics, which he ultimately completed at the University of Tennessee.

His lifelong love of learning emerged not only in his life’s work in Economics, but also in knowledge of multiple languages including English, Hindi, Marathi, and Sanskrit. He also was a devoted student of World History, Philosophy, Political Science, and World Civilizations. A powerful driving force for him was to positively advance the state of affairs in his community via education and community service, which is weaved into his work, hobbies, family and community activities throughout his life, including as an instructor with the Peace Corps.

In 1967, he came to Columbia, Tennessee, and soon fell in love with the picturesque southern town where he would remain through the end of his life. As a strong believer in education as a pathway to enrich and improve one’s life, he became a Professor at Columbia State Community College the year after it was founded and built up the economics department at that institution. He remained in Columbia and a leader at that institution for 45 years and became a U.S. citizen in 1974 – a lifelong testament of his commitment to America’s community college system and its mission to makes education available to all in society.

He helped to grow and build many programs at Columbia State during his tenure there, participating in the growth of the system as it expanded to other cities in middle Tennessee. He was a winner of the Distinguished Faculty Member of the Year Award. He published his book, Keynes and Schumpeter: New Perspectives, providing a new and innovative look on the great macroeconomic theorists of the era. He also enthusiastically served as the Faculty Advisor for the Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society for over fifteen years, supporting thousands of students in their educational endeavors. He regularly presented his work at meetings of the American Economic Association of which he was a member.

Five years after his retirement, he was honored by having a room named after him in the Frank G Clement Building at Columbia State campus. Dr. Talele truly loved being an educator, and his years at Columbia State comprised some of his happiest moments. He was a pioneer, a true trailblazer who brought his love and commitment for education for all in the middle Tennessee area.

Dr. Talele brought this same spirit to his community endeavors. He was a very active member of the India Association of Nashville (IAN), serving as President of the Association from 1988-1989. He remained active in the organization for many years afterwards, more recently serving on the Community Affairs Committee of the Indian Community Seniors Support Services. He was a vigorous proponent of working towards members of his community having access to independent, high-quality living as they aged. He also served on Board of the Directors of the Maury County Daycare in the 1980s.

He had several hobbies and passions, including yoga and Indian classical music. He enjoyed the vocal arts, tabla and harmonium. He enjoyed teaching yoga and taught locally for many years.

Most importantly, he was an involved, loving father, husband and grandfather, providing his family with unconditional encouragement, support and love. He enthusiastically encouraged their pursuits and dreams. He is survived by his wife Nalini Talele, whom he married in 1971, daughter Dr. Anjali Sibley (Carter), son Amit Talele, and grandsons Sonu Sibley (14) and Kiran Sibley (11).

Funeral services will be on Sunday, July 9, 2023 at the Heritage Funeral Home and Cemetery, 609 Bear Creek Pike, Columbia, TN 38401. Visitation will be from 11AM – 1PM followed by a private service for family. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the scholarship in his name at Columbia State Community College. Heritage Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

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