Trailblazer, Problem-Solver, Philosopher, Friend
P. Krishnan, known to all as “Krish”, died peacefully in his sleep May 6, 2020, in Providence, Rhode Island after a long illness. Krish is fondly remembered as an enthusiastic, caring Thatha (grandpa) to three grandsons, as a husband, father, father-in-law, brother, and Mama (uncle) to nieces, nephews, and their children. Krish was a mentor to many in his professional and personal life.
Krish was an introvert and would often refer to himself as “president of the antisocial club”. But he was a natural storyteller and debater, entertaining family, friends, and co-workers with quirky tales of minor incidents, cultural mishaps, and philosophical stories. He was not one to share many personal details although he had a remarkable story of his own.
Krish was born in Madras State (now Tamil Nadu) in pre-Independence India and studied Law and Chemistry at college. After a series of entry level jobs, (including teaching Chemistry in a fire-prone thatched hut), he sailed to London in his late twenties, with his first suit, tie and lace up shoes, intending to study Taxation Law, once he had saved for tuition.
Growing up with a quick mind, and at a time and place that paper was scarce, Krish could calculate math formulas in his head. He interviewed for a computer scientist position at Yardley’s of London to work on their new IBM mainframe (before computer science was offered as a college major) and got the job by being the only candidate to earn a perfect score on a math test (and without using paper or pen). Self-taught, and highly motivated, he quickly became the resident expert on programming IBM mainframes and was recruited by IBM UK as a Systems Engineer (aka technical problem-solver for high profile clients). As a recent immigrant who lacked the pedigree and schooling that his colleagues had, Krish made it his mission to solve problems that no one else could. As a result, he traveled the world supporting clients, often carrying 3 passports stapled together when he ran out of pages.
Krish and his wife raised their family in the UK, France, and USA before settling in New York State near IBM headquarters. Krish was the originator of the IBM Redbooks, the technical guides of tips and tricks that accompany formal product documentation, and in the last years of his 30-year tenure at IBM was running the Redbooks team at the IBM International Technical Support Center / World Trade Corporation. As an Indian citizen with a US green card, Krish became one of the few Americans at World Trade. He and his wife became US citizens in the 1990s and made Rhode Island their home.
Krish had a curious, creative mind, and he and his wife surrounded themselves with books of all kinds. They sold their house in New York to a University Professor and bought their house in Rhode Island in a University community. It was the number of bookshelves, not bedrooms, that mattered. Krish would often challenge his son, daughter, and grandsons to count how many books they had read, and how many were on their Kindles – Krish had well over a thousand books on his Kindle at last count.
Krish will be remembered as a person with a thirst for knowledge and reinventing himself. He took an interest in people of all backgrounds and all walks of life because he wanted to learn what it was like to walk in someone else’s shoes. He never stopped learning or growing, and upon retirement, took on grandparenting as his new vocation. He knew the world had infinite possibilities and that he was fortunate to have had an interesting journey, a varied life, and many options yet to explore.
Services will be private.
In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to:
The Hope Health Visiting Nurse, Palliative Care and Hospice Care fund in his memory. Krish was cared for by a heroic team of nurses at Hope Health in his final days. https://www.hopehealthco.org/contact-us/
Children’s reading programs by contributing to Krish’s local library, Providence Community Library https://provcomlib.networkforgood.com/projects/15880-support-providence-community-library
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