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October 16, 1934 ~ December 7, 2023 (age 89) 89 Years Old
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Alfred KanagaRaj passed away on December 7, 2023, in his 89th year, surrounded by family and friends. He was a devoted husband, loving father, and endearing thatha (Tamil for grandfather.) Alfred was the second child among eight children - four boys and four girls - born to Jemima and M. Kanagaraj. His father M. Kanagaraj was born in Meignanapuram in South India and worked as a full time Missionary in Indian Missionary Society. His mother Jemima was a home maker.
Alfred KanagaRaj started his career with the Indian Railways after graduation. Being very interested in Western Classical Music, he became a self-taught musician in playing the piano and the organo. He rose to great heights in pursuing his passion in music. He left the job in the Railways and went to the United States of America to pursue his Master's degree in Organ Music in the year 1966 and completed the course meritoriously.
Alfred KanagaRaj had a melodious tenor voice. In St. Thomas' (SPG) Tamil Church, Secunderabad, he has sung, " Every Valley shall be Exalted " from Handel's Messiah and other solos. On one occasion, when the late Mr. I. Jaganathan, the then Organist of the Church suddenly fell ill just a few days before the Christmas Carol Service, he rose to the occasion and played the organ and conducted the choir. He was the conductor of the two musical groups, 'Hyderabad Minstrels' and 'Festival Choristers' which enthralled lovers of Western Classical Music. He also conducted a Workshop on Western Classical Music. For the 150th year celebration of St. Thomas' (SPG) Tamil Cathedral, Secunderabad, due to his allegiance to the Church, Alfred voluntarily journeyed to Hyderabad where he trained a group of singers, the Festival Choir, and conducted their singing of beloved classical pieces.
Alfred met his wife, Gladys, just one day before they got married on July 4, 1975. They welcomed two sons, Cyril and Praem, and eventually settled in the community of Bainbridge Township, Ohio. Alfred was the Director of Music in Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Euclid, Ohio, as well as other churches in the United States. His longest tenure was serving as organist and choir director for St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Alfred adored his granddaughters and often spent time playing piano with them or stopping by for a surprise visit. He spent many moments lying on the rug playing toys with the girls who always brought a smile to his face. One of his proudest moments was becoming a grandfather, and his presence around his grandchildren will be forever missed.
Alfred leaves behind his wife of 48 years, Gladys, two sons, Praem (Rachel) and Cyril (Meghan), and his grandchildren, Nick, Leela, Senna, and Ava. Alfred was loved beyond measure and we will cherish dearly the years we were fortunate to spend together. Family and friends are invited to gather on December 11, 2023, at 10:00 at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Chagrin Falls for the viewing and Burial Liturgy followed by a reception in the parish gathering room.
Donations in Alfred’s honor would be gratefully received by St. Martin’s Episcopal Church.