By Jawahar Malhotra
SUGAR LAND, TX: Though in the country barely a year, and just 18 years-old, his professors clearly saw his brilliance and as the first semester came to an end, they asked him to help tutor his other classmates in math, science and biology. It came naturally to him, as he had already finished a year of college at St. Stephens in New Delhi, which is noted for its academic excellence. That brilliance stayed with him till the end, when he helped to write his final wishes and plan his own funeral, recalled his father retired Col. Dr. Raj Bhalla.
Gurpreet Singh Bhalla – affectionately known as “Sonny” passed away on Wednesday, December 4, 2019 in Reedsville, Pennsylvania with his family beside him. The cause of death was renal cell carcinoma which had been in remission till March 2016 when it reappeared. Gurpreet fought bravely but himself chose not to prolong his deteriorating condition by extending treatment. He was 61.
Born on July 29, 1958 in New Delhi, India, Gurpreet had a marvelous education at the prestigious Modern School which he attended from kindergarten to higher secondary. His family lived nearby on Pandara Road, though his father would be posted to field areas, while his mother Kanwal handled the household.
When his father moved to the US to work at Charles River Labs in Port Washington, Long Island, Gurpreet enrolled at the State University of New York in Stony Brook receiving his Bachelor of Science (Hons) in 1980. “He had offers from five medical schools,” remembered Raj Bhalla, and decided on New York University for his MD, receiving it in 1984 and eventually completed his Residency and Fellowship in anesthesia from NYU in 1988.
Gurpreet began his professional career as an Attending Anesthesiologist at Vassar Brothers Hospital, Poughkeepsie NY from 1988 to 1998. He then became the CEO of Penn Anesthesia Service PC and the Chairman of the Department of Anesthesia & Pain Management Services at Lewistown Hospital, Lewistown, PA from 2000 to 2015. In Lewistown Hospital, he led important Committees including Credentialing, Professional Affairs, and Performance Improvement and was a Member of the Hospital Board of Directors.
In 2010 he was diagnosed and treated for Renal Cell Carcinoma, which went into remission until March 2016 when the cancer reappeared. Because of his illness, he retired and pursued his treatment first at Sloan Kettering in New York, then at Dana Farber in Boston, Massachusetts and finally at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Gurpreet was an avid fan of opera and a globetrotter who loved good wines, classy restaurants and fine watches. “He was a loving involved father, a devoted husband, a passionate brother and a caring son,” said his father. Besides his father, he is survived by his wife Dr. Jyotish, an anesthesiologist also; his son Ravi an attorney in NYC; younger brother Dr. Narinder Bhalla (known by many as “Nani”), and mother Kanwal.
After his parents moved to Sugar Land in 1994, Gurpreet would visit often and met their wide circle of friends. Both brothers and their families attended special functions for their parents, like Kanwal’s 75th birthday celebration and the two awards that the Morton Masonic Lodge in Richmond, Texas bestowed on Raj Bhalla.