Vyas Dev Sharma, aviation luminary, passes away at 86

Vyas Dev Sharma was a luminary in the aviation industry. A fixture at JFK Airport for  40 years, he ran the North American Cargo Operations for Sabena Airlines (now Brussels Airlines) before elevating to Director of North American Passenger Service and Operations at both Sabena and Swiss Air.  He was recognized as a creative problem solver & astute businessman, but always willing to help and  showing empathy towards passengers in distress.  He is remembered by his former colleagues for his unimpeachable integrity and his well-tailored suits.


Better known as Dave Sharma, he was a prominent figure in the Indian community on Long Island.  He and Suda Sharma, his wife of 52 years, were long-time members and supporters of IALI, and were leaders in business, community, charitable and religious circles.  For many years, they helped organize donations of food, supplies and money for the Interfaith Nutrition Network (INN) soup kitchens, especially in the spirit of ‘bringing light’ during Diwali.


Dave Sharma was born in Burma to Tara Vanti and Krishan Chandra Sharma in 1935. His family escaped to India during World War II. Having lost his father at a young age, he took responsibility for the care of his 5 siblings.  In 1958, he  moved  to England where he began his storied career in the airline industry with British Airways.  In 1962, he came to New York City, where he worked for TWA. Impressed by his work ethic, they provided him a scholarship to Baruch College where he earned his MBA.

Dave and Suda Sharma lived in Massapequa, Long Island. Besides his wife, he is survived by his daughter Ritu Bala; his sons Rakesh and Rohin (both of whom served in the U.S. Army); son-in-law Gregory; daughters-in-law Kara and Shannon; 7 grandchildren; and his two sisters Promila & Prem.


Services are to be held on November 13 at Moloney’s Lake Funeral Home, Lake Ronkonkoma, NY.  A Hindu Pagri ceremony will be held on November 14 at Asa Mai Hindu Temple in Hicksville, NY.


Image courtesy of (Photo provided)

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