Veteran community leader Yash Paul Soi, 83, passed away peacefully on April 2, 2022, surrounded by his loving family in West Windsor, New Jersey. A professional engineer, he had completed his B.S. from Utah State University and M.S. in Management and Industrial Engineering from Columbia University. He lived a profound and prolific life, touching countless others with his loving spirit, driven by a deep faith and a heart for helping people.
Yash Paul Soi was one of the founding members of the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) established in 1970, two times elected President (1999 & 2008), and Vice-Chairman of the Board of Trustees (2009-2020).
In 1969, Soi launched his radio program of music and news from Motherland called, “Amar Taj Geet Mala,” in the Tristate area, the first-ever Indian media in the USA. From 1969 to 1992, Soi also presented interviews with famous world personalities including Mother Teresa. In December 1983, an article in “The New York Times,” recognized Soi as the “Cultural Ambassador of India.”
Later in 1973, Soi ventured into promoting the performing arts of South Asia so that first-generation people of Indian origin and their children have the opportunity to see the best Indian performers at the best concert halls. Through these concerts, Soi helped nonprofit organizations raise funds for needy causes including helping handicapped children in India.
From 1989 to 1992, Soi worked relentlessly to help Dr. Cheddi Jagan of the Republic of Guyana to restore democracy through free and fair elections there. His involvement in international efforts was recognized in 2011 when President Bharrat Jagdeo of Guyana awarded him the Highest Civilian Honor of the Republic of Guyana. The same Honor was previously awarded to President Jimmy Carter of the United States, the only other foreigner to receive this Honor.
On July 30, 2008, Soi received a Congressional honor from the U.S. House of Representatives in the 110 US Congress First Session, which became a permanent record in the “Congressional Record.” On August 13, 2008, Soi was presented the “City Council Citation” by New York City Council for his exemplary services to the community and the City.
On May 10, 2014, Soi was awarded 2014, Ellis Island Medal of Honor, for his contribution to the community and the United States. On September 10, 2014, Soi again received a Congressional Honor from U. S House of Representatives.
At home, he showed the same enthusiasm for life, and deeply loved his family and friends. He often shared his talent for cooking and would tell stories about his many adventures and experiences in life over a meal or a cup of his unique blend of chai.
Yash is survived by his wife of 50 years, Dorothy, two sons Raja and Sunil.