Maran Nayagam Tamilan


image of Maran N. Tamilan

Maran N. Tamilan

Maran Nayagam Tamilan (born Perinba Nayagam Packia Raj) passed away peacefully surrounded by his family, in Seattle, Washington on October 18, 2021. Packia Raj was born on November 24, 1940, on a tea estate in Munnar, India to Chellam and Daniel Perinba Nayagam. Packia Raj had his early schooling in Munnar high school and studied at Guindy College of Engineering (now Anna University) in Chennai, India, where he earned his undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Civil and Structural Engineering.

He married Sarguna Sydney in 1968. In 1972, he moved to the United States and did Master’s degree in Civil Engineering at Brigham Young University.

Soon after, he brought his wife and two children to the US and established a career in Civil Engineering. Over the span of his career, he was involved in the design and construction of many projects in California and the US, including the oil rigs off the coast of Santa Barbara, the Trident Missile Project and even a water park (Raging Waters) in San Jose. In 1992, he graduated from Stanford University with a PhD on the Cost Feasibility of an unmanned Mars Rover. His work helped pave the way for future projects like NASA’s Mars Rover missions and Space X’s plans to colonize Mars.

His passion for engineering, science, and the future, which he saw with hope and optimism, contributed to the many stories he wrote, including his novel The Moon Spell, which he published with his son, Llewellyn Packia Raj.

He was equally enthusiastic about his native tongue, the Dravidian language Tamil. He even changed his name to Maran N. Tamilan. He started teaching Tamil at home to his children and local Tamil children. In 1980 he founded Tamil Manram in the bay area, a nonsectarian group to preserve and promote the language and culture of the Tamil people, regardless of caste and religion. The Bay Area Tamil Manram was crucial to the creation of the Tamil Chair at UC Berkeley. The group continues today with thousands of members, keeping Tamil culture and historical awareness in the Tamil diaspora communities in California and around the world.

After his retirement, PackiaRaj continued an active and giving life. He played tennis, he cared for his granddaughter, and taught English for nursing students in Indonesia as well as traveling around the world. He was very passionate about educating the under privileged children in Tamil Nadu and other parts of the world. In his last years, he bravely and stoically fought Cortico-Basilar Degeneration, a rare progressive brain disorder of unknown cause.

He is survived by his loving wife, Sarguna Packia Raj; his daughter Linda and husband Geoffrey, his son Lew and wife Catherine; his sister Leela; sister Loice; sister-in-law Patricia; sister Vimala; brother Alfred and wife Lilian; his nieces and nephews. He will be greatly missed by his granddaughters Skylar and Pascale and friends.

A memorial service will be held on December 5th by the Bay Area Tamil Manram in San Ramon, CA and a Celebration of Life will be held early 2022 in Santa Clara, CA.

Our prayers are with him.


One Response to “Maran Nayagam Tamilan”


    This T. Natarajan from Ashland MA.
    Only yesterday I came to know from my friend Elango that my classmate, teacher and friend dear Maran Tamilan reached the heavenly abode.
    My sincere condolences to you and children Linda and Lew; all to all your family members.
    I pray for his soul to rest in peace.
    T. Natarajan

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