Gade Sudhakar Rao, MD, passed away on Monday, April 10.
He was born in a small village in India, to Gade Laxman and Venkatamma Rao on March 6, 1946. His father worked as a manager for the transportation department. As a boy, he grew up with his grandmother as the matriarch of the house. His grandmother ruled the home with a stern but loving hand and instilled in Dr. Rao the importance of education and a strong work ethic. She taught him that if he worked hard, he could accomplish any goal he set for himself. Through his hard work and perseverance, he became the first in his family to attend college.
He was accepted into Osmania Medical University in Hyderabad, India, and graduated in 1968. He completed his surgical residency in New York at Brooklyn Cumberland Hospital. He practiced in Eerie, Pennsylvania, for a few years at the Veterans Administration Medical Center.
He moved to Savannah in 1978 to set up his general surgery practice.
After graduation from medical school, he married Aruna Rao in June 1969.
The two of them began their journey in life together, and from that moment onward, they were always together. Aruna was his source of quiet strength, helping him in all aspects of his life. They settled down in Savannah, where they raised their three children, Saritha, Kavitha and Rajesh.
Dr. Rao lived in Savannah for the next 38 years, where he served his community by practicing general surgery. Indeed, his skills as a surgeon improved and saved many lives in our area. He left Savannah in 2005 and practiced in Panama City, Florida. However, he was called back to the town he considered home in 2010 to practice general surgery and head the wound care clinic at Hardin Medical Center.
He participated in the Rotary Club of Savannah for many years. Dr. and Mrs. Rao hosted international guests of the Rotary Club from Brazil and India. In his spare time, he enjoyed learning to sing Indian classical music and traveled to Nashville every week for music classes. He loved singing at special occasions in the Indian community. He held the same devotion to music as he did to the practice of medicine. His other passion was gardening and he took great pride in his vegetable garden. He also enjoyed traveling, and his travels took him to places such as Australia, New Zealand, Alaska, China, Puerto Rico, Morroco, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Germany, France, England, Belgium, Netherlands, as well as India. He also enjoyed jogging and walking. He participated in multiple races including in the Chicago marathon as well as many local 5K and 10K races over the years.
He was often seen about town with a big smile and greeted everyone by name. He had a kind and gentle nature and was a very humble person. He gave wise counsel to family, friends and colleagues when it was sought. He was an extraordinary person who touched many lives during his time with us.
He is preceded in death by his father, Gade Laxman Rao, his mother, Venkatamma Rao, and his brother, Gade Prabhakar Rao.
He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Aruna Gade Rao, his daughters and sons-in-law, Saritha and Nimin Pothuluri, Kavitha and Mohan Tadikonda, and his son, Rajesh Rao. He also leaves behind his three beloved grandchildren, Aneal Pothuluri, Dhilan Tadikonda and Devan Tadikonda.
Dr. Rao’s family is inviting the community to come together for a Celebration of Life ceremony to honor and remember him on Sunday, April 23, at Pickwick Inn from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.