Helping Families and Friends Honor Their Loved One

Dr. Nirmal Kumar Shastri, age 92

Dr. Nirmal Kumar Shastri, age 92, died peacefully on March 12, 2023. Born at the ancestral home in Benares, India, he made his home for the last 56 years in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

His life led him on quite the journey across half a world and almost a century. He was born on May 30, 1930, son of Ganesh Dutt Shastri and Gowri Pant. In 1959, he completed a Ph.D. in chemistry at Allahabad University and began his teaching career at Meerut College. As a young man, he was lauded for his investigative skills as a researcher and his excellent squash and tennis skills.

Yet wanderlust pulled him towards a postdoc in Chemistry at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville in 1960. He delighted in his new culture. He quickly discovered that you should not buy gas for your car during a Razorback game and that you should not be looking for the Himalayas when northwest Arkansans talk about the Boston Mountains.

He married the love of his life, Hope Sixbey, in 1965 and settled in North Little Rock. Nirmal was a professor of chemistry at Philander Smith College, and taught summer courses at Little Rock University and University of Central Arkansas. He later worked for the Veterans Administration. He was a teacher at heart and often gave presentations on Indian culture or chemistry at local area schools.

He is survived by his wife, Hope, his children Ananda Shastri (Chizuko), Laurel Shastri (Karl Schaffer), Maya Shastri (Peter Collings), and five grandchildren. Family and friends will remember him for his love of books, his recipes evoking the food from his Indian childhood, his joy in excessive use of puns, birdwatching, and his stories of India.

Cremation by A Natural State Funeral Service & Crematory, 2620 West Main Street, Jacksonville, Arkansas, 72076. 501-982-3400.


  • James Wear Posted March 13, 2023 6:26 PM

    He was my best friend. I met him at the airport when he came to Arkansas as a post-doc. I got him hired at Philander Smith when I was teaching there part-time. He worked for me at the Veterans Administration. For many years we went to lunch together at least once a week.

  • Candace Hoggatt Posted March 13, 2023 6:41 PM

    Sending you all our love. I treasure memories of Indian dishes at your home in high school and your dad’s wonderful sense of humor.

  • Debora Knopp Posted March 13, 2023 6:57 PM

    So sorry for your loss. Hoping you find comfort during this time. Hugs to you.

  • Donna Thorpe Posted March 13, 2023 9:55 PM

    I worked with Nirmal at the VA and he was the sweetest person there. We always had interesting conversations and I greatly enjoyed our conversations. He will be greatly missed. Rest in peace dear friend.

  • Sara Elise Carder Posted March 13, 2023 10:11 PM

    I empathize 100% with the loss of your father aka loved one. Praying for your peace, comfort and understanding of his passing. Sincerely, Elise Carder, Chattanooga, TN

  • Bill Haynie Posted March 14, 2023 11:05 AM

    Sorry for your loss.

  • Sudheer Mallepally Posted March 16, 2023 9:19 AM

    Dr. Shastri was a very gentle person. I met him on my first job at Philander Smith College. He helped me very much during my initial years in Arkansas. We became very close over the years and shared many meals at each other’s homes. I have fond memories of spending time with their family during many thanksgivings and Christmas. Shastri family has treated us a one of their own. I consider him as a father figure and my children would refer him as Grandpa. I was planning on visiting him for the past few months, now I regret not visiting him. Words fail to express my deep sorrow. Take care Mrs. Shastri and rest of the family.

  • Bonnie Eans Posted March 20, 2023 8:05 PM

    Sorry for your loss. I enjoyed spending time with your family many years ago.

  • Jyothi and Ben McMinn Posted March 27, 2023 4:44 PM

    Very sorry to hear of the loss of your partner in life Rest in peace I can be reached at 5012473202. Love and best wishes Hope . Juothi McMinn

Sign Guestbook

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

A Natural State Funeral Service & Crematory