Hotelier Ashok Patel Passes Away on Wednesday Night, His Ashes To Be Spread on Grandfather Mountain

Published Friday, January 11, 2013 at 12:21 pm
Patel

Patel

By Jesse Wood

Jan. 11, 2013. Local hotelier Ashok Patel passed away on Wednesday night.

Born in Loughborough, England, on Nov. 29, 1958, Patel was 54. He was the son of Maganlal and Sudhaben Patel, both of Gujarat, India.  

After he graduated from the London University’s Royal College of Science, Patel took a vacation to the U.S. with his father more than 30 years ago. He arrived in Boone and never left.  

“He loved it up here. It was his favorite place to be,” his son Justin Patel said. “He always said that when he started coming up the mountain, he knew he was home.”

It also took him nearly 30 years to become an American citizen, which finally happened in 2009. He had been living in the U.S. for years on an entrepreneur visa.

In 2006, he told the Mountain Times that he could have become an American citizen much quicker if he had chosen the illegal route. However, that wasn’t the way Patel did things.     

“Ashok was a loving husband and wonderful father. He spent the past 30 years helping to improve the growth of Boone through the development of many lodging facilities,” according to his obituary. “He also spent many years giving back to the community through the Boone Civitan Club and the High Country Soccer Association.” 

His death comes nearly one month after speaking before the Boone Town Council and blasting the town for its Unified Development Ordinance; its “pet-project” usage of the occupancy tax; and just the actions of town officials in general.

According to the letter he read to the Boone Town Council, the La Quinta Inn and Suites, Sleep Inn, Best Western, Country Inn and Suites, Super 8, Red Carpet Inn, Highland Hills Motel and Scottish Inn were family companies.

The past few years have been tough on Patel. Bryson Cox drowned behind the Red Carpet Inn after a culvert, hidden due to a flood, sucked the 7-year-old boy into Kraut Creek in August 2010. The Town of Boone cited one of Patel’s family companies for creek erosion issues.

In spring 2011, the town condemned the Scottish Inn, which had an $850,000 mortgage. The condemnation affected the cash flow of his other hotel businesses because of loans on those other companies.

The financial problems snowballed from there. His family recently lost the Hampton Inn to the bank and was sued by Hampton Inn for $500,000 for liquidating damages regarding the franchise agreement.

All of this took a toll on Patel, his son said, when asked if stress from the lawsuits and problems with the town took a toll on the elder Patel.

“Obviously,” Justin Patel said. “But in the end, he never harbored bad feelings towards anyone.”    

The cause of death hasn’t been determined as of Friday morning.

Patel was a savvy businessmen and a hard worker, and it wasn’t uncommon for him to put in 24 hours a day at his hotels.

“He worked his whole life to make our family financially better,” Justin Patel said. “It was his whole goal for everybody to be secure at the end of his life.”

The family has requested private services.

Justin Patel said his father’s ashes will be spread atop Grandfather Mountain.

“It was a special place for him,” he said. “He would take his kids up there all the time.” 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Watauga County Humane Society.

Obituary

Ashok Patel

Ashok Patel, 54, of Loganville, Ga., and formerly of Boone, NC, passed away January 9, 2013.

He was born in Loughborough, England, on November 29, 1958, the son of Maganlal Patel of Dungri, Gujarat, India and the late Sudhaben Patel of Vankaner, Gujarat, India.

Ashok was a loving husband and wonderful father. He spent the past 30 years helping to improve the growth of Boone through the development of many lodging facilities. He also spent many years giving back to the community through the Boone Civitan Club and the High Country Soccer Association. He received his long awaited American citizenship on April 24, 2009. He loved the High Country and it was the only place he ever called home.

He is survived by his wife of 4 years, Linda Muzquiz, of Loganville, Ga.; father, Maganlal Patel, of Dungri, Gujarat, India; sons, Jason Ashok Patel, of Raleigh, NC, and Justin Ashok Patel, of Boone, NC; daughter, Selina Patel of Boone, NC; mother of his children, Jill Atfield, of Boone, NC; sister, Sangita Nelson, of Boone, NC; niece, Sarina Patel, of Boone, NC; nephew, Shaynan Patel, of Wellingborough, England; step-sister Sharda Bose, of Edison, NJ; and step-mother Urmila Patel, of Leicester, England. He is also survived by his wife’s family, who loved him dearly: mother and father-in-Law, Mary Ann and Fernando Muzquiz, of Loganville, Ga; brothers-in-law, Michael Muzquiz of Loganville, Ga, and Fernando Muzquiz, of Cheyenne, Wy.

In addition, there are cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, too numerous to list, who were loved by Ashok and will miss him.

Family has requested private services; however, his ashes will be spread at Grandfather Mountain where people can go if they would like to remember him.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Watauga County Humane Society.

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