Jaleh Shariat-Panahi

Dr. Jaleh Shariat-Panahi, MD

Thursday, May 24th, 1945 - Thursday, August 20th, 2020
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Dr. Jaleh Shariat-Panahi, 75, of Kingston, New York, passed away in her home, early in the morning of August 20th, 2020, in the presence of family.

Jaleh was a singular human being.

Her story begins in Mashad, Iran, where she was born on May 24th, 1945, to her math- and poetry-loving father, Askari Movahed Shariat-Panahi, and her flame-haired, backgammon-maven mother, Narjes Binesh Shariat-Panahi. She was the eldest of five children and the apple of her parents’ eyes. She spent her early years in Semnan and her family eventually moved to Tehran, where she dazzled her teachers and classmates, and was often teacher’s pet.

A top student, Jaleh enrolled in the prestigious medical school program at Pahlavi University in Shiraz, Iran. One of very few female medical students at the time, she helped pave the way for other women into the field. In the early 1970’s, she moved to the United States to do her medical internship at the St. Francis Hospital in Miami Beach, Florida. She then completed a residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama – Birmingham and Montgomery campuses. She was trained by the modern-day father of internal medicine, Dr. Tinsley Harrison, with whom she developed a very close friendship and bond over the course of his mentorship. Dr. Harrison was quite vocal about the fact that Jaleh was his star pupil; a resident/fellow with “both beauty and brains.”

She met her future husband, Dr. Ali Madani, on a blind date set up by her friends in Alabama. In the span of a year, she was married and preparing to move up to Kingston, NY, where she would reside for most of her remaining life. Soon after her move, she gave birth to her first child. Within five and a half years, she had three additional children. She entered into a private practice in the same office space on Hurley Ave with her husband where she worked part-time so that she could still raise her rambunctious brood. Jaleh was the archetype of a soccer mom before the term was coined, and she spent countless hours filming on VHS tapes the many concerts, plays, track meets, and celebrations of her children. Despite being more than a handful, she showed them nothing but unconditional love and sacrifice until her last, dying breath. She similarly cared for the patients she saw. Many of them, in fact, became her life-long friends.

At the age of 42, Jaleh was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was blessed to have a successful surgery, performed by her husband, to remove her tumor.

Once her children were grown, Jaleh transitioned from private practice to serving as the director of the VA Clinic for Upstate NY (based in Kingston). She additionally travelled around the country to practice medicine in underserved rural communities such as Malone, NY, Decatur, TX, Newport, OR, and Johnstown, PA. Everywhere she worked, she practiced with compassion and made a tremendous impact on the people she served and worked with. She was a gifted diagnostician and absolutely loved the challenges of her job. She practiced for 49 years and even as recently as this past April, Jaleh continued to look for ways to return to serving her patients.

Not only was Jaleh a stellar mother and physician, but she was a 3rd degree black belt in Soo Bahk Do Moo Doo Kwan Karate. She loved swimming; her preferred stroke was the breaststroke. She was an enthusiastic dancer; even if the dance floor was empty, she would pull her friends and family onto it to get the party started. She enjoyed reading and watching the science fiction genre and whiled away many hours playing backgammon and Sudoku. She was passionate about travel and learning about cultures; she visited India, South Korea, Egypt, Germany, Turkey, and Quebec, just to name a few destinations. She often travelled singlehandedly with four children in tow. She was also a talented gardener; she regularly tended to her roses, daffodils, azaleas, lilacs, African violets, cacti, and orchids.

In 2009, at the age of 64, Jaleh started having trouble breathing and attributed it to mold allergies. In 2010, she learned that she was, in fact, experiencing a recurrence of her breast cancer. This time, it had progressed to the form of metastatic breast cancer, including metastases in her lungs and spine. Until 2020, she was able to manage her cancer with targeted hormone treatments and chemotherapy, until there were no treatment options left. Her persistent fight against metastatic breast cancer enabled her to celebrate two weddings, rejoice in the birth of five grandchildren, continue to treat patients all over the country, protest at the Women’s March in DC, and to attend countless family trips with her loved ones. She shared the stories of her cancer battle with the Serenity Campaign and walked the runway at New York Fashion Week as recently as February, 2019, to bring awareness to and raise funds for metastatic breast cancer research.

Jaleh Shariat-Panahi defined herself as a loving mother, dedicated doctor, spiritual Muslim, proud immigrant, long-time feminist, and tenacious cancer fighter. She was brilliant, compassionate, supportive, joyful, protective, generous, fierce, assertive, radiant, and heartbreakingly beautiful. She was also well-loved and respected by her friends, family, and community.

She is survived by her husband, Dr. M. Ali Madani, three daughters, Leila Madani, and her husband Gene DeCastro, of NYC, Mina Madani of New Orleans, LA, and Susanne Madani, and her husband Victor Maroun, of Montclair, NJ, one son, Cyrus Madani of Kingston, NY, two brothers, Mohammad Ali Movahed, and his wife Kitty, of Germany, Mohammad Reza Movahed, and his wife, Nooshin Hashemzadeh, of Arizona, and two sisters, Jila Movahed, of California, and Jinous Shariat-Panahi, and her husband Nasser Dezfouli, of Virginia. She also leaves behind five cherished grandchildren, Blake, Kai, Roxana, Zahra, and Kian.

She is predeceased by her father, Askari Movahed Shariat-Panahi, of Semnan, Iran, and her mother, Narjes Binesh Shariat-Panahi, also of Semnan, Iran.

The family gratefully entrusted the Gilpatric-VanVliet Funeral Home, 339 Broadway, Ulster Park, Town of Esopus, with the care and funeral arrangements for Jaleh.

In accordance with Shia Muslim tradition, Jaleh’s burial was at Wiltwyck Rural Cemetery, Kingston, on August 22, 2020.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making donations to METAvivor: an organization that focuses on funding research specifically for metastatic breast cancer.

Jaleh’s interview for the Serenity Campaign can be viewed at the following link near the bottom of the page.
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Service Details

  • Funeral Prayer and Burial

    Saturday, August 22nd, 2020 | 11:00am
    Saturday, August 22nd, 2020 11:00am
    Wiltwyck Rural Cemetery
    184 W O'Relly St
    Kingston, New York 12401
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Interment

    Saturday, August 22nd, 2020 | 11:00am
    Saturday, August 22nd, 2020 11:00am
    Wiltwyck Rural Cemetery
    184 W O'Reilly St
    Kingston, NY 12401
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Vanessa T

Posted at 09:09am
I’m very glad I got the chance to know her and spend time with her and the rest of the family few years back, she was always so kind and welcoming , a beloved mother and grandma who was constantly joyful to those around. I remember one day we were at the mall, chatting about life and she asked me about my plans for the future, and I said to her, now that I have learned English and I have someone waiting for me in Colombia, I’ll love to move with him to Canada, what sounded weird to me because I haven’t said that out loud. And she replied -That sounds great I’m sure you will make it- with that sweet grandma tone she had. I went back and I moved to Toronto three years ago and I will behold that moment as my favourite since she was the first person I shared that with.

Cindy Delavan

Posted at 11:08pm
I extend my sincere condolences to dear Dr. Madani and his loving family on the passing of Dr. Panahi. I only knew her
through the hospital and she was always so gracious and professional. A lovely lady. Her patients loved her.
May she be at peace.

Azita Kaffashan

Posted at 09:44pm
Dr. Madani, Leila, Mina and Susanne Joon, With deepest sympathies for the loss of dear Jaleh Khanoon. May you find comfort in your memories of her. She is deeply missed.

Bertie Cohen

Posted at 02:49pm
Dear Leila and family. So sorry you are going through such sad times. I keep track of you through pics on Facebook. Last week before your mother's passing I was talking to a friend about what a beautiful family you have. Thanks to your parents and your mother's legacy you have a life time of memories that will be loved and passed on to future generations. It is rare to experience such love. I didn't know your mother put thru pics and your stories I know she was an amazing, sassy, and loved person to all that knew her. It's OK to be sad because you feel closer to her thru these times and her memory will always live in you and your family. It is a special lesson you are teaching your children, how life really works. I miss you very much. Happy to know you are safe and healthy. I'm here for anything 24/7.
With love, Bertie

Leana Peltier

Posted at 08:24am
I remember your mother’s warm smile and her remarkable kindness. Whenever she asked a question about me or my life, it was because she sincerely wanted to know the answer. In those moments, she had a way of making me feel special. I send my heartfelt condolences to all those who loved Jaleh.

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