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Carroll County News

Chitrachedu Naganna, Carroll County doctor and philanthropist, remembered for his community service

Dr. Chitrachedu Naganna, a cardiologist who provided medical care to Carroll County patients since the 1970s, died Nov. 18 at the age of 80. Shortly before his death, he and his wife, Dr. Vimala Naganna, were named Persons of the Year for 2021 by Carroll Magazine for their contributions to the community.

“I think it was a great way to honor him,” his daughter, Dr. Latha Naganna-Fray, said. “I got the copy two days after he passed away.”


Carroll Magazine editor Kim Byrnes said when selecting Person of the Year, the magazine staff looks for people who impact the community, often times through philanthropy. Both the Nagannas have done that for many years, she sad.

Byrnes attended school with the Nagannas’ children, and was aware of their good deeds as a result, but “there was just so much they did that I just didn’t know about” until writing the magazine story.


While talking to Chitrachedu Naganna, Byrnes learned about his particular passion for mentoring Carroll County youths.


Vimala Naganna said when her husband was 8, his father died and his brother recruited him to work on the farm. That would have been his future profession, if not for the help of his sister and brother-in-law, who saw potential in young Chitrachedu, helping him to get an education instead.

Vimala and Chitrachedu met at Kurnool Medical College in Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India. She said it was “love at first sight,” and called him the smartest person in the whole school. The pair married in a small temple on Feb. 10, 1968.

The following year, the Nagannas moved to New York City. There they learned about the echocardiogram, a relatively new tool to monitor the heart. Chitrachedu taught medical professionals at Johns Hopkins Hospital how to use it and was offered a job there. His career took him next to Carroll Hospital in Westminster. Later, he and his wife opened the Carroll Heart Center, the family’s private practice.

Westminster became their hometown on Oct. 5, 1975.

“We came to Westminster with three little kids and got a house at Winchester Drive,” Vimala said.

All three of their children graduated from Westminster High School and later became healthcare professionals. Latha Naganna-Fray is a cardiologist, her brother, Shankar Naganna, works in internal medicine and her sister, Anitha Naganna Rangarajan, is a physical therapist. Latha and Shankar joined their parents working at Carroll Heart Center.

The Nagannas created a scholarship at McDaniel College to help students interested in careers in science, medicine or teaching. In the 1990s, they were among the founders of the Greater Baltimore Hindu-Jain Temple in Finksburg. And they recently donated $1 million to the Boys and Girls Club of Westminster.


Before his death, Chitrachedu Naganna was working on writing his autobiography. The family plans to finish the work and publish it.

The family of Dr. Chitrachedu Naganna, from left, son in law Aaron Fray, daughter, Dr. Latha Naganna-Fray, son in law Venkat Rangarajan, daughter Anitha Naganna Rangarajan, wife Dr. Vimala Naganna, daughter in law Karen Naganna and son Dr. Shankar Naganna are pictured in the Naganna's Westminster home Monday, Dec. 6, 2021.

Vimala said she and her husband visited 136 countries as well as Antarctica. They climbed the Great Wall of China, went paragliding in Australia and traveled to Siberia, Mongolia and South Korea.

“He always said Antarctica is his favorite,” Vimala said. “He wanted to go again.”

Chitrachedu’s wife and daughter described him as fun-loving, caring and a jokester who made many laugh.

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Naganna-Fray said her father developed close bonds with many of his patients. She said whenever she had to fill in for him at an appointment, they would be upset that her father was not taking care of them that day.

Dr. Mike Fiocco, a cardiac surgeon in Baltimore, lived down the street from the Naganna family when he was younger. When he became a doctor, Fiocco often shared patients with Naganna.


“He brought a lot to the community,” Fiocco said, adding that many physicians sought Naganna out for their own medical care.

“That really speaks to him as a physician when the doctors in the community go to him when they have their own medical problems,” he said.

Vimala Naganna said she will miss conversations with her husband, as well as time spent cooking and eating together, visiting their children and attending their grandchildren’s school functions.

Dr. Latha Naganna, whose father, Dr. Chitrachedu Naganna, died last month, said he loved his grandchildren more than anything.

“He’s the best company in every aspect of my life from morning to night,” Vimala Naganna said as she showed pictures of a parade held in honor of Chitrachedu in his hometown, Kotanka, India. He gave back to his birthplace by helping to build a high school, wedding hall and water filtration system there.

“He may have come from a ... small village, but he and my mom came here and embraced the country,” Latha said. “He always told us we can do anything.”