August 15, 2020
The family of Gurdev (“Devvie”) Kaur Sundhu sadly announces the passing of our mother on Saturday, August 15, 2020 at Vancouver. Mom was born in Chakkar Village, Punjab, India.
The tranquility of family life was shattered by the extreme communal violence that accompanied the partition of the Punjab into Pakistan and India.
She became separated from and lost her entire family. There began a remarkable life journey of courage, perseverance and adaptation.
She was married to the late Rattan Singh Sundhu who immigrated to Canada in the early 1950’s and she joined him shortly thereafter. They worked on a family farm in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley before settling in Williams Lake in the late 1950’s.
They were a pioneering Punjabi couple: hard working, conscientious of setting a good immigrant example, and building a good life for their son and daughter.
When our father suffered a severe brain injury in 1968, with two young children, no disability income and a disabled husband, she took up work outside the home to support our family.
She worked her way up from a hotel laundry, to dishwasher and restaurant cook. She could not read and write, and memorized all the food orders – she was amazing. We say, she fed most of Williams Lake at one time or another with her cooking skills.
In 2003, after nearly 45 years in Williams Lake, Mom moved to Kamloops to be closer to her grandchildren. With her outgoing personality, she made a lot of friends and was active in the Punjabi and wider community.
In 2011, she made her final move to reside near her daughter in Vancouver, again making many friends in her neighbourhood.
In 2018, Mom was interviewed on her life story. She revealed painful recollection of the loss of her entire family, the horrors of partition violence, and her experiences in Canada.
Mom was thoroughly a proud Canadian, she said, “We worked hard, Canada gave us everything.” She never returned to visit India once she stepped foot on Canadian soil.
Our Mom was a real character: gregarious, enjoyed attending Blazer and BC Lions games, passionate about ice hockey, could be heard swearing at professional wrestling villians on tv, opinionated about politics, with a green thumb, a go-getter, a feminist ahead of her time, outspoken, God-fearing,
tough, she could put up a fence, knew how to pound a hammer, or shovel snow in -40 below temperatures.
Many considered her to be a matriarch of the community. Mom cared deeply about her family and right to the end gave generously of her love, caring and assistance to us and to her grandchildren.
Gurdev Kaur Sundhu was predeased by her husband (Rattan Singh 1978), and survived by her son Bill (Satwinder), daughter Sandra (John), grandchildren Ellora and Sachin, and one surviving sister Niamit whom she discovered after 72 years, in 2019.
Funeral Service and Cremation has taken place. A Ceremonial Sikh “Phog” will take place in Kamloops at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Heart and Stroke Foundation or a charity of your choice.
Link to Memorial/Obituary page:
- Canadian Evergreen
- Submit News Tip
- Trending Now
- Photo Galleries
- Special Sections
- Contact Us
- Newspaper Archives
- Site Map