Gurpal Kaur Bhangoo
Gurpal Kaur was born January 18, 1934 in Karnal, India, in the home of her Nanaji, Harnam Singh, and her Naniji, Punjab Kaur. Her Nanaji lived in the bungalow she was born in as part of his position as Superintendent of the Dairy and Cattle Breeding Operations for the Government of British India. This operation in Karnal was one of two such facilities in India at the time, the other being in Anand near Mumbai. The previous superintendent was Mr. Lamb and the bungalow was referred to from then on as “The Lamb House”. Gurpal’s father, Gurcharan Singh, and mother, Harinder Kaur, lived in Karnal as well, as Gurcharan Singh worked in the dairy management. Eventually Nanaji and his family returned to Marauli, his ancestral village. Gurpal was the first grandchild born in this large, loving family, so she quickly became everyone’s favorite. She was much loved and cherished, with her mamaji’s often fighting who could carry her. Her mamaji’s took her everywhere with them, to weddings and the bazaar, which wasn’t common practice at that time. As a result, Gurpal had many happy memories of this time and was close to all these relatives for the rest of her life. Gurpal’s father came from the village Kalewal, near Chandigarh. Gurpal’s paternal grandfather, Sardar Naranjan Singh was a teacher and greatly valued education. He started a school in the village which eventually became a high school.
Gurpal’s father later served in the British Indian Army and after retiring, had a flour mill in Morinda. Gurpal went at a boarding school in Roper after the fifth grade and eventually obtained her teacher’s certification. She married Sajjan Singh Bhangoo in December, 1957. In 1958, she had her first son, Harbir, who sadly passed away in 1994. While Sajjan Singh left India in 1962 to establish himself in England, Gurpal remained with her family, raising her son and teaching in the local school. In 1964, she and Harbir moved to Nova Scotia, Canada where Sajjan got a job as a teacher. At that time, they were the first immigrants in that town and the town welcomed them warmly. Eventually they would move to Ontario, where she had her second son, Jasbir (or Jessie) and daughter Robinder (Ruby). They lived for many years in Windsor Ontario, where Sajjan taught at Essex High School and they were respected members of the Sikh Community and were integral in establishing the guardwara there.
In the last thirty years, they lived first in New Hampshire and then in Carmichael, California and have happily added to the family when Ruby married Randip Singh. Gurpal was overjoyed welcoming her three grandchildren, Gia, Rania and Soren and these three were the only ones to bring a smile on her face in her last days. Family was most important to her above all else and living with honor and integrity. She was seen as a graceful, elegant and gentle woman who was kind and warm to all who met her. After a long and active life, her health began to drop in the last 10 months, but she was clear in her thinking to the end. In the last several weeks, her condition worsened quickly and she passed away Wednesday, August 11th at Mercy San Juan hospital. The one solace is that she slipped away quietly and did not suffer. She is survived by her husband of almost 64 years, Sajjan Singh and her children Jessie, Ruby and Randip; and beloved grandchildren Gia, Rania and Soren, as well as extended family and friends. She was loved by all and will be missed greatly.
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