Santokh (Tok) Singh Herar passed away suddenly on Nov. 20. He was 84.
Tok was born in Jalandhar, India, and came to Mission in 1952. He and his wife Kuldip were committed to their new community.
“Tok was an iconic figure in our community and he will be missed,” said Mission Mayor Randy Hawes, who noted Tok spent six decades serving Mission.
Tok’s son, Ken Herar, said his father did a lot of philanthropy in the community.
“He helped build the crematorium in Mission and in the early years, in the ’70s, he worked not only in Mission but in Abbotsford, helping the Sikh temple gain heritage status.”
Tok was always involved in multiple community projects.
“He was a long-time Rotarian, 56 years of perfect attendance. He was a freemason as well. He did that for 55 years,” Ken said.
“He was a community spirit person. He was good to Mission and Mission was good to him. It was a perfect combination.”
Tok had many talents, was a successful business man – he was a leading insurance agent for many decades, setting business records – and was also an accomplished athlete.
He was a soccer, tennis and badminton player and mentored many people in the community, but none more than his three sons.
“He had time to mentor us and, through that mentorship, we learned how to be engaged with the community… He was our life coach,” Ken said.
“Dad was a real go-getter and we had to be the same way. If we weren’t doing anything, he’d be on us. ‘Go do something,’ he’d say.”
Tok’s passing came as a surprise to his family and the community.
“We didn’t expect this. It was a sudden thing. He wasn’t ill, it just kind of happened. It’s a big loss for our community.”
Looking back, Ken said his dad was always proud of the community.
“He was involved in almost every footprint of the community in some way.”
And the community recognized Tok for his service.
He has a street named after him – Herar Lane, just off Cherry Avenue and Stave Lake Street.
“He was really proud of that, that the community got that done.”
And he always had a kind word for everyone.
“He wasn’t afraid to tell you he was proud of you. That says a lot about somebody who can say good things about other people. He was just a genuine, kind-hearted person.”
Tok was passionate about diversity and how important it is that we all live together and respect our natural differences.
“He was really proud of Cycling4Diversity. He was passionate about people coming together,” Ken said, of the initiative he began to promote acceptance.
Funeral services for Tok Herar are being held Nov. 26 at 3 p.m. at the Fraser River Funeral Home, located at 2061 Riverside Rd. in Abbotsford.