The man who was struck and killed by a van while out for a walk on Tuesday morning in Abbotsford is being remembered as a selfless individual with a kind and gentle heart.
Amarjit Singh Sidhu, 74, was adored in Abbotsford’s Indo-Canadian community for his tireless volunteer efforts and his devotion to helping others, said Satwinder Bains, director of the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies at University of the Fraser Valley.
“He was one of the most prolific volunteers that the gurdwara (Sikh temple) has ever had,” she said. “He was such a revered, honest human being. He had no airs about him.”
Sidhu was walking along Blueridge Drive, east of Townline Road, Tuesday at about 6:30 a.m. when he was struck by a GMC Safari van. He died at the scene, and police are still investigating the circumstances that led to the collision.
Sidhu had been an executive member for the past 10 years with the Khalsa Diwan Society, and most recently served as the group’s recording secretary.
Kabal Hundal, president of the society, said Sidhu served at the Khalsa Diwan Society Temple – located at 33094 South Fraser Way – every day.
He would arrive in the morning around 9 a.m. and stay until 6 or 7 p.m., doing anything that was needed, whether it was preparing food in the kitchen, greeting visitors, or cleaning floors.
“He was helpful to everybody. Whenever anyone asked for anything, he would do it,” Hundal said.
Sidhu was among the people instrumental in having the Gur Sikh Temple – located across the street from the Khalsa Diwan Society Temple – declared a national historic site in 2002. He also helped to organize 100th anniversary celebrations at the site last year, and volunteered at the heritage temple wherever needed.
But Norm Sangha, the society’s past president and current president of the Indo-Canadian Seniors’ Association, said Sidhu will best be remembered for his kind soul.
“When people came to the temple, he would ask very politely, ‘What would you like to eat? Can I prepare you some tea?’ … We don’t know how we will find another person like him, who devoted his life to the temple.”
Sangha said Sidhu moved to Canada 17 years ago from Punjab, India and settled in Abbotsford. He was a bookkeeper until his retirement two years ago, and worked in the evenings so that he could serve at the temple during the day.
He has two sons and three daughters, all married and living in Abbotsford. His wife died on Jan. 4 of this year when she had a heart attack while visiting family in India.
Hundal said Sidhu’s death is a “huge loss” to the community, as he did so much for others without asking for anything in return.
“It was just his nature – some people want to do good for others.”
The funeral will be held this Sunday at 10 a.m. at Abbotsford Arts Centre (2329 Crescent Way), followed by a prayer service at 2 p.m. at the Khalsa Diwan Society Temple (33094 South Fraser Way).