August 28, 1927 – July 11, 2018
Surjeet Kaur Braich (nee Sekhon), born August 28, 1927 in Dhillwan, India to Terlochan Singh and Taj Kaur passed away peacefully in the arms of her children at Mission Memorial Hospital on July 11, 2018. First a beloved daughter and sister, then a prodigious student earning a fine arts degree and mastering 5 languages, Surjeet’s journey truly began when in 1953 she wed Herman Singh Braich Sr., a well-established and respected businessman, and settled in Mission, BC where she raised 6 children; sons Erwin, Herman Jr., Jim, Bobby (April), Kenny (Chelsi) and daughter Reita.
As a doting mother, she demanded that her children remain respectful, well-mannered and excel in their academic and athletic endeavors. From 5 o’clock in the morning hockey practices, basketball in gymnasiums all over the province to the winner’s circle at thoroughbred racetracks across the continent, Surjeet loved the competitive spirit of all sport and appreciated the good fight. This drive and fearlessness in the face of opposition served her well as she supported her husband’s work and with their combined ambition strove to build on their family’s reputation and success in business and in the community. Together, they played an integral role in bringing many Sikh families to BC, sponsoring their immigration from India and ensuring that on arrival they had employment, homes and the opportunity to build a new life in Canada.
After Herman Sr.’s untimely death in 1976, Surjeet proudly dedicated herself to his pioneering legacy and continued to represent him with unwavering grace, class, and charm until her final hour. Throughout her lifetime, Surjeet insisted that the family contribute to community projects spearheading significant donations to the development of the Mission Sports Park, the Mission Crematorium and most humbly, the Mission Sikh Temple.
Surjeet loved architecture and it can be safely said that not an inch of the original Temple’s building or grounds was completed until it met her exacting standards. Her contribution to the design and building of the Temple was deeply fulfilling to her spiritually and its beauty a testament to her intelligence and character. Her commitment to her faith did not end with the opening ceremonies in 1989 as in 2011, Surjeet designed and funded the building of a majestic gazebo for the congregation to enjoy sunny afternoons outdoors and dedicated it in the memory of her son Jim whom she lost to leukemia.
Though Surjeet will be remembered for her regal bearing, timeless beauty and impeccable taste, it is how much she loved to laugh that we will remember most; how she fancied singing and dancing at weddings, and of course, her legendary culinary skills. She was fiercely protective of her kitchen and insisted on cooking for anybody and everybody, at any time, unless of course, the news was on! Finally, her greatest gift may well be the lesson’s she taught in the face of life’s greatest trials. First, the staggering loss of her husband leaving her in a foreign land at age 48 with 6 young children and second, the crushing heartbreak of losing two of her sons, Jim in 2009 and Herman Jr. in 2012. Devastated but not defeated, Surjeet’s unwavering faith in God and family let her remain strong and stoic as she endured these times and nothing provided more joy and solace than watching her treasured grandchildren, Talia, EJ, Leni, Petey, Steve, Rachel, Riley, Bradley and Natalie flourish. Sadly, a stroke and vascular dementia captured Surjeet long before God called her home and she slowly retreated to a quiet, peaceful domain of her own.
The family would like to express their gratitude to the many relatives and friends who reached out in support and the medical staff at Mission and Abbotsford Hospitals. And a special “thank you” is extended to The Residence at Mission care facility staff whom embraced “Auntie” like she was one of their own.
In keeping with Surjeet’s wishes, the family will be holding a private service and respectfully request that in lieu of cards and flowers a donation be made in her honour to a charity of their choice. Mom, we adored you, we salute you and we promise to fulfil your dreams! It warms our hearts to know you’ll still be watching. Waheguru.