Sardarni Balwant Kaur Maan, passed away on November 3, 2023, in the comfort of her own home in Yuba City, CA. She was born in the village of Leehan in the district of Ludhiana in Punjab, India on September 8, 1934. In Punjab, Balwant, also known as "Jeeto", was a farmer and the household manager. She hand-picked cotton at the family farm, tended to and milked the family cows and buffalos, supporting household milk needs but also commercial sales the family would profit from. She would also walk a 3-mile round trip to the family farm, at least twice a day to take food for her family and their farm workers for breakfast and lunch. She managed the household, making three meals a day from scratch for her family and completing tasks daily like hand washing household clothes and cleaning the home, while raising her three children and taking care of her extended family. In 1974, her daughter Jasminder migrated to the United States. At the age of 45, Balwant Kaur, her late husband, Bhag Maan, and their sons joined her in the Yuba-Sutter area on August 8, 1979. Beginning in Punjab and continuing in America, Balwant's grit and hard work helped support her family's pursuit of a better life, paving the way for generations to come. Along with her family she initially did seasonal farm labor outside of Yuba City for a few months a year. During this time, she would wake up before everyone else and make food from scratch for breakfast and lunch to-go in preparation for grading peaches from 6:00 AM until the afternoon. After this, she would provide her family the opportunity to rest the remainder of the day, while she would make another meal from scratch for them, clean/manage the home, and hand wash the household clothes. Balwant and her family worked hard and saved up money. In May of 1982, using this money, they purchased the Neighborhood Store on South George Washington Blvd., south of Yuba City, which they owned until 2019. At this time, Balwant began dedicating her time to helping raise her grandkids and continuing to support the household, including cooking and cleaning. Using store profits, Balwant's family had also purchased Walnut orchards, where she enjoyed pulling mustard plants to use in making one of her favorite Punjabi dishes, Saag.
Balwant's legacy is one marked by strength, hard work, perseverance, love, compassion and family. She believed in the humanity of all and in helping and giving to those in need. When living in Punjab, she would grow vegetables and donate them to anyone in need. During a visit to Punjab, upon hearing an impoverished village couple's plight, she generously took off her gold earrings and gave them to the couple as a helping hand. Although she had deeply close and meaningful relationships with her grandkids, whom she helped raise, it was said she was "everyone's" Grandma. Balwant endured struggles but remained steadfast, openly, freely and genuinely providing love, support and joy to anyone that needed it, from family to friends, pets, neighbors and others in the community. Through her love and support, all of her grandchildren worked hard and achieved success. Her grandchildren also describe her as one of the funniest people they knew, and as someone who cherished them unconditionally, always excited to see and greet them with the warmest smile. Balwant spent her spare time praying and going to the Sikh temple, cooking Punjabi food and dessert dishes such as Kheer, gardening and spending time with family. Her love for her family and friends was what she cared about most. She was surrounded by family until her passing, living with her son, Harminder, daughter-in-law, Karmjit and their children. She is survived by her daughter, Jasminder Johl; her sons, Harminder, and Harjinder Maan; niece, Jasminder Kaur; and her grandchildren, Kamaldeep Johl, Baldeep Johl, Harpreet Maan, Dr. Harjot Maan, Jasjot Maan, Sukhdeep Maan, Dr. Pavandeep Maan, Mankush Basra, Dilkirit Singh, and Bhavkaran Kaur. A funeral and prayer service is scheduled at 11 am on Sunday, November 12, 2023, at Ullrey Memorial Chapel in Yuba City. Bhog services and langar will follow at the Sri Guru Nanak Sikh Temple on Bogue Road in Yuba City.