Prito Kaur Purewal of Yuba City, passed away at home surrounded by her family on December 6, 2023. She was 94. She was a treasured member of our family and will be celebrated for her love, strength and unwavering compassion. Prito Kaur Purewal belongs to the pioneering generation of women who helped create Yuba City's Punjabi-American community. Arriving in Yuba City in 1962, Prito raised five children as she worked alongside her husband, Udham Singh Purewal, in contributing to the success of the Purewal peach business. For decades, Prito Kaur was an active member of the Tierra Buena Sikh Temple. Along with her circle of devoted and cherished friends and family, she was a vital part of the temple's kitchen volunteers. There they tirelessly and cheerfully prepared countless meals that were enjoyed by all. She also had a reputation as a talented cook. Her bean daal and her stuffed bitter melons were legendary as was everything else she prepared. Prito's true love, besides her family, was her garden. She tilled, planted, watered and lovingly picked ripened okra, tomatoes, eggplants and other vegetables. Those vegetables were transformed into hearty meals, frozen away to be enjoyed by our family throughout the year and shared with countless friends and family. Though most of her life was spent as a homemaker, when it came to the family business of growing peaches, she was a true partner to her husband. Throughout the summer harvest, she laced up her sneakers and headed out to do her shift grading peaches. However long of a day her husband would put in, Prito was right there with him.
Born in a village in western Punjab, she was raised in a Sikh farming family on land that became a part of Pakistan in 1947. Her parents, Lashman Singh and Sham Kaur, raised six children: four daughters and two sons. As one of the eldest sisters, Prito shouldered many responsibilities, such as performing the household chores and taking care of her younger siblings. As a teenager, she and her family made the harrowing Partition trek along with millions of others to present day Punjab. She recalled the horrors of the time and still spoke of the family dog that had to be left behind. Prito was married in 1950 to Udham Singh Purewal and waited six long years in India with her two young sons until her husband could establish himself and provide for his family in a new country. During this time, Prito's husband, Udham, and his brother, Bakhtawar Singh Purewal, had formed a partnership growing peaches in Yuba City. At last, on April 4,1962, she arrived in the United States with her two eldest sons, Rashpal (10) and Narinder (8). Adjusting to her new life was made easier by the presence of Harbhajan Kaur Purewal, her sister-in-law, who had arrived in Yuba City before her. Both Purewal families lived together for years and separated only when the two families' ten children outgrew their home. Despite the fact that Prito Kaur never attended school, she earned her United States citizenship. Her daughter, Sukhcharanjeet (Sharon), who was only in grammar school at the time, helped her mother achieve this goal after years of studying. After obtaining her citizenship, Prito sponsored the families of her three sisters and two brothers to the US. Prito even traveled to India to assist her elderly parents in completing the long journey to America to be reunited with their family. Prito Kaur is survived by two sons, Rashpal (Pirtpal) Purewal and Satnaum (Ajit) Purewal, two daughters, Sukhcharanjeet (Daljit) Dhaliwal and Sukhjit (Geoff) Purewal; a brother Joginder Singh Bassi of Kentucky; a sister, Avtar Kaur Dosanjh of Yuba City; ten grandchildren, Ajeet (Manjinder) Phagura, Naubjeet Purewal, Jugjeet Purewal, Brandy (Theodore) Avis, Anthony (Lisa) Courtney, Aman (Hardeep) Johal, Tarin Dhaliwal, Samata La Barth, Simran Purewal and Darshan Purewal and six great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents Lashman Singh and Sham Kaur Bassi, her husband Udham Singh Purewal, a son Narinder (Wally) Purewal, a brother Kewal Singh Bassi and two sisters Nasib Kaur Samra and Gurmit Kaur Samra. Services will be conducted Wednesday, December 13, 2023 at 11:00 am at Ullrey Memorial Chapel. Final prayers will follow at Tierra Buena Sikh Temple, Yuba City. In lieu of flowers, we request donations be made to your favorite charity this holiday season, including Freedom Home Health and Hospice Care and Family Soup.