Asa Singh Johal, a pioneer, a lumber baron, a philanthropist passes away at the age of 98
Los Angeles, July 07, 2021
Balwant Sanghera/ NRIpress.club/Ramesh/ A.Gary Singh Grewal
A prominent member of our community, a pioneer, a lumber baron, a philanthropist and a very proud Canadian has left us for his heavenly abode. Recipient of Order of British Columbia and Order of Canada, Asa Singh Johal, passed away on July 5, 2021.
Our pioneers set foot on Canadian soil more than 130 years ago. Since then they have worked very hard in the growth and development of the South Asian community and their adopted country, Canada. As a result of their struggles and sacrifices, our community has achieved a prominent place in Canada. Due to their efforts, to-day, our community has become as one of the most visible, resilient, generous and powerful ones in this country. We owe all of this to those brave, hardworking, visionary trailblazers of our community. India Cultural Centre of Canada Gurdwara Nanak Niwas’ Chairman Asa Singh Johal was one of those respected pioneers.
Asa Singh Johal came to Canada with his parents at a very young age in 1926. He started working at age 14. Mr. Johal was keenly interested in the lumber business from an early age. This prompted him to start his own business. After years of hard work and perseverance he established himself as a major player in the lumber industry.
Eventually, Asa Singh Johal became as one of the most prominent lumber barons in this province. His company Terminal Forest Products Ltd.and other companies have provided employment to thousands of workers over the years. Not only that, Mr. Johal and his family have donated millions of dollars to a lot of worthwhile causes. These include Children’s Hospital, Vancouver General Hospital, U.B.C., Richmond Hospital, BC Cancer Society and many others. The Johal family was kind enough to build an impressive auditorium at Government Girls Secondary School in his native village Jandiala in Jalandhar District. Asa Singh Johal and his family’s contribution to building and supporting India Cultural Centre of Canada Gurdwara Nanak Niwas on # 5 Road in Richmond has just been amazing.
In view of the growing needs, Gurdwara Nanak Niwas was in need of a bigger kitchen for the Langar Hall. Mr. Johal and his family were kind enough to take care of this huge project. The Gurdwara Management Committee is very thankful to Mr. Johal and his family for this. On April 11, 2021, the Committee honoured Mr. Johal and Mrs. Kashmir Kaur Johal with plaques for their on-going support and dedication in serving this place of worship and our community. Their generosity is very much appreciated.
Asa Singh Johal was a very hard working, disciplined and punctual person. He treated everyone with great respect. This extra ordinary man was a great example of rags to riches story. Johal never forgot his culture, his heritage and this great country Canada that gave him an opportunity to reach these heights. Asa Johal loved Canada, a country that gave him a chance to be a very successful businessman and a proud citizen.
Asa Singh Johal leaves behind his loving wife Kashmir Kaur Johal, son Darshy, daughter-in-law Manjit, daughter Geven Oppal, son-in –law Avtar Oppal, six grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. We, at India Cultural Centre of Canada Gurdwara Nanak Niwas, express our sincere condolences with the Johal family. We pray that the departed soul may rest in peace. An Akhand Paath Sahib will begin at the Gurdwara on Friday, July 9. The Bhog will take place on Sunday, July 11 at 5 PM. Further information can be obtained by phoning the Gurdwara Sahib at 604-274-7479.
Balwant Singh Sanghera, General Secretary, India Cultural Centre of Canada Gurdwara Nanak Niwas, 8600 #5 Road, Richmond