Deso Jagdish Kour

Date of Birth:
1945
Birthplace:
Vancouver, BC
Current City:
Vancouver, BC

Deso Jagdish Kour Dusange Hood was born in Vancouver General Hospital on Jan 13, 1945. She was raised in Vancouver, attended Henry Hudson School and lived on 4th avenue until her father made the decision for the family to move to a farm in Dewdney, BC. After finishing kindergarten when Deso moved to the farm, she recalls life being very busy as they had to do all the chores and help with the farm operations like plowing the corn, etc. A big part of her and her family’s life was also attending the gurdwara and going to the Abbotsford Sikh Temple. She recalls the journey to Abbotsford as being pretty long and that they used to stay overnight at the temple.

During the summer vacations, her family used to visit Harrison Hot Springs and Vancouver – Pacific National Exhibition, Stanley Park and Kitsilano Beach, etc. When she was in grade 8, her father decided to sell the farm and move to Vancouver. Deso shares that in those days, it was very common in East Indian families to stop sending the girls to school after grade 8, but her father was a very big proponent of education, and encouraged Deso and her sister Ranjit to finish their education and become involved at school. After graduating from high school, Deso went on to study at UBC.

Deso still remembers an incident she encountered when she was around 10 and in grade 4. At school, Deso punched one of the kids called who her a “Hindu.” After she returned home, her mother was very upset and made her understand that Sikh and Hindus are all one and that she was not to get aggressive.

While she was completing her University studies, one day she went to the employment office to help her get a job, but the staff was very racist and kept her waiting for hours, after which they refused to attend to her. Nevertheless, Deso stood her ground and again went the next day, kept waiting and was finally attended by the staff and given a job interview at a company. When she went for the job interview the following day, the interviewer just kept asking her questions about the Sikh religion and in the end, didn’t give her the job. Finally, she got another interview at an insurance company – who used to be involved with a lot of international students – and got the job within seconds. A few years later, Deso married to an English fellow, had three kids, and once they were grown up, she again started working and joined the City of Delta’s payroll department. She worked there for 25 years.

Deso has been married for 53 years and retired about 5 years ago. Deso shares that when they were growing up, Deso always took her children to the gurudwara and tried to expose them to both cultures – Sikh, Punjabi and English. She continues to maintain a healthy lifestyle and does swimming, skating and other athletic activities. She often reflects upon the hard work her father did as it was not easy to raise 9 children and at the same time send his savings to his family in India. She is really proud of her father, who did so well for him and his family, and established a successful business empire in Canada, despite the fact that he didn’t speak fluent English.

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