Local Sikh leader and TV show host killed in crash in Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A fatal weekend accident has left a large void in Fresno's Sikh community.

Guddi Sidhu was loved and admired by many as "everyone's auntie." She was a regular at all Sikh celebrations and business grand openings.

Sidhu was vice president of Fresno's Sikh Institute. She also hosted TV and radio and programs.

"She was really a cultural ambassador. She was instrumental on making sure the new generation and first-born American generation, that we held on to our roots, that we never forgot our religion," said Shawn Kaleka.

Kaleka was among the thousands of kids Sidhu has taught in Punjabi class. She passed along lessons of language and culture.

On Sunday, Sidhu was killed after her vehicle veered off the road and hit a power pole at Ashlan and Cornelia. No one else was with her.

"It's a tremendous loss for our community. We're feeling as if we have lost our mother. She was truly a pillar," Kaleka said.

Guddi Sidhu also started the Sikh Women's Organization, but her work extended beyond her own community.

She also helped raise money for the Marjaree Mason Center, which assists victims of domestic violence.

"Specifically in the south Asian community, it's not talked about so the fact that she was willing to be outspoken. She had the respect of her community. She was really the community matriarch," said community member, Nicole Linder.

"I heard her say one time if I don't speak up, who else will?" Kaleka said.

Guddi Sidhu was 70 years old. She is survived by her husband and three children.

Her funeral is set for Saturday at 11 a.m. at Tinkler Funeral Chapel in central Fresno.

Final prayers will be held at the Sikh Institute at 1 p.m.
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