Afternoon Newsletter

‘It’s a sad day in Fresno.’ Sikh leader mourned by community and colleagues

A Fresno Sikh leader who died in a car crash was on her way to do her radio show, a project she had been passionate about for 32 years, according to the station’s manager.

Guddi Sidhu was one of the founding members of KBIF 900, an AM radio station that programs a number of shows in multiple languages, manager Tony Donato said.

“All of a sudden after 32 years, 52 weeks a year, we won’t be doing her show,” Donato said Tuesday. “It’s just a shock we’re trying to comprehend.”

The 70-year-old, whose legal name was Jasbir Kaur Sidhu, was killed in a crash just after 2 p.m. Sunday near Ashlan and Cornelia avenues, according to investigators. The driver lost control before the car overturned and crashed into a PG&E cable, police said.

Sidhu hosted a weekend show that covered a wide range of topics from playing popular foreign music to interviews with doctors and cultural figures, according to Donato. The show played on the radio in the Central San Joaquin Valley, and internationally online and through a smartphone app.

“Guddi was a great person, kind, had a lot of class. She’d do anything for you,” he said. “It’s just a terrible loss not only for the community but for the radio show as well.”

Donato said the radio team is looking at ways to honor Sidhu and expects to play religious music this weekend during her normal time slot.

Sidhu was known to start Punjabi-language classes to keep the language alive in American-born children. Members of the Sikh community reacted to her death on Twitter.

“One of the strongest Sikh women in the Fresno Sikh community who stayed persistent and was one of the only women on the Gurdwara committee here — it’s a sad day in Fresno,” Sumrit Grewal tweeted.

Jasjit Singh, a member of an organization called California Changelawyers, tweeted that Sidhu would live on in memories.

“I’m at a loss for words. Guddi Sidhu aunty was a strong, influential and amazing Sikh woman in the Fresno Sikh community,” he wrote. “She was my teacher, but she taught us more than Punjabi — she taught us to be kind, honest and caring.”

The Sikh Institute of Fresno, where Sidhu served as vice president, is also planning events to honor her.

Related stories from Merced Sun-Star

Reporter Thaddeus Miller has covered cities in the central San Joaquin Valley since 2010, writing about everything from breaking news to government and police accountability. A native of Fresno, he joined The Fresno Bee in 2019 after time in Merced and Los Banos.