PENDHARKAR, Sudha (née Pandit)
June 11, 1932 — December 31, 2021
Sudha Pendharkar, she was born June 11, 1932 in Dar es Salam, Tanganyika and died December 31, 2021, in Kelowna, BC.
Sudha’s father was employed in Tanganyika in East Africa – while she and her three younger siblings were all born there, they were raised in India in a household led by women – her young mother and her auntie. In 1953, she married Murli Pendharkar and the young couple moved back to Tanganyika to launch Murli’s teaching career and to start their family. Three children were born in quick succession: Shashank “Shaz” in 1955, Milind in 1958, and Madhuri in 1960. Murli’s employment in a British school came to an end when Tanganyika sought independence from Britain, he was able to secure employment in rural Saskatchewan, Canada.
Sudha’s life changed from living in a warm country with help, in the house and with the children, to being in a completely foreign land with three children under five years of age, no household help, and winter on the doorstep. Sudha had an incredible talent of making the best of any situation. She quickly made life-long friends, learned how to make Indian food with Canadian ingredients, mastered Canadian cooking and baking, and became hostess extraordinaire to friends, family, Murli’s work and political associates, and anyone who happened to stop by the house. Murli’s career took the family to many places in Saskatchewan and British Columbia, and wherever they went Sudha made lasting friendships, hosted amazing tea parties, lunches, dinners and parties. Sudha loved entertaining, as much as friends and family loved to be entertained by her. Social connection was her strength and even when friends and family were far away she kept in touch, memorizing masses of phone numbers and using them regularly – no need for social media – she was a social force with her phone in hand. Sudha loved to be creative, often joining art clubs and women’s social groups where she learned ceramics, pottery, quilting, knitting, and other creative arts. She embraced any excuse to decorate and throw a party – birthdays, anniversaries, Diwali, Christmas, New Year’s Eve were just a few reasons to get dressed up in a bright sari, flower in hair, and celebrate. Always generous and helpful, she remembered everyone’s birthday and had gifts on hand for any occasion, often from her Avon stash that she accumulated from years of being a President’s Club award-winning Avon salesperson. Somehow, she also had time to canvas for the Heart and Stroke fund until she was no longer able to get around on her own.
Sudha was predeceased by her son, Shaz (d. 2014), and her husband, Murli, in July 2021. She is survived by her son Milind (Priti) and daughter Madhuri (Rob); grandchildren Shanta (Adam), Sharmain (Steven), Kaleb (Sheetal), Kiran, Oceaan (Thomas), and Vinayak; great-grandchildren Nora and Remy; sister-in-law Shaila Pandit; nieces Priya (Brock), Pratima (Raju), and Shaila (Vilas); and multiple family and friends in India and around the world. We will all miss her deeply.
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