Sikh Temple Shooting
Sikh Temple Shooting Memorial Sites | A vigil for the victims of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin shooting (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

Ranjit Singh Obituary

Image via Flickr Creative Commons / hanspoldoja
Image via Flickr Creative Commons / hanspoldoja
Ranjit and Sita Singh shared the bonds of brotherhood — as siblings and as Sikh priests, both in Wisconsin to serve their faith. The rest of their family is in India, left to make sense of their deaths.

Ten years ago, Ranjit Singh, 49, came to the United States for better opportunities. Once here, he made it his responsibility to take care of everyone who visited the temple.

The temple's secretary, 56-year-old Inderjeet Singh Dhillon, said Monday that Singh made sure guests were well fed, even if he couldn't always express it in English. Dhillon remembered an occasion when five English-speaking visitors stopped in and Singh insisted — using only gestures that made those at the temple who knew him laugh — on "food for everybody."

It was the same with Singh's brother, 41-year-old Sita Singh, who had arrived in the United States a year ago. Though Sita Singh was quieter than his brother, he was no less dedicated to the temple's visitors. Both men lived at the temple.

Dhillon said that the younger Singh would wake up every morning between 4:30 and 5 to read the Sikh holy book. Afterward, he would see which visitors had come in and ensure all had prasad, the food offering given at the end of every prayer session.

"It was very important to him that whoever came always left with prasad," Dhillon said.

The elder Singh brother became a mentor to some of the temple members, including Shehbazdeep Kaleka, a 19-year-old from Racine and the nephew of the temple president.

Kaleka said Monday that he turned to Ranjit Singh when he was down and needed advice, because Singh was a positive person.

Singh's most common advice to the 19-year-old was to sing and sing loudly — it didn't matter what or how well — and that would lift his spirits.

"It worked every time," Kaleka said, pausing. "He was a very good and honest man. He didn't deserve to die."

DINESH RAMDE,Associated Press

GRETCHEN EHLKE,Associated Press

Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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