Satinder Kaur Thiara

Satinder Kaur Thiara (born on April 7, 1947) belongs to one of the leading pioneer Punjabi families of Yuba City, California.  Raised in the village of Sansarpur, Jalandhar district, she grew up in a comfortable household with strong ties to farming and military service.  Too young to remember India’s 1947 partition, she did grow up listening to the frightening stories from her family members about the horrific acts of violence and inhumanity they had witnessed.

Satinder’s family was unusual in their dedication to educating their daughters as well as their sons.  Satinder and her siblings were enrolled in an English medium school, which gave her a tremendous advantage later in life after she immigrated to the United States.

At the age of 19, she married Gurdev Singh Thiara in 1967.  Two years later, she immigrated to the United States and settled in Yuba City.  She and her husband, along with his brothers and their families, built a successful vertically integrated farming and real estate business.  Although Satinder worked as a medical professional, she was engaged with the family business and contributed with her insight and influence.  She was instrumental in keeping the family business growing for over 50 years.

Satinder Thiara, 1966, Punjab, India.

Satinderjit (middle) and her coworkers, 1995, Yuba City.


Photos courtesy of Satinder Kaur Thiara.

Source: Interview with Satinder Kaur Thiara by Nicole Ranganath, Yuba City, November 22, 2019.

One of the great joys of Satinder’s life was working as a nurse at Sutter County Health Department.  She became the third Punjabi nurse in Yuba City when she started in 1973, and she retired after 24 years in 1997.  She thrived in her work: “It gave me a good feeling to help people.” She also greatly enjoyed the camaraderie with other nurses who taught her how to bake American cookies and supported each other in so many ways.  

Today she feels grateful for her country, her family, and the community: “This country has given me a lot.”  “I’m proud of my family and the values that my parents gave me. Be good. Help people without expectations.”  Satinder believes the community over the years has given a lot to her family, and she is glad that her family can repay some of that kindness through the scholarships they grant to students and the contributions they make in the community. She looks forward to enjoying time with her grandchildren and helping children throughout the community benefit from education.