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Memories 1 Q 1
Kanwal Singh Bawa was born in Gujranwala in Punjab province in 1918. As a child, he lived in a home known as “Strawberry Villa” where his family grew fruits and vegetables in a large garden.
Kanwal attended Dayanand Anglo-Vedic College in Lahore and received a degree in English, mathematics and physics. He later enrolled at Forman Christian College, where he earned a B.S. and M.S. in physics.
After working as a researcher for several years, he accepted a position with the Indian Ministry of Transportation in New Delhi. Through his work, he discovered that Purdue University was sponsoring research on roads and he applied for a fellowship.
At the time, the U.S. was welcoming Indian engineers to help build America’s infrastructure and Kanwal received a first-class airline ticket to Indiana through a Fulbright travel grant.
He arrived in the U.S. in 1950 and earned an M.S. in physics from Purdue.
A job as a soil engineer took him Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It was there that he met his wife, Vinoo Idnani. They married in Bombay in 1960 and began their life together in Sanandaj, Iran.
For the next few years, Kanwal’s assignments took them around the world—from Iran to the U.S. to Nigeria and Bolivia. During that time, their daughters Geeti and Malini were born
The young family settled in Bethesda in 1966. Kanwal was an engineer with DeLeuw, Cather & Co, one of the primary contractors for DC’s new subway system. He directed the soils and foundation work and later became assistant chief engineer of construction for the Metro project.
He retired in 1991, but continued consulting for the company on projects around the world, traveling to Kuala Lumpur and Taipei for long-term assignments.
Kanwal enjoyed spending time with his family and puttering around the house and garden. He played golf at Bethesda Country Club, and traveled frequently with Vinoo.
After the death of his beloved wife, he moved to a retirement community in 2007. There, he played billiards and bridge, took computer classes and practiced his Spanish.
In 2015, he moved back to Bethesda to live with his daughter Malini as his health began to decline.
Kanwal Singh is survived by his daughters Geeti and Malini, his son-in-law Douglas Wilkes, granddaughter Hunter, beloved niece Ramli, her husband Paramjit Singh, grand-nieces Anita and Neera, and great-grand-nieces Shaila and Chaya.
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