The West Shore community is mourning the loss of a well-known businessman and developer this week.
Jog “Jogi” Raj Jaswal, the owner of Jaswal Lumber Ltd. and developer of several properties in Langford, passed away on Sunday, Jan 28 at the age of 79 years old, after losing his two-and-half-year-long battle with cancer.
“He touched a lot of people in his time. He was a very generous man. He was down to earth,” said Bob Gill, Jaswal’s son-in law. “His family was so important to him. He was old school, he did business on a handshake.”
Born in a village in India called Bham in 1938, Jaswal first immigrated to Victoria when he was 17 years old. Shortly after, he returned to India and married his wife, Sheila. The couple then returned to the Island in 1962 and moved into a mobile home in Colwood.
When he was just starting out, Jaswal used to sell lumber from his station wagon. Finally after purchasing three acres along Sooke Road, he opened Jaswal Lumber Ltd. across from the former Glen Lake Inn, which serviced hundreds of residents in the western communities and beyond for 40 years.
A few years after opening Jaswal Lumber, Jaswal made the transition from businessman to developer and, according to Gill, built one of the first apartment buildings in Langford in the form of a three-storey, nine-unit apartment on the same property as the business. In 1992, he relinquished Jaswal Lumber and leased the property to Lumberworld, and went on to build 26 townhouses and a 42-unit condo building currently known as Lameena Terrace in 2013.
Now, he’s being remembered as a hard-working man who put his family first.
Stew Gordon, owner of Gordon ‘N’ Gordon Interiors that specializes in commercial and residential projects, has known Jaswal since he was young and worked with him on several projects over the years.
“He was a very honourable man and an icon to Langford,” he said. “He was the old handshake fella, you just shook his hand and the deal was done … He helped a lot of people out.”
Mayor Stew Young said during his first couple of years in municipal office, Jaswal often had conversations with him about ways to bring more infrastructure to the city.
“When I was younger, I learned quite a bit from him. It was sad to see him pass away,” said Young, adding Jaswal would often introduce him to people who were looking to invest in Langford. “He was quite active in the early days. I still remember him driving around in his grey truck and knew who he was. He was a great contributor to our community and a good family guy.”
Jaswal is survived by his wife Sheila, three daughters, Lata, Meena, and Cindy, and six grandchildren.