Father of former SC Gov. Nikki Haley dies on Father’s Day

Ajit Singh Randhawa, the father of former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, has died, she announced on social media Sunday.

“This morning I had to say goodbye to the smartest, sweetest, kindest, most decent man I have ever known,” Haley said on Twitter.

During Haley’s presidential campaign earlier this year, she came off of the campaign trail for a day ahead of the New Hampshire primary to visit Randhawa, who was in the hospital.

He was battling an undisclosed form of cancer, ABC News and USA Today reported at the time.

On the day of South Carolina’s presidential primary election, Haley was joined by her mother, Raj Kaur Randhawa, but not her father.

Ajit Singh Randhawa earned a doctorate from the University of British Columbia, according to Politico.

Haley’s parents moved to Bamberg in 1969. They immigrated from India. Ajit Singh Randhawa went on to work as a biology professor at Voorhees College, an HBCU in Denmark.

In her autobiography, Haley spoke about a story of racism her father experienced when she was a child. Haley and Randhawa, who was Sikh and wore a turban, stopped at a fruit stand on their way to Columbia.

They were the only customers when they arrived. But a few minutes later, two police vehicles came up to the stand and officers approached the owners who were by the cash register. The officers watched Randhawa as he picked out fruit.

“When he was done, shopping, he went up to the register and said hello to the owners, and paid for his produce,” Haley wrote in her autobiography.

It was a story that Haley shared with the House Republican Caucus in 2015 as the Legislature debated removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds after nine parishioners were murdered by a white supremacist inside Mother Emanual AME Church in Charleston.

“My heart is heavy knowing he is gone. He taught his kids the importance of faith, hard work, and grace,” Haley wrote on Twitter. “He was an amazing husband of 64 years, a loving grandfather and great grandfather, and the best father to his four children. He was such a blessing to all of us. Happy Father’s Day Dad. We will miss you dearly.”

UN Ambassador-designate Gov. Nikki Haley, accompanied by her family, from left, Nalin Haley, husband Michael Haley and father Dr. Ajit Singh Randhawa, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
UN Ambassador-designate Gov. Nikki Haley, accompanied by her family, from left, Nalin Haley, husband Michael Haley and father Dr. Ajit Singh Randhawa, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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