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Siri Kirpal Kaur Khalsa and Jim Waldon

The son of a phone company manager, Jim Waldon grew up in a number of Northern California cities. "I went to first grade in three different schools," he recalls. After two years at Sacramento State, he transfered to UC Santa Cruz, where he took a degree in psychology and where he met Siri Kirpal Kaur Khalsa, known then as Katie Sykes, recent valedictorian at San Diego High. "We married each other for our sense of humor," she says. He worked as a probation officer in San Diego until 1978, when they escaped to Salem, Oregon. "I got on at the public library and ended up in charge of the audio-visual department," he says. "I was able to interact with hundreds of patrons, from street folks to the governor." Sykes finished a degree in art at Marylhurst, began to practice Kundalini Yoga, and met the Sikh community. She took vows and got her Sikh name in 1986. "After the 2001 attacks, I signed up to act as Sikh spokesman," she says. "We founded the Oneness Coalition and organized interfaith services." Her book, Sikh Spiritual Practice: The Sound Way to God, was published in 2010. When Waldon retired in 2008, the couple relocated to Eugene. He is currently president of the local Dances of Universal Peace group, drawing on a variety of faith traditions. Dances are held at the Friends Meeting House, 2274 Onyx, on first, third, and fifth Fridays at 7pm.

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 19 September 2012

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