Archive | In Memoriam

Tribute: Deshamanya Dr. P. R. Anthonis

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Tribute: Deshamanya Dr. P. R. Anthonis

Posted on 30 December 2019 by admin

In Memoriam! DR. P. R. ANTHONIS (1911‐2009)

Dr. P.R. Anthonis: A humanist par excellence

Dr. P.R. Anthonis

Dr. P.R. Anthonis[/caption]Born on January 21, 1911 as the second child of a family of 16 children, Polwatte Arachchige Romiel Anthonis learned the Sinhala alphabet under the tutelage of Ven. Vajiragnana Thera at the ‘Dharmasalawa’ Bambalapitiya (Presently Vajiraramaya). A year later, he moved on to the Milagiriya Sinhala School (which is now non-existent) where he studied up to the fourth standard, walking barefoot, dressed in sarong and banian.

Young Anthonis was admitted to St.Joseph’s College South, as St. Peter’s College was known then, at the age of 11, on the condition he improved his knowledge of English. He made headway within three months and in the fifth standard, won the class prize for English. The brilliant student he was, he ended up carrying away almost all class prizes at the annual prize givings at St.Peter’s College.

Entering the University College to do the pre-medicals, he came first in the batch. He entered Medical College in 1930, excelled in his studies and won the Loos Gold Medal for Pathology, the Mathew Gold Medal for Forensic Medicine, the Rockwood Gold Medal for Surgery and the Government Diploma Medal. He passed out of the Medical College in 1936 and took up appointment as a Medical Officer in the public service.

Dr. Anthonis was awarded a scholarship to study surgery in the UK in 1937, but the second world war prevented him from going abroad. However, he proceeded to the UK in 1945 to obtain his FRCS and was the first to be successful in the Primary and the Final Examinations in the first sittings thereby not only creating a record at the Royal College of Surgeons, but also becoming the youngest Fellow of the College. Dr. Anthonis was also the first non-university officer to be appointed by the Royal College of Surgeons of England as an Examiner to Primary FRCS, FDS and FFA Examinations.

Returning to Sri Lanka in 1947, turning down a lucrative job in the UK, being eager to serve his motherland, he was appointed Consultant Surgeon to the then premier medical institution in the Island, the present National Hospital. Until his retirement from public service, the healing angel saved the lives of thousands of people serving in hospitals in many parts of the country, working from the early hours of the day and going up to late hours in the evening. Dr. Anthonis, the trade unionist, led a strike of Medical Specialists on February 1964, against the Government’s decision to abolish private practice in respect of the Doctors as from August 1, 1964.

He retired from the public service at the age of 60 in 1971 and took to private practice. Until his demise, he operated on nearly 50,000 persons from all walks of life without stress on the financial aspects.

Dr. Anthonis was bestowed the highest National Honour Deshamanya in 1986 and was also honoured with the Visva Prasadini Award. He was the Chancellor of Colombo University from 1981 to 2003. The Government of Japan awarded the “Order of the Sacred Treasure of Japan” in 1981 in recognition of the services rendered by him in promoting Sri Lanka – Japan cultural and friendly ties. The medical profession extended him the honour “Pride of the Medical Profession”, the only professional so honoured.

His surgical prowess was legendary, and his stamina for service to the people was boundless. He was one of the few who could operate with both hands.

He was a learned, well-informed person versed in classics, philosophy and arts. He cherished traditional cultural values. He was a well-poised personality uninfluenced by fame and success. He was a humanist par excellence. That was Dr. P.R. Anthonis, the Everest among professionals.

Dr. Anthonis was a supreme being who certainly had reached the first stage of deliverance from Sansara as a Buddhist.

May he attain the Supreme Bliss of Nibbana!

 

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Obituary: Herbert Alagaratnam

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Obituary: Herbert Alagaratnam

Posted on 10 April 2019 by admin

The death occurred early this morning in Colombo of Herbert Alagaratnam formerly of St. Mary's Parish, Bambalapitiya. Herbert is an alumnus of St. Joseph's College, Colombo 10, and played rugby for his alma mater.

Brother of Stephen, James, Geoffrey, Rosemary and Benjamin.

May his soul rest in peace.

OBITUARY – ALAGARATNAM – HERBERT – Husband of Ayesha and father of William, Akosua and Joseph, son of late William and Myrah Alagaratnam James, brother of Stephen, James, Geoffrey, Rosemary, Ben and Sharmini Casinader, nephew of Grace Casinader. Remains will lie at A.F. Raymond’s Funeral Parlour from 10 a.m. on Friday 12 April and leaves at 4.30 p.m. for burial at the Jawatte General Cemetery.037669

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Obituary: Dr. Darrel Weinman (1929-2018)

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Obituary: Dr. Darrel Weinman (1929-2018)

Posted on 19 October 2018 by admin

 

Dr Darrel Felix WEINMAN

 
WEINMAN, Dr Darrel Felix
Born 20.11.1929,
Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Died 14.10.2018, Sydney, Australia.
Passed away peacefully.

Loving husband of Brinda, father of Jacqueline & Andrew & grandfather of Hannah. Brother of Dawn, Oenone (dec), Willie, Eric, Anne,Rosaine & Lester.

A private funeral will take place. Please respect the privacy of the family during this time.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to a charity of your choice.

He touched many lives and will be sadly missed.

GREGORY & CARR 
Traditional Funeral Directors
STRATHFIELD 02 9746 9666
Published in The Age on Oct. 16, 2018.


News has reached us that Dr. Darrel Weinman, Neuro-Surgeon passed away in Sydney, NSW, Australia on Sunday, October 14, 2018. Funeral details are not known as at going to press. The Weinman family lived down Hildon Place, Bambalapitiya and the boys (Darrel, Willie, Eric and Lester) all studied at St. Peter’s College while the girls (Dawn, Anne, Rozanne) were at Holy Family Convent, Bambalapitiya.

Dr Darrel Felix Weinman. Born 20.11.1929, Colombo, Sri Lanka Died 14.10.2018, Sydney, Australia Passed away peacefully.

Loving husband of Brinda, father of Jacqueline and Andrew, grandfather of Hannah. Brother of Dawn, Oenone (dec), Willie, Eric, Anne, Rosaine and Lester. A private funeral will take place. Please respect the privacy of the family during this time. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to a charity of your choice. He touched many lives and will be sadly missed. (The Sydney Morning Herald on Oct. 16, 2018)

Darrel Weinman played cricket for St. Peter’s College in 1947, under Dion Walles – in 1948 under Mike Chanmugam and had the honour of captaining his alma mater in 1949. The Peterites recorded a resounding victory in 1947 under Dion Walles by an innings and 19 runs. However, the Josephians rallied to win the Big Match in 1948 and 1949.

Darrel Weinman team mates in 1947 were Dion Walles (Capt.), Shelly Wickramasinghe, Neville de Silva, Mike Chanmugam, Malcolm Van Arkadie, Harold de Silva, Hugh Fernando, Douglas Fernando, R.B. Wijetunga, O.S. Peiris. St. Joseph’s College were captained by Neil Weerasinghe.

In 1948, his team mates were Mike Chanmugam (Capt.), Oswald Martinus, Carlton Seneviratne, Gerry Jayasuriya, Malcolm Van Arkadie, M. Ghouse, Harold de Silva, D. Fernando, C. Hingert, A. Nathan. St. Joseph’s College were captained by Joe de Mel.

In 1949, Darrel Weinman captained St. Peter’s College in cricket and his team mates were Pat Kelly, H.I.K. Fernando, Ago Paiva, Tony Don Michael. L. Weerasinghe, I. Newman, A. Nathan, M. Kerkoven, Bobby Ghouse, D. Abeysekara. St. Joseph’s College was captained by Tommy Rodrigo.

It was 69 years ago that Darrel Weinman captained St. Peter’s College in cricket.

Having entered the medical faculty from St. Peter’s College, Dr. Darrel Weinman served as a Neuro Surgeon at the General Hospital, Colombo prior to emigrating to Australia.

May his soul rest in peace!

Editor’s Note: Dr. Darrel Weinman’s youngest brother Capt. Lester Weinman was a classmate of mine at college in the Senior Prep and Senior.

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Tribute to the late Ebert Silva - Old Peterite

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Tribute to the late Ebert Silva – Old Peterite

Posted on 28 March 2018 by admin

Ebert Silva, a pioneer and a legend in Sri Lanka’s travel and tourism remembered on his 6th death anniversary

The 6th death anniversary of Ebert Silva, the late chairman of Ebert Silva Group and a pioneer and a legend in Sri Lanka’s travel and tourism industry falls on March 28.

March 27, 2018, 8:15 pm 

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Born on November 2nd 1932, he had his education at St. Peters’ College Colombo. Nomis de Silva (1894 – 1953), father of Ebert Silva founded a passenger transport company in the early 1920s and later named it after his eldest son as ‘Ebert Silva Omni Bus Company Limited.’ Ebert Silva as a young 21 year old was compelled to take over the reigns of the company at the untimely death of his father in 1953.

As one of the youngest entrepreneurs of the bus company era that spanned across about three decades, he was successful in expanding and operating a model transport service that complied to high standards of quality and service. His sheer determination, resilience and commitment made the Ebert Silva brand the only survivor of the Nationalisation of the 36 bus companies in 1958 to form the Central Transport Board. Enduring the excruciating loss of the Omni Bus Company almost overnight, he nurtured the Touring Company which he incorporated as a young 22 year old to cater to tourism. His astute and visionary leadership was a success story that withstood the test of time giving rise to a national brand that had made lasting contributions pioneering Sri Lanka’s travel and tourism. Ebert Silva was a passionate lover of motor vehicles that led him to have a unique and rare collection of vintage and classic motor cars. He was also be a founder member and later the Vice President of the Vintage Car Owners Club of Sri Lanka, founded in 1987, with the intention of preserving and conserving these rare automobiles in the island.

Ebert Silva was a pioneered domestic tourism, who as a young entrepreneur initiated many tour packages to less seen and travelled places in the island and was among the first to introduce ‘package tours’ to promote places of historic and scenic importance in Sri Lanka. Building a brand synonymous with Sri Lanka’s travel and tourism industry the company under his leadership, vision was felicitated on numerous occasions for its quality of service and contribution to the industry with many Presidential Awards as the Best Domestic Tour Operator.

As a pioneer in Sri Lanka’s tourism industry his contribution was generously extended to its advancement and promotion with him also serving as the President of the Travel Agents Association of Sri Lanka. In recognition of a lifetime of committed contribution to Sri Lanka’s travel industry he was honored with the Presidential Award as a ‘Legend’ in Sri Lanka’s Travel and Tourism in 2009. Ebert Silva was also among the legendary individuals felicitated at Sri Lanka Tourism’s Golden Jubilee celebrations for his outstanding contribution to the development and growth of the tourism industry through the years.

With roots going as far back as the 1920s, the ‘Ebert Silva’ brand stands out with its time-tested contribution having being interwoven with the long history of the island’s transport and tourism industries. Well after 9 long decades today, his vision has enabled Ebert Silva Holidays make the pioneering contribution of open deck city sightseeing services to the present tourism arena together with Sri Lanka Tourism, enabling Sri Lanka’s premier city offer a distinct touristic to the world.

Ebert Silva gave life to a significant and splendid chapter in Sri Lanka’s travel and tourism and motoring industry amidst many obstacles and formidable challenges. The commitment and vision of legendary pioneers as Ebert Silva enabled the industry to reach the present heights and play a pivotal role in the advancement of the Sri Lankan economy.

Ebert Silva will be remembered with deep love and honour and gratitude by the family and staff marking his 8th death anniversary on March 28th.

 

 

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OBITUARY: LASHAN ABEYGOONEWARDENA (1978-2018)

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OBITUARY: LASHAN ABEYGOONEWARDENA (1978-2018)

Posted on 05 January 2018 by admin

Lashan Abeygoonewardena

OBITUARY – LASHAN ABEYGOONEWARDENA (1978-2018)

Hamza Hidayathullah and Algi Wijewickrema have conveyed the sad news of the demise of Lashan Abeygoonewardena. 

With profound sadness, we announce the death of Lashan Abeygoonewardena, beloved son of Camillus R. Abeygoonewardena (Past President of SPC-OBU), brother of Sanjeewa Abeygoonewardena (SPC 1st XV Cpt. 95) and Dilan Abeygoonewardena (SPC 1st XV Cpt. 2001).

His death occurred while under treatment at the Monash Medical Centre (Clayton, Melbourne).

Lashan has been called to the safe hands of Lord God Almighty and the family wishes to communicate the below death notice.

Abeygoonewardena – Lashan Clement (of Melbourne Australia)
Beloved Son of Camillus and Marli. Brother of Sanjeeva and Dilan. Brother-in-Law of Kheshini and Sandra. Loving uncle of Cheval , Janik and Seth. Passed away on 4th January 2018. Cremation, Sunday 7th January 2018, 11am at Springvale Botanical Cemetery (Boyd Chapel) Melbourne Australia.

(Date and location for the thanks giving mass in Colombo to be notified later)

Cremation will take place on Sunday, 6th January 2018, 2.00 p.m. at Springvale Botanical Cemetery (Boyd Chapel), Melbourne Australia.

Date and location of a thanksgiving mass in Colombo to be notified later.

We offer our deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences to Camillus and family and share their loss at this time.

"Life is impermanent, but death is permanent". We pray and ask the lord to bless the family and give them strength to face this sudden loss!

May Lashan rest in peace.

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OBITUARY: TIMO GABRIEL - BROTHER OF REV. FR. TRAVIS GABRIEL

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OBITUARY: TIMO GABRIEL – BROTHER OF REV. FR. TRAVIS GABRIEL

Posted on 14 December 2017 by admin

GABRIEL – TIMO. Beloved son of late Mr H.A. Gabriel and late Mrs Rita Gabriel,​ loving husband of Maureen,​ brother of Tyronne,​ Tania,​ Rev. Fr. Travis Gabriel and Tamara. Cortege leaves residence 258/​2,​ Kotte Road,​ Nugegoda at 2.30 p.m. for Mass at St. Thomas’ Church Kotte at 3.00 p.m. and thereafter for burial at Kotte.155662.

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OBITUARY: CHRISTOPHER HARRIDGE

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OBITUARY: CHRISTOPHER HARRIDGE

Posted on 19 November 2017 by admin

Christopher Harridge

OBITUARY NOTICE:

HARRIDGE – CHRISTOPHER,​ husband of late Antoinette,​ son of Noel and Norma Harridge,​ brother of Michael and Desmond Harridge,​ brother-in-law of Liz and Suzi. Remains will lie at A.F. Raymond’s Funeral Parlour from 9 a.m. on 22nd Wednesday,​ onwards. Cortege leaves the Parlour at 4.30 p.m. on Thursday 23rd November,​ 2017 for Cremation at General Cemtery,​ Kanatte at 5 p.m.145946

Sunday, November 19, 2017 – We mourn the passing of Christopher Harridge this morning in Sri Lanka. May his soul rest in peace!

Details of funeral services are not known at time of posting this notice. As per news conveyed by Stanley Lumanauw, Christo resided in Ja-ela. Brother of Michael and Desmond (Australia) Harridge. 

Many thanks to Rodney Paternott (Melbourne) for providing details of Christo's sporting career at college. Christopher Harridge earned the enviable sporting double having represented college in Cricket & Rugby both.

RUGBY – Christo played, rugby from 1962 to 1965.under Jeyer Rodrigues '62; Steven Alagaratnam '63; Rohan Abeysundera '64 and Darrell Wimalaratne in '65. 

CRICKET – Christo was a member of the winning Peterite team of 1965, led by Travice Fernando.

St. Peter's College won the big match by 6 wickets thanks to a sensational spell of medium-pace swing bowling by skipper Travice Fernando who bagged 5/45 and 6/44 in the 1st and 2nd innings, respectively totalling a haul of 11 wickets in the game. Christopher Moreira captained St. Joseph's College.

The Peterite XI comprised of (in batting order) Darrell Wimalaratne, Charlitha Goonesena, Peter de Niese, Christo Harridge (Wk), Travice Fernando, Aubrey Paternott, C. Christoffelsz, Everard Hoffman, Tony Opatha, Rodney Paternott and Mervin Fernando.

The Josephian Xi comprised of (in batting order) Polycarp Jayasekara, Brian Perera, Christopher Moreira, Alan de Costa, Sunil Atukorale (wk), Victor Vimalasingham, Bede Johnpillai, Sarath Wanigasekera, A. Rasanayagam, Anil Peiris, and T. Mitchell.

Scores of the 1965 Josephian-Peterite played at SPC Grounds in Bambalapitiya on March 19th & 20th.

SJC -130 (Allan de Costa, 40, Victor Vimalasingham, 33, Polycarp Wijesekara – Bowling: Travice Fernando 5/45; Peter deNiese 3/25) & 164 (Victor Vimalasingham, 50, Polycarp Wijesekara, 36, Allan de Costa, 22, Sarath Wanigasekara, 20 – Bowling: Travice Fernando 6/44; Rodney Paternott 3/31)

SPC – 201 Charlitha Goonesena, 68, Tony Opatha, 42, Aubrey Paternott, 25, Rodney Paternott, 23 & 94 for 4 wickets Aubrey Paternott, 31 not out, Darrell Wimalaratne, 29, Charlitha Goonasena, 27.

ST. PETER'S WON 1965 BIG MATCH BY 6 WICKETS

 

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OBITUARY: DODWELL DE SILVA - Leader, SPC Fife & Drum Band in 1956

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OBITUARY: DODWELL DE SILVA – Leader, SPC Fife & Drum Band in 1956

Posted on 12 November 2017 by admin

News has just reached us of the passing of DODWELL DE SILVA on Saturday, November 11, 2017, in Cerritos, California.

Dodwell was fondly known as "Doddy" in school and is a pre-70s Peterite who was at St. Peter's College in the 50s and early 60s travelling to college from his parental home on Pereira Lane, Wellawatta.

Dodwell is best known as the band leader of the first St. Peter's College Fife & Drum Band in 1956, brainchild of Rev. Fr. Arthur Fernando – Rector (1955 – 1963). In fact, the band at St. Peter's College was the very first School's band formed among schools in Sri Lanka. Dodwell, as band leader looked dashing in the white Tunic Uniform. So did the rest of the band members. The only other members of the band that I recall are Carline Perera, Carline Nugara, Hector Pietersz and Royce Moldrich.

If some Peterite reading this post could recall the full list of band members of 1956, this would be historical information. In the meantime, we mourn Dodwell's passing and extend our sympathy to his wife June and two children.

Dodwell was a Past President of the Sri Lanka America Association of Southern California and lived in Cerritos, California for over four decades. Cerritos is a suburban city in Los Angeles County, California.

May god grant Dodwell's soul eternal rest!

FUNERAL SERVICES

Dodwell Palitha De Silva, 78, born on September 11,1939, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, passed away November 11, 2017. He resided in Cerritos, California at the time of his passing. Arrangements are under the direction of Forest Lawn, Cypress, California.

UPCOMING FUNERAL SERVICES
 

Sunday, November 19 
9:30 AM to 11:30 AM     

Forest Lawn – Cypress – Hope Chapel

4471 Lincoln Avenue Cypress, CA 90630

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RIP CLARENCE CORERA – Pre-70s Peterite

Posted on 04 October 2017 by admin

RIP CLARENCE CORERA

Note from Shawnn & Suzan Corera ……..

Please join us as we say good bye to Dad.

Visitation will be held from 3pm to 5pm and 7pm to 9pm
Friday, October 6th at

Molesworth-Williams Funeral Home
26401 Ridge Road, Damascus, MD
301-253-2138

A Memorial Service will be held at St. Paul Catholic Church
Saturday, October 7th at 10.30am

9240 Damascus Road
Damascus, MD 20872

For Circulation Among Petes …PEN

Clarence Corera was a well known Peterite Musician based In Maryland. He is also the dad of Shawn Corera. ( also a  former Peterite and popular DJ in the East Coast, USA) )..
 

May He Rest in Peace…


Clarence Corera

Clarence Corera

CLARENCE CORERA…THE DRUMS WILL NOT STOP BEATING


BY DIRK TISSERA

Joseph Clarence Bernard Corera walked to the beat of his own drum. On October 3, 2017 Clarence (61) one of Sri Lanka’s finest drummers, passed away at his Maryland, Washington DC home in the United States. He would have turned 62 on November 18, 2017.


His death has left an indelible mark and a huge void on the music fraternity both in Sri Lanka and around the globe. Sri Lankan musos from all walks of life were deeply saddened at the news of his untimely passing. As hundreds of condolences poured in on social media and from around the world, Clarence, albeit must be banging on all the pots and pans in the heavenly skies above.


His high-school sweetheart and wife for 38 years, Darlene was overcome with grief. “We brought Clarence home from hospital on Saturday, September 30. Just last evening, on Sunday, October 1 we went to the mall and did some grocery shopping and he was in good spirits.”


“We had dinner and Clarence retired to bed. In the morning around 6.45 a.m. I made him a cup of tea and when I entered his room, he had fallen off his bed and was lying motionless on the floor,” Darlene said choking with emotion.


Clarence was diagnosed with a serious congested heart condition by doctors in the U.S. four years ago. He never smoked in his life, but two years ago more complications had set in,“ said Darlene.

“Doctors told us that he was just not fit enough to undergo surgery. Later his kidneys failed and fluid had to be pumped out through his stomach. He was also on dialysis both in hospital and at home.”


“Clarence knew that his condition was not good but was always a fighter in life. He worked in the hospitality industry at a Bethesda Retirement Centre in Maryland as a chef right until August 14, 2017 and got along like a house on fire with elderly residents there.”


Clarence doted on his loving family and is survived by his wife Darlene, son Shawn, daughter-in-law Susan and grandson of five months, Cheynan. He also loved his music and food with a great passion.

He leaves behind his sister, Marina in Sri Lanka and brother, Clement in Australia.

Visitation will be held on Friday October 6 and the cremation will take place on Monday, October 9

We, at The Sri Lankan Anchorman remember Clarence with very fond memories. He was part of a glamorous line-up of musicians that performed at our Tsunami fundraiser dinner dance in Toronto on May 7, 2005. Other members of that star-studded line-up included, Alston Koch, Tony Samaranayake, Raj Jalaldeen, Sherwin Jayah and Shanaka Viswakula.


A few years later my wife Michelle and I met Clarence and Dalrene in Maryland when on a visit. Clarence welcomed us with a sumptuous platter of mixed fried rice, shrimp and an assortment of other mouth-watering delights and we washed it down with a few stiff Scotch whiskeys. Clarence enjoyed a good drink and so did I. The company was perfect.


Clarence was a genuine soul. He did not have any hang-ups. He simply lived life his way.


Our deepest sympathies go out to his loving wife Darlene, Shawn, daughter-in-law Susan, grandson Cheynan, sister Marina and brother Clement.


“I hear the sound of distant drums
Far away, far away
And if they call for me to come
Then I must go, and you must stay”


Goodbye our dear friend…May you entertain the angels with your conga rhythms.

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7th death anniversary – Melville Assauw

Posted on 30 September 2017 by admin

September 21, 2010.

 

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My friend, Melville Joseph Assauw, passed away on the 23rd of June this year, just short of the Biblical three score years and ten. I had known for some time that Mel had been seriously ill and the news of his demise should not have been a surprise. But it was. The sad news cast a shadow of gloom and carved a deep niche of sorrow in the hearts of those, such as myself, who loved and respected him.

I often met Mel at Jonathan Studio where in the company of Mervyn Wijeratne, my wife's cousin, we had many a pleasant and jovial chat. Mervyn had given Mel a small area to do his art work and from such small beginnings he progressed to be a true icon in the field of advertising in an era which saw the likes of radio and media personalities, Tim Horshington, Greg Roskowski, and others.

Mel was educated at my alma mater, St. Peter's College, Colombo. He took to advertising firstly as Director of International Advertising Services (IAS) and later as its Creative Director, in addition to being the Creative Director of Prachards, a subsidiary of IAS. The natural outcome of all these early endeavours was for Melville to form his own Company – Mel Ads Ltd – a family business which now counts 35 years in the field of advertising. Mel's initiative and drive and, most importantly, the goodwill that he made him expand into other fields. He initiated what I believe was the first ever Teledrama in Sri Lanka: Dimuthu Muthu, in addition to producing many other publications for the local and public sector. Melville became President of the Four ‘A’s in Sri Lanka during the years 1986 –1988, and headed the International Advertising Association (IAA – Sri Lanka Chapter) in 1999-2001.

Being the man that he was, ever willing to help those less fortunate, he became a Rotarian and was President of his Club in 1987 – 1988, and subsequently became District Governor of Sri Lanka in 1994 – 1995. All the above commitments took up much of his time, but of course he also had to direct his energies to his own firm. There is something of a paradox here in that Mel Ads was a great success and at times also a failure. There were those who joined him as raw neophytes, worked hard and later on left to do their own thing. He had no problem with these people. Sadly, however, there were also some unscrupulous opportunists who sought his help, joined his firm, virtually sucked his brains and with nary a thank you left him surreptitiously and in an underhand manner taking with them some Mel Ads accounts which, to say the least, undermined and threatened the viability of his Company. Mel certainly had business acumen, but he lacked shrewdness. His kindly disposition also had with it a degree of naivete which prevented him from quickly identifying those who would use him solely to further their own agendas. These events caused him untold anguish and further exacerbated his failing health. Mercifully, with the help of his devoted wife Bernie and daughter Maryse, and also a lifelong friend who stepped in, there was a turnaround and Mel lived to see his beloved Mel Ads on a firm footing once more.

If one took his accomplishments in the pioneering field of advertising to be the high watermark in his life and his only achievement, this would be a mistake.

Mellville was a man of many talents. He was an oil painter of considerable repute, a landscape artist, a man interested in the culinary arts and immune to the overwhelming influence of TV, much preferring to read a good book. When I was at his home in Maharagama to photograph his daughter Maryse's engagement, the late President J. R. Jayewardene (a personal friend of Mel and the family) was present and expressed his admiration of the numerous oil paintings created by Mel which tastefully adorned the walls of his lovely home. If anything, Mel's abiding interest was painting. He admired and was influenced by the works of David Paynter, Ivor Baptist, Donald Ramanayake, among others, but would not imitate them. He often lamented that his other commitments left him with little time to indulge in his passion for painting, but nonetheless managed to have four solo Exhibitions of his work. He generously donated several of his paintings for relief work in Indonesia.

Above everything else, Melville Assauw was a deeply religious man. By this I don't mean mere strict observance of the formalities of a church- going Catholic. He didn't carry his religion on his shoulders or in his pocket. His abiding faith was an ingrained quality which influenced everything he did. Mel was greatly blessed in having a beautiful family; his son Angelo and daughter Maryse, and of course a wonderful soulmate in his wife, Bernie. A Company Director, a refined and accomplished person if ever there was one, Bernie above all was his great love and tower of strength in good times and in bad. As his energies ebbed and the end of his journey through life inexorably drew to a close, Mel's spirituality blossomed further, even to the extent of his seeing beautiful visions of the after life. In the wee hours of the morning he would ask Bernie to sing his favourite hymns, a beautiful and fitting scenario which continued till the end. Bernie can surely take comfort in the Christian and perhaps universal concept among believers) that death is but a star-lit strip between the companionship of yesterday and the reunion of tomorrow.

We all grieve his passing, but more importantly rejoice in having had the opportunity of knowing such a good, decent and accomplished man. A Thanksgiving Service to celebrate the life and works of Melville Assauw will be held at St. Theresa's Church, Thimbirigasyaya, on Thursday 23rd September 2010, at 6.30 pm.

Jerome Crusz

(Courtesy: The Island)

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