His was a noble life worthy of emulation Lenard Frank Wickremasinghe Dec. 22 marked the first death anniversary of Lenard Frank Wickramasinghe, a former Chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. I consider it my duty to pay humble tribute to this genial and versatile gentleman who endeared himself to one and all. Mr. Wickramasinghe, [...]

The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka



His was a noble life worthy of emulation

Lenard Frank Wickremasinghe

Dec. 22 marked the first death anniversary of Lenard Frank Wickramasinghe, a former Chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. I consider it my duty to pay humble tribute to this genial and versatile gentleman who endeared himself to one and all.

Mr. Wickramasinghe, a member of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service held several important positions in the Public Service culminating as the Addl. Secretary, Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. While in retirement he responded to the call of the then President, Ranasinghe Premadasa to head the pioneering nationalised venture in the country, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. Although his stint in office was just two years he left a lasting impression on those who had the privilege to work with him.

Mr. Wickramasinghe had an excellent rapport with his subordinates and he considered it important for the smooth running of the institution. He was courteous even to the most junior subordinate. Kindness was a key note of his character.

He was fun loving, happy, adventurous and had a great sense of humour. Recalling his undergraduate days at Peradeniya he would come out with various funny stories. He would recall too how he first met his life long partner Nalini, at a sports festival at the university attended by the girls of the Kundasale Farm School as well. Together they raised a happy and accomplished family, two sons and a daughter, which later grew into an extended family which gave him great joy. He would often say that his greatest assets were his eight grandchildren.

Mr. Wickremasinghe lived a contented life going by a book of conduct and manners based on various aspects of his religion which had a great influence on his character. His was a noble life worthy of emulation.

H.D. Gunaratne

A beacon built on rock

Dennis Cooray

A few days ago my dear friend Dennis Cooray completed his life’s responsibilities at the ripe age of 93 years. At the time of passing he was probably the oldest Old Royalist and the oldest retired Naval Officer.
Dennis was a most unassuming and dynamic person. Wise, selfless, soft-spoken and disciplined, his life reflected the principle that whatever is done should be done well.

While he served the Church and the Navy with great distinction and dedication, his labour of love was undoubtedly the ministry he exercised among God’s little people at the Cheshire Home in Mount Lavinia. Faithful and full of passion in this caring ministry, he ensured that the physical, medical and emotional needs of all his friends at the Home were adequately looked after for close on half a century. His never failing and regular visits to the Home from his own home at Torrington Avenue at personal cost and latterly with great sacrifice petered out when he reached his early nineties.The demands of travel and administrative supervision signalled he had to pass the baton of responsibility on.

His finest service to his friends at the Home was his ability to see beyond the group and to recognise and plan for them as individual persons, each with different needs, skills and a future. In one such typical instance he demonstrated remarkable foresight and perseverance in securing the best schooling available for a disabled young friend, who having made best use of this opportunity went on to qualify as a professional and enter a happy marriage.

Wherever he was placed, Dennis displayed a rare sense of integrity. He was completely trustworthy; whether he was dealing with sensitive information about people or material resources placed at his disposal. It is said that he used two pens when at his desk in the Navy; an official one for Naval work and a personal one for his private work. His integrity with ink was symbolic of his integrity with all life.

He was also a visionary who gently challenged his era and class by doing and being the social change he knew had to come. As such he was ever ready to cross boundaries that separated people. When the Church he loved and served, S. Michael’s Polwatte, sought to introduce a monthly tri-lingual service to hold her three congregations together and also offer a model of unity in diversity to our torn and divided Nation, he was one of the first, along with the indefatigable (late) Irene de Silva to offer vocal and participatory support for this sensitive but necessary change which has today come to stay.

It was with this same spirit that he and his exceptionally creative and lifelong companion Sisila, came forward to organise the Church family camps which brought together the different cultures. They fervently believed that it was through such exposure to each other’s way of life that ignorance and prejudice was transformed to understanding and respect. Here too he would take great care to ensure that no one stayed away due to financial reasons or was likely to be embarrassed when linen and toiletries were unpacked in common dormitories. In the importance given to such sensitive detail he demonstrated the hallmark character of the caring Pastor.

He was too humble a man to admit or even realise the spontaneity with which he conveyed deep and lasting insights. Carefully chosen words in informal and friendly conversations often carried profound teachings from the Christ, the source of his life. He once told me quite casually that the criteria in the sharing of financial resources was not the quantum given but the amount withheld; and then went on to other matters little realising that he had opened my eyes to a gem of a teaching, which no sermon or book had done before and which has influenced my own teaching and disturbed my conscience to date. His only child and son Dayal, a personable and well informed conversationalist, has on a few occasions related how this principle was a corner stone of Dennis’ life.

Wherever he belonged, Dennis was a community man who stood in the middle and interpreted the best in people to each other. On an occasion when I was away from the Parish for a while, he would send me what he called “Sitreps”, later explaining that these were short “situation reports” on happenings in the Church and country. The contents were full of hope and generous comments about people. His “Sitreps” had no room for gossip or rancour; such was the man. “Sitrep” later on became a password with which we would jokingly begin conversations when we met and greeted each other.

He and I were immensely grateful that we were products of the same school. He, of course, had walked the corridors of this great institution before I was even born. His distinct formation in books and men and the rules of the game at Royal was amply demonstrated through his entire life and work. Now having learnt and departed this life, my dear friend Dennis has passed on to that place where those generous humans like him feel most at home with the God of immeasurable generosity.

Dennis does not need our prayers to rest in peace. He is at peace with the God of peace he lived with; and this is enough for Sisila, Dayal, Ruki, Ashmeetha and all his other loved ones. It is very likely that his “Sitreps” will continue from where he is; to reassure us that all is well. It is in our discernment of how Christ holds those here and those there together, especially after the passing of persons like Dennis who loved and helped shape us, that we are most likely to rediscover our place in the Communion of Saints.

-Bishop Duleep de Chickera

A jewel of a man he will be remembered for his integrity

Y.D. Manickam

Though we are saddened by the death of Y.D. Manickam fondly referred to as “Menik Uncle”, I consider it a privilege to write this tribute in his memory and honour.

Mr. Manickam was born in India in 1922 and migrated to then Ceylon for employment. His main station of employment was Chrystler’s Farm Estate, Kotagala, where he was the Factory Officer for 35 years.
Upon retirement he bought a property in Matale, which, unfortunately was burnt down during the communal riots after which he decided to settle down in Kotagala where he lived with his wife until his death in September this year.

He was married to Bonnie Rose (nee Dhas) and they had three sons and a daughter. Two sons live overseas.
Menik Uncle will be remembered for his integrity, punctuality, simplicity and honesty. He kept a low profile in whatever he did.

Fittingly, he was selected and appointed to assist the Priest in the altar of St. Margaret’s Church, Kotagala, which is an honour bestowed only on people who lead an exemplary life.

During his last few years, he also served as the Church Treasurer, a job he performed admirably.
During his lifetime he survived death on two occasions, once due to poisoning and another occasion due to a “stroke”.

He had a large circle of friends and relatives and a number of his relatives are in God’s ministry. In fact, his father himself was a Priest.

Menik Uncle died at the ripe age of 90 leaving behind his sorrowing wife Rose, four children and six grandchildren whom he loved most.

If well mannered and God fearing people have a place in Heaven, Mr. Manikam is sure to find a place in His kingdom. His wife and children can take solace in this.

He was indeed a gem of a man befitting his name Manickam which means Jewel in Tamil.
Good bye Menik Uncle, we will join you one day soon.

David Williams

Share This Post

comments powered by Disqus

Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.