It is with profound sadness that I pen these words for my dear friend and brother Jayantha Fernando who passed away recently.
He was popularly known as JEF to most of us. A tall well set man having the figure of a colossus, he was a person to be admired. His vast knowledge of textile technology after graduating in Bombay, enabled him to handle various appointments during his career.
Having started his life at the Wellawatte Spinning and Weaving Mills, he went on to work in the Hotel Oberoi, a short stint in Iraq during the war years, John Keells Group and many other institutions where he gave his valuable advice and talent in the field. His practical ability to handle any situation was tremendous and he had the stamina to work and still not get tired in whatever he undertook to do, using his ability and knowledge to gain love and respect from people. As a loyal Cambrian, he gave his life for his school Prince of wales, College, Moratuwa where he served as hony. secretary of the Old Boys’ Association for many years.
It was the same for many other organizations where he worked such as the Y Men’s International, Sri Lanka Region where he held the post of Regional Director in 2002/3 apart from serving on the Board of Directors until his demise. His valuable services in building houses for the needy – those affected by the tsunami is ample testimony to his sincerity in serving others. He worked hard to raise funds for the Y Men’s ‘Musical Memories’ its main fund-raiser.
A fearless and forthright man with a God-given gift to speak the truth and stand by others when he felt they were in the right, he was not prepared to accept injustice and did not expect anything in return for what he did. A friend to everyone, he stretched out his hand to those in need, irrespective of the financial implications.
His death is a huge loss to his family, friends and relations. His group of friends, the ‘Toppers’ and the ‘Factors’ of Moratuwa are sure to miss him not forgetting the family Yantrawaduge Sangamaya where he was a live wire.
May the Lord bless and protect his family – his dear wife Geetha, two daughters Lahari and Siyumi (both graduated and working in the US), son-in-law Pujitha, brother Shantha and sister Premila and three aged aunts whom he so loved and cared for.
“And when my work on Earth is done and my new work in Heaven begun
may I forget the crown I won
whilst thinking still of others”.