This is a tribute to the memory of my favourite cousin, Edward Benedict.
He passed away 10 years ago, on June 21.
As children, we lived close to each other and went to school together, at St. Benedict’s College. We sat for competitive examinations together, entered government service together, and worked side by side at the PWD & Survey Department, on Lower Chatham Street, Colombo Fort.
Those were glorious years.
Many touch our lives, but only a few touch us in that special way that makes them remain in our hearts forever.
Edward was a devoted husband and a loving father to wife Chitra, son Aashan and daughter Rukshila.
He taught for some 30 years at Fordham (Prep) New York. All who knew him remember him for his fine qualities – honour, dignity, benevolence, tenacity, kindness, compassion, sensitivity, generosity. A complete gentleman, he endeared himself to everyone. He was a wonderfully jovial companion.
He would tell me many things, quoting from the Bible and from exemplary figures in history.
He would often repeat the famous words of William Penn: “I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.”
Edward would also comfort me with the following:
– “God will take care of you – be not be afraid.”
– “What we do for ourselves dies with us, but what we do for others and the world remains immortal.”
– “There is a time for everything under the Sun, a time to laugh, a time to cry, a time to read, a time to relax, a time to work, and a time to retire.”
After a memorial service for Edward, his widow Chitra said:
“I don’t know of anyone who did not like him."
Edward may well say: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (Timothy, 4;7).
On July 17, at the 22nd annual general meeting of the St. Benedict’s College Old Boys’ Union, New York, we launched a scholarship fund in Edward Benedict’s name. The fund will help the poor and the underprivileged of his alma mater, St. Benedict’s College, Colombo.
Joe Bonjean Thampoe