We have lost the heart and soul of our family Prof.  Chandra L. Jayasuriya “The ones that love us never really leave us. They can always be found in our hearts” A fact of life we often tend to forget when growing up, is that people we love are also growing older. The sad reality [...]




We have lost the heart and soul of our family

Prof.  Chandra L. Jayasuriya

“The ones that love us never really leave us. They can always be found in our hearts”

A fact of life we often tend to forget when growing up, is that people we love are also growing older.

The sad reality of this dawned on me on May 2, when at the age of 79, my grandmother – Professor Chandra Jayasuriya passed away.

My grandmother was a constant presence in my life from my formative years, and try as I may, this is but a vain attempt to do justice in a few words to what she meant to me.

A product of Southlands College, Galle and Visakha Vidyalaya, Colombo, Aachchi was both hardworking and smart, an ideal recipe for success. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Peradeniya and went on to do her post-graduate studies in Statistics at the University of South Carolina, USA. After returning to the island, she initially lectured at the University of Peradeniya, before moving to the Faculty of Education, University of Colombo. She lectured there for over 30 years, rising to the level of a Professor and later being appointed the Dean of the Faculty. She was a knowledgeable teacher and an inspiration to her students. Aachchi had a keenness for acquiring knowledge, a quality she inculcated in her two daughters whom she brought up to be educated women.

Apart from her career, Aachchi’s interests were varied. She was a voracious reader, even going on to pen a few books of her own. She also loved to sew, and I have many fond memories of her painstakingly adjusting my clothes so they would fit the way I wanted. Being the versatile person she was, she also prepared delicious meals for us on a regular basis.

Aachchi, as the eldest in a large family was the respected matriarch, a role she thrived in, offering words of advice or support in any way she could, when needed. She was a compassionate person, and her magnanimity often extended to the less-fortunate. The door of Aachchi’s home was literally open to her many friends and relations to walk in and have a quiet chat whilst enjoying her hospitality. She was forthright in what she said and did, yet never caused offence.

She was a doting grandmother to both me and my cousin brother, forever looking out for us, understanding, supportive of our dreams and encouraging us to work hard. She would not only celebrate our achievements but also spur us on when we fell short.

Her immense love for me was evident, in what she did for me. Be it buying me gifts for no apparent reason, never forgetting to send me a birthday card or once keeping vigil by my hospital bed when I was sick.

She was in many ways, the heart and soul of our family, and we’re all a great deal poorer without her. I feel blessed to have had so many opportunities to talk to Aachchi in the last few months, but there are still things I wish I’d had the chance to say. She was one of my biggest role models and I hope that I grow up to be a woman half as successful and kind as she was.

We love you Aachchi. You will forever be missed.

 Marlene de Silva   

You were our guiding  light and influence


Ivor Malcolm Reginald Wijetunge, (I.M.R. Wijetunge) was born on June 1, 1918, at “The Alcove”, Turret Road, (currently known as Srimath Anagarika Dharmapala Mawatha) Colombo 3. His father was Edmund Perera Wijetunge of Gandara Walawwa; C.B.E., Crown Proctor, J.P.U.M., Solicitor and Basnayake Nilame of Dondra Vishnu Devale, while his mother was Lilian Adeline Winifred De Fonseka Pieris (Grand-daughter of Hannadige Jeronis Pieris and Warusahannadige Carolina Francisca Soysa). He spent his childhood along with two brothers, Percival and Ronald, and sister Mahanil at “Rippleworth”, Brown’s Hill, Matara; a beautiful colonial residence built by his father in the early 1900’s which offers a scenic hilltop view of the Southern coastline.

Educated at Royal College, Colombo from 1928 to 1937, Ivor was an ardent philatelist, having one of the best stamp collections in Sri Lanka consisting of many rare 1st edition stamps. Ivor also engaged in playing table tennis and participated in athletics during his College days. He read for his BA through the University of London External Programme from 1937 to 1941, and was called to the Bar on April 5, 1944, following the family tradition of practising law as done by his father, and brother Percival before him. He had a thriving practice in the Matara, Tangalle and Hambantota Courts, and also appeared in the Colombo Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court on civil matters.

He married Lois De Silva, and was blessed with five children; Krishanthi, Samanthi, Sharmini, Rajiva and Newaree. Carrying on her father’s legacy, Krishanthi also chose law as her profession, achieving 1st place in the Attorney-At-Law Final Examination in 1977, and practised as an Attorney-At-Law and was a Lecturer in the Law Faculty of the University of Colombo.

He was appointed as the first President’s Counsel for the Southern Province on the 20th of October 1983, his proudest achievement. Having practised at the Bar for 49 years, he passed away on June 12, 1993. Being a talented astrologer throughout his life, he was able to predict the date and time of his own death.

As a way to honour Ivor and his legacy in the field of law, four of his grandchildren, Arvin, Shevanti (Shevy), Dilhara (Dilly) and Janani chose law as their profession. Other noteworthy lawyers in the family include Vernon Wijetunge QC, Justice Ninian Jayasuriya and Percival Wijetunge.

Granpappa, as we all called him was a true gentleman, a devoted husband and father to his wife and children, and doted on all his grandchildren equally. He selflessly gave his time to clients on a pro-bono basis, and always had a patient ear for anyone’s problems. He would let me sit in during his consultations with clients during my younger days, which started my love for studying the law and the desire to be like him when I grew up.  He was a great influence in the lives of his children and grandchildren, and we all miss him dearly each and every day.

Granpappa, may you attain Nibbana!

Janani Wijetunge Palihakkara



Share This Post


Advertising Rates

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