He stayed true to the blue and gold all his life Gamini Edirisinghe Gamini Edirisinghe, 75, passed away very peacefully at his home in Kalyani Road, Colombo 6 a few days ago. His dear wife Roshi told me she had been preparing him for a morning bath when he suddenly felt short of breath and [...]




He stayed true to the blue and gold all his life

Gamini Edirisinghe

Gamini Edirisinghe, 75, passed away very peacefully at his home in Kalyani Road, Colombo 6 a few days ago. His dear wife Roshi told me she had been preparing him for a morning bath when he suddenly felt short of breath and passed away soon after, before the Doctor arrived. It had been a very calm and peaceful passing. He leaves behind his wife Roshi, daughter Ramala and two very adorable grand-daughters.

Gamini was the elder son of renowned optician Albert Edirisinghe  and his wife Yasa. Albert had established a successful firm at Colpetty junction and also on Galle Road, Bambalapitiya, called Vision House in addition to many outstation branches. He hailed from a respected family in Ganegama south, Baddegama.

Gamini and his father were dedicated Rotarians as far back as 1961. Albert was a founder member of Rotary Colombo West. In 1969, he was elected President and under his presidentship, his young son Gamini was inducted as a member by his father. Some years later, Gamini was elected President of the Club and in 2000, he was elected to the prestigious post of Governor. He continued to be an active member until sadly he suffered a stroke. Till then, he made it a point to attend every Rotary function including the Wednesday meetings.

Gamini’s entire education from Primary to senior level was at Royal College. His devotion and commitment to the school was so great that he was present at almost every match, be it rugger, cricket or athletics, to cheer his old school.

In September 1986, Gamini was elected as convenor for ORGACO,  then Secretary and finally Chairman. He was elected Secretary of the Royal College Union (RCU) from 1982-86 and was Trustee of the RCU from 2006 -2011. He was Vice President of the RCU from 2011- 2019. He resigned from the post in September 2020, due to ill health.

Gamini gave of his best to so many organisations of the RCU. He was Treasurer of the Royal- Thomian Cricket Match Committee and helped as Secretary of the RCU Constitution from 1987- 1990. He also worked as the convenor of the Parliamentary Consultative Committtee from 1988-89 and was a member of the Finance Committee for 14 years from 1990 -2005.

Gamini was married to Roshi Kodagoda who was the first cousin of my wife. With this close relationship strengthened by our active participation in Old Royalist affairs, we became very close friends. How often Gamini and Roshi would ring and invite us to go out for a meal and enjoy a wonderful warm chat. When I was abroad, my wife would tell me how Gamini and Roshi would frequently visit and take her out for an evening meal.

At a very personal level, I would like to mention how Gamini asked me whether he could pay a call to meet Prime Minister R. Premadasa. Having inquired from the PM who agreed instantly, I accompanied Gamini to the Prime Minister’s Office. Having warmly welcomed Gamini, his first question was ‘Gamini what is the help I can give you’. Gamini’s instant reply was ‘Nothing at all, Sir, I have come only to wish you well in the future’. That was Gamini in his true self.

Whenever the family had their yearly outings, Gamini and Roshi were the first to say they were happy to join. One of the early times, about 20-30 of the family went by bus to Nuwara Eliya and stayed two nights at General’s House in Nuwara Eliya. Many were the meals and outings we had together and so much camaraderie developed with all those who joined. We have such nostalgic memories.

Gamini and Roshi’s daughter Ramala, an Investment Analyst is married to Jehan Fernando, an old Royalist himself and they are the loving parents of Arhana and Shamara. Gamini found immense pleasure in his grandchildren who truly enriched his life.

Above all, Gamini was a truly good human being. Simple and unaffected, he always found time to help those less fortunate than him. He was no respecter of race, caste, creed or religion and moved with others freely. Because of his family background, he was a devout Buddhist.

Just three score and fifteen, it was much too early for Gamini to pass away. I will truly miss his friendly personality and the warmth of our strong friendship. But his memory will live on for the future amongst Rotarians, old Royalists, and friends of whom he had a wide circle.

His dear wife, daughter, son-in-law grandchildren and siblings, Thulani, Janaka, Mangala and Sharmali can rest assured that Gamini will be fondly remembered by all.

May he attain the Supreme Bliss of Nibbana.

Nihal Seneviratne

A gentleman and leading scientist

Dr P. A. J. Ratnasiri

 The rather sudden demise of Dr P.A.J. Ratnasiri or Janaka Ratnasiri as he preferred to be called, leaves a great void among the scientific literati of Sri Lanka. He was an avid reader who kept up-to-date in his field, and always expressed his views without fear or favour on controversial national issues, which he felt the public should be informed of. We will sorely miss his erudite articles.

Dr Ratnasiri passed away on March 24, aged 80 years. He is survived by his wife, Professor Nalini Ratnasiri.

Dr  Ratnasiri graduated from the University of Ceylon, joined the CISIR (Ceylon Institute of Scientific & Industrial Research). which was the premier scientific research institute at the time, and worked alongside the renowned Dr S. Gnanalingam on his pioneering research on Ionospheric Absorption. He subsequently proceeded to the University of Illinois, USA, where he obtained his PhD on Ionospheric Absorption as well. He then returned to the CISIR and joined Dr Gnanalingam to continue their work where they made much headway both being internationally recognised experts in this field.

In addition to their research work they provided calibration and repair services to Sri Lankan institutions such as hospitals, universities, industries and other R&D organisations that use sophisticated electrical and electronic equipment. On his return he took a lead role in continuing and expanding these services. This service was not provided by any other recognized institution. On Dr Gnanalingam’s retirement in 1983, Dr Ratnasiri became the Head of the Applied Physics and Electronics (AP&E) Section, and in 1985 became the Deputy Director for Physical Sciences.

I first met Dr Ratnasiri when I joined CISIR AP&E Section in 1975 along with two others.  He provided guidance and supervision and moulded our careers. He was always approachable, helpful and pleasant. When I proceeded on my post graduate studies he encouraged me to continue for a Ph.D and did everything in his power to get the required clearances and approvals. When I returned, he had the foresight to point out that I could use my knowledge to study the Geuda heat treatment process, though my expertise was in electrical properties of materials. This project went on to provide CISIR with a patent as well as income from commercialisation of the process, demonstrating his lateral thinking ability.

His guidance and assistance, not only on technical matters, but also on staff management and navigating the bureaucracy, stood me in good stead right through my CISIR career, as well as while developing a new career in Australia. I am forever grateful to him for that.

He was always interested in the wellbeing of the CISIR staff and held positions in many of its associations and even after retirement was instrumental in setting up the Association of Ex CISIR/ITI Staff, to keep together the staff after their retirement. He was the Founder President and active member of this Association.

In addition to his work within CISIR, he was very involved with the scientific and industrial community. He played a very active role in the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science (SLAAS)  and in 2002 he was inaugurated as the General President of SLAAS. He was a founder member of the Institute of Physics Sri Lanka (IPSL) and played a key role in developing it to the recognized organisation it is today. In recognition of his contribution,  he was elected the President of the IPSL in 1983. He provided his expertise to a number of other major scientific and industrial organizations including the National Science Foundation (NSF).

On retirement he served as the Chief Technical Advisor to the Environment Ministry where he worked on the Montreal Protocol on Ozone Reduction and was a key Sri Lankan delegate at Geneva. He also served as a Consultant to the Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat where he was instrumental in developing the LNG Policy for Sri Lanka. He was keenly interested in Sustainable Development, Environmental Protection and Energy Policy, and wrote regularly on these subjects, especially energy policy. His articles were based very much on facts and knowing the man, he would have checked and double checked these as well as all his calculations before sending them to print. Among all this, he was for a long time the Hon. Treasurer of the Ceylon Association for the Mentally Retarded.

Something he was very proud of towards the later part of his life was his sustainable cinnamon plantation with the environmentally friendly house that he built somewhere close to Ratnapura. He was also highly knowledgeable in Sri Lanka’s geography and history.  Whichever part of Sri Lanka you visited with him, he could explain the lay of the land, point out landmarks as well as explain its history.

He was always willing to share his expertise and knowledge. On one occasion one of my nieces contacted him, without knowing of any connection to me, for some information on Sri Lankan Energy Policy for an assignment she was doing. He had straightaway provided her with the required information, additional documentation, as well as guided her in understanding some complex concepts and terms. That is the kind of man he was.

It has been a great privilege to have associated with Dr Ratnasiri, a real gentlemen, true scientist and a tireless campaigner for the wellbeing of others. He will be truly missed.

We offer our sincere condolences to his wife and other family members. May he attain nibbana.

Dr Rohana Ediriweera

She stood as tall as the trees around her

Kamini Meedeniya Vitarana

Ruk Rakaganno, the Tree Society of Sri Lanka remembers our former President, by commencing the project that was dear to Kamini Vitarana’s heart. The ‘Suduwelipotha Forest Restoration Project’ initiated by her vision, supported by John Keells Holdings, commenced this month in her memory. Mrs V (as she was affectionately known) has etched an indelible mark in our lives.

Kamini Meedeniya Vitarana stood as tall as the trees around her – deep rooted in her passion for the environment whilst spreading the fruits of conservation.

It is difficult to capture the essence of Mrs V in a few words because she was an amazing lady- even now when we think of all her attributes of tenacity, determination, perseverance and passion for whatever work she undertook it never ceases to amaze us!

She offered the shade of her kindness, compassion and generosity to many, especially women less fortunate.

Indeed it was an honour and a privilege to have associated with her during the last decade of her colourful life – a beautiful tapestry woven of many diverse and impacting threads.

Mrs. V, we at Ruk Rakaganno hope to continue weaving the legacy you left behind. May the trees you so loved and the trees we hope to plant offer you their leaves of peace and praise.

Members of Ruk Rakaganno

Erudite priest who was loved by his parishioners

Rev. Canon Raylin Andradie

Arsekulasuriya Arsenilaitta Adittia Don Raylin Henry Jacob Andradie Warnakula Jayasuria was born on July 25, 1896 to Don Abraham Andradie and Lindamulage Helena de Silva in their ancestral home ‘Andradie Nivasa’ in Idama, Moratuwa. His marriage to Balapuwaduge Letitia Charlotte Mendis took place at Holy Emmanuel Church, Moratuwa on May 1, 1929 and they were blessed with a son Christopher and daughter Pauline.

He was educated at Prince of Wales’ College, Moratuwa, ordained Deacon in 1924 and attained priesthood in 1925. A doughty champion of the Anglo Catholic faith, whilst serving as Acting Vicar at St. Paul’s Church, Kandy, he had the rare privilege of organizing a service for the Duke of Gloucester who visited Ceylon for the presentation of the Throne and Crown of the last King of Kandy.

An erudite scholar, he was proficient in many languages – Sinhala, English, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Pali and Sanskrit. Perhaps that’s why he himself baptized me and christened me with a Hebrew name – Hephzibah, an English name – Pauline and a Latin name – Helena.

His longest stay was as Incumbent of St. Peter’s Church, Koralawella, Priest-in-Charge of St. James’ Church, Egoda Uyana and Christ Church, Horetuduwa. In his almost 11 years at these churches, he was noted for his pastoral visits and his photographic memory of the names and characteristics of his parishioners.

In 1939 he published St. Peter’s Prayer Book in Sinhala and ‘Sithuyana’ in 1946 also in Sinhala in commemoration of the centenary of the Diocese of Colombo (1845-1945). ‘Sithuyana’ is widely used even now in Anglican homes in Moratuwa. He translated several devotional books into Sinhala and made a distinct contribution by revising the Book of Common Prayer into Sinhala. He had almost completed a Commentary of St. Mathew’s Gospel in Sinhala when he passed away.

One unforgettable memory is of my brother and I playing cricket in the Church premises and rushing to get back home at six in the evening soon after the ‘Angelus’, as we were taught. We prayed and hurdled over a few bamboo planks, a temporary structure across the main gate. My brother’s head struck on a concrete slab embedded by this gate. Seeing my brother bleeding profusely, Daddy was in a state of shock. My parents felt so bad that this happened due to ‘obedience’.

Daddy’s last posting was at St. Mark’s Church, Dandugama where he served for five and a half years. He was appointed as a Canon to the Stall bearing the Superscription of St. Lawrence on December 4, 1953 in succession to Canon Jacob Mendis.

In addition to his pastoral work, he travelled to the Divinity School in the Colombo Diocese to teach Sinhala to the students and even travelled 80km each way to the Kurunegala Diocese to lecture to Divinity Students. Ill health never stopped him from carrying on God’s work. He conducted the Holy Mass on Sunday, June 20, 1954 serving to the very end the way he wished. “Oh! Jesus I have promised to serve Thee to the end.”

His 1954 diary entry reads, 7764th Mass celebrated on June 13th and I understand he celebrated his last Mass on Sunday, June 20th – his 7765th.

When he served at St. Mark’s Church, he even had a rehearsal of my future wedding. He had baptized me and was eager to walk me down the aisle. He was thinking yet again how he would perform a dual role, asking the question “who giveth this woman to be married to this man” and how he would step forward and say, “It’s me!” and step back again to carry on with the ceremony. Sadly, he couldn’t fulfil his wish.

He was laid to rest on June 22, 1954 in the presence of an unusually large gathering – a glowing tribute to this pious, faithful, much loved priest.

My father’s birth centenary was celebrated at Holy Emmanuel Church on July 25, 1996 attended by a very large gathering. It was very joyous to hear people say “Fr. Andradie baptized me, prepared me for confirmation, delivered an inspiring homily at our wedding etc”. My husband Cohn and daughter Kshiara gave me unstinted support in organizing this event. My brother was overseas.

Tracing our genealogy horizontally and vertically was a hobby of Daddy’s, which I am continuing.

Daddy, there are some very special moments  that stand out in my mind as I think about what a wonderful father you’ve been (not forgetting my precious mother Letitia and brother Christopher).

Pauline Opatha

Time an illusion, love never ending


25th death anniversary
My dearest darling Fazly
Known and the unknown
The rough, coarse camouflage
Soaked with blood
Humane heart smiled through

Praising tributes
Red carpet honours
Highest gallantry
Awarded to an abstract
Humanity laughed

Wristwatch and the wedding ring
Still carry scars
Brown turned blood – thread
Time – an illusion
Love – never ending
Life – so ethereal

Your ever loving
(Col. Fazly Laphir, P.W.V., R.W.P., R.S.P. Commanding Officer,1st Regiment Special Forces was killed in action on July 19, 1996 during the rescue mission in Mullaitivu)


 To wonderful parents who taught us what real love is


It was on July 5, 59 years ago that my Amma and Thathie were married and made a vow never to be broken until death did them part. That they did to perfection.

They lived an ordinary life, yet made huge sacrifices to raise us, from travelling on scooter many distances for work, pawning jewellery, getting into huge debt to send us to elite schools so that we had a good education. Even when we were bigger, they would come to our rescue when needed, to support and guide us in the right direction.

They had their fights, yelling, calling each other names, yet lived together for over 50 years. Amma like Thathie displayed early signs of dementia and couldn’t quite recollect what was going on sometimes. When Thathie passed away, she hardly spoke about it, but said she was going to be all alone. Just days before her death, she spoke to me and we had a proper conversation after nearly four months. She asked to go and live in their home. We were adamant but started to make arrangements. She passed away four days after that call, four months after Thathie.

We miss them every day and not a day goes by when we do not talk about them, or share a dream we have had. Whenever I see them in their wedding photo, young, smart, radiant and beautiful, a tear or two would smudge my glasses. They were great parents, who taught us what real love is. It was never romantic, not a story that you and I will find in fairy tales, novels or in movies…. what they had was much stronger, and hidden in layers like an onion. A strange kind of love and a commitment to each other that was inseparable. God saw what we couldn’t and took both of them together two years ago.

I am quite confident that they are together now, with Jesus, Mother Mary and all the Saints in heaven, resting in eternal peace and happiness.

I hope and pray that we meet them again, just to hug them once more and thank them for all they did to see us through in our lives.

May their souls rest in peace.

Dinesh Dias



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