[APPRECIATIONS - (21-01-2019)] | Daily News

[APPRECIATIONS - (21-01-2019)]

Rev. Fr. Henry Miller

He stayed true to the Jesuit motto

Keeping true to the motto of the Jesuits, ad majorem dei gloriam (For the greater glory of God), Rev. Father Henry Miller was essentially a servant of God. Proof of that was the earthly possessions he left behind on his writing table. A tiny crucifix, a simple table fan, and a light.

I have read all about the heroic deeds of Rev. Father Miller, especially during the dark days in Batticaloa, in the Sunday Observer; but I never met him, unlike the way I often met another American Jesuit Father, Rev. Fr. Weber, in Wanathamulla. He trained unknown athletes from St. Michael's College, Batticaloa, to rattle the teeth of the townees at public schools athletic meets.

In grateful memory, a bronze monument of Rev. Father Weber stands in front of the school. A similar memorial is called for in remembrance of Rev. Father Miller. What better a way to do that than upgrading the road connecting Colombo to Batticaloa into a double-carriage highway and calling it the 'Rev. Fr. Henry Miller Highway'.

Ephrem Fernando


Amin Suby

Remembered for his kindness

Say to my friends, when they look upon me, dead

Weeping for me and mourning me in sorrow

Do not believe that this corpse you see is my self.

In the name of God, I tell you, it is not I

- Al Ghazzaly (Al-Lauhul-Mahfuz)

It has been two years since we lost our dear friend Amin Suby, with whom I had associated for many years. He is remembered almost every day in someone’s heart for his kind deeds, and many feel he is still among us, as mentioned in the verses of Al Ghazzaly: “Do not believe that this corpse you see is myself.”

Humility was an inborn trait of Amin Suby’s, and he always had a friendly word and charming smile for everyone.

His maternal grandfather, from Syria, used to visit Ceylon for trade purposes in the early 1900’s, and later set up business in this country. Amin Suby was born in Ceylon to his Syrian mother and Yemeni father in 1925. He was educated at S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia and was a Junior Boxer in his early college days, very popular among his colleagues. At the time of his demise, Amin Suby was Chairman and Managing Director of the family-owned Tea export business; T. Suby (Pvt) Limited. He was appointed the Honorary Consul-General of Yemen in the late '90s and held that position until 2014, serving the Government of Yemen with great integrity and dedication.

He passed away peacefully at his residence on January 7, 2017.

His demise was a great loss not only to his close family and friends, but also to many he helped in private in their time of need, and to the many Humanitarian Organisations to which he contributed regularly.

Marshad Barry


Noreen Welikala

A true-hearted friend

We were at school (Ladies' College) together. We entered the Peradeniya Campus together and resided at the Hilda Obeysekera Hall. We made many friends and palled up with two others; Metta from the Matara Convent and Noeline from Princess of Wales, Moratuwa.

The four of us formed a close-knit foursome. We went on long walks, exploring the campus: we helped at the Milk Feeding Centre and joined the hikes to Hantana. We participated in all hall activities. We enjoyed our time at the campus under the watchful eye of Mathi, our Warden.

At the end of three years, Noreen and Metta graduated and left, while Noeline and I remained. Metta joined the Bank of Ceylon; while Noreen was appointed Principal of Stafford (later Stafford International School), where she served for 50 years. We still kept in touch; but gradually, albeit slightly; drifted apart.

Noreen had a high profile and demanding job, but there was no arrogance or pride; she was the same Noreen I always knew. She was ever-ready to help her pupils to adjust, and talk to their parents with understanding. She was loved by the staff. However busy she was, she always had time for us!

It was when her husband fell ill that Noreen really proved herself; looking after him with patience, night and day, giving up most of her interests such as painting, to spend more time with him.

She kept in touch with us (thanks to the phone), and expressed a wish to go out somewhere together. We did manage to go out to lunch a few times and really enjoyed ourselves. Noreen would call it 'rejuvenation'. She also enjoyed going to films with Metta.

Illness came suddenly and unexpectedly, and the next we heard was that she had passed away. It was a shock to many of her friends and colleagues.

I will always remember her as someone who remained the same Noreen of our school and campus days: a good example for Kipling’s 'If'!

It is God’s Will.



George Marcus Fonseka

Efficient administrative officer

It is with sorrow that I write these few words of appreciation on George Marcus Fonseka, who passed away 50 years ago on October 14, 1968.

He was born on September 3, 1914 and hailed from a very respectable Catholic family in Uswatte, Moratuwa. His sudden demise at a comparatively young age of 54, was a blow to all of us. He was the eldest in a family of eight children. Uncle Marcus received his education at St. Sebastian's College, Moratuwa and later, completed his senior school certificate examination in 1931.

After his school career, he started his own business venture. During that era, the fuel business was mainly handled by the private sector, and he was the sole Caltex dealer in Moratuwa. During the period from 1955 to 1960, this business activity developed by leaps and bounds.

He was an outstanding sportsman who excelled in the disciplines of football and athletics. He was a faithful husband to his wife, late Rita, a loving and caring father to his four children; sons Chandral and Lalith, as well as daughters Shriyani and late Nalini.

His children were educated at St. Sebastian's College and Our Lady of Victories Convent, which are leading Catholic schools in Moratuwa. He believed that giving the best education to his children would be an asset for them someday, and to become good citizens of this country. Though he had a busy schedule, he looked after his children very well and at the same time, he was a strict father when it came to matters of importance. His brothers and sisters consulted him whenever they wanted to take important decisions in their life.

Uncle Marcus was very knowledgeable, efficient and highly-intelligent administrative officer; but most importantly, he was kindhearted. He and my father, Mervyn, were more friends than relations. However, after his death, our two families have not been able to be in close association.

My friendship with his two sons, Chandral and Lalith, began in early 1969, when I was at St. Sebastian's College, Moratuwa, studying in Grade Four. Chandral was a good friend of mine; he was also a great musician. Whether it was a sports-meet, director's day, prize-giving, farewell, or any other function of the college, he was there to sing. In 1977, he joined the 'Super Golden Chimes' with late Calrance Wijewardena and presently, he is leading a well-known band in the island known as the 'Kings'.

Uncle Marcus was also a lover of music, he used to play the violin. He wanted his daughters to be fluent in their music knowledge and bought them musical instruments: a guitar and a piano accordion.

He was good to all his employees, and to all of us as well. Though he is no more, his legacy, deeds, and words of wisdom will ever remain enshrined in the hearts of all who knew him.

May the soul of uncle Marcus rest in peace.

Prabath Perera


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