Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Durand Jayasuriya

Durand Jayasuriya

Devoted life for social harmony

I came to know Durand Jayasuriya when he came to reside at Siripura Housing Scheme in 1974. Since, there were very few families residing in the scheme at that time and scattered far apart, my wife and I, being newly married were greatly thrilled to have them as our immediate neighbours who were very friendly and helpful. D

urand completed his schooling career at Aluthgama Vidyalaya and taught for some time at Thudugala Vidyalaya and when he got through his Government Clerical Service Examination he joined the Government Service. He served as an Executive Grade Clerk at the Examinations Deparatment.

Thereafter, he was transferred to Cultural Dept. where he was entrusted with the highly responsible task of accompanying foreign cultural groups to all corners of the country attending to their needs, looking after their comforts, transport arrangements and coordinating with other departments which he performed meticulously to the utmost satisfaction of the foreign cultural groups and his higher officers. He also served at the Fisheries Department for a number of years and was transferred to the Department of Agriculture. Thereafter, he was transferred to the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunication where the former Minister Mr. Sunil S. Abeysundera impressed by his performance appointed Durand as his Personal Assistant. Finally, when he reached 60, he retired from Government service.

He was a very humble person who treated everyone with due respect. After retirement he joined Pure Beverages and served for a few years at Coca Cola Co. Durand loved his alma mater Aluthgama Vidyalaya which is situated adjoining his house at Aluthgama. He held many posts in the Aluthgama Vidyalaya Old Boys Association. He was also a founder member of Colombo Branch of Aluthgama Vidyalaya OBA where too he held many posts. Many old boys paid their last respects without considering the distance involved in travelling as all of them loved him sincerely for the long service he rendered to the OBA. Born on 22nd November, 1929 at Beruwala, Durand was the second son of Kaineris and Joslin Peiris.

He married Kamala Gertrude De Silva Manukulasuriya, an English trained teacher on 6th September, 1961. After marriage he resided at Moratuwa and Dehiwela and finally settled down at Siripura, Talawatugoda. He gave the best education possible to his two sons. He was a very friendly and amiable gentleman, a devoted husband, a dutiful father and a very helpful neighbour. He is one of the oldest residents at Siripura Housing Scheme who was a founder member of Siripura Welfare Society where he was the first Cultural Secretary who did yeoman service to unite the residents by organising Sinhala New Year festival avurudu pola, get-togethers, Wesak Bakthi Gee, eye catching Wesak decorations within the scheme, organising a procession of the residents to offer Buddha Puja at the Jothikarama Temple in the neighbourhood in the morning of Poson Poya Day, Christmas Carols, New year Get-togethers etc. He devoted most of his time to organise the above events which helped the residents to live in harmony like a well-knit family irrespective of any religious differences. He also served on its Committee for many more years making his services readily available for the greater good of the residents.

Durand as a hobby wrote regularly to the newspapers highlighting shortcomings and defects affecting the community. He never missed to write an appreciation to the newspapers whenever a resident of Siripura or a friend of his passed away. Once his wife Gertie asked him as to who would write his appreciation when he dies. He was a regular writer of articles to the newspapers and magazines and was the editor of ‘Kala Puwath’ and ‘Saruketha’. He happened to be a voracious reader and never missed to read the newspapers daily until he grievously fell ill. During his illness Durand was well looked after by his wife, two sons and daughters in law and relatives such as his nephew Wimal Dharmaratne who is also a resident at Siripura. Gertie will find it very difficult to bear the loss of her husband, so will be the two sons, two daughters in law and the three grand sons who loved him very dearly.

Durand .was also a diabetic patient recovered to a certain extent where he could walk about but all of a sudden his illness turned into worse and breathed his last at 9.30 p.m. on 12 October, 2008 at the age of 79. He will be missed not only by his family, relations and friends but by the residents of Siripura Housing Scheme who are very grateful to him for his kindness, friendliness and helpfulness. May he attain eternal bliss of Nibbana.

D. I. T. Hettiarachehi Talawatugoda

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