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Dorothy Haes (nee de Saram)

Dorothy, born in Pussellawa in 1933, died in Metung, Victoria, Australia on  2nd March 2006.   Dorothy was the daughter of Frederick James Morgan de Saram, Superintendent of Police, and Theodora (Dorothy) de Saram, sister to Sheila Meynert.   Completing her secondary education at Bishop’s College, Colombo, Dorothy excelled at netball, athletics and tennis, winning the National Junior Tennis Singles Championships (under 19s).   She was Games Captain and House Captain of Ford House in 1951 and was one of the first female graduates at the University of Ceylon after it was moved from Colombo to Peradeniya.  Having obtained a Bachelor of Arts, she won a scholarship to the University of California Los Angeles where she obtained an MSc, majoring in Physical Education.   Returning from UCLA she took the position of Assistant Director of Physical Education at the Peradeniya University, later filling the position of Director, where she was much respected for her leadership and organisational abilities.  After emigrating to Australia she obtained a Diploma of Education from Monash University, and a Graduate Diploma in Librarianship from Melbourne University.  She took pride in her profession as a teacher all her working life.

Dorothy met Herbert Haes, the Manager of Clarence Amarasinghe and Co and Car Mart Ltd (Kandy Branch) and they married in Colombo in 1958.     With their children Frederick, Margarethe and Herbert, they emigrated to Melbourne, Australia in 1965.   On retirement, they moved to Metung on the Gippsland Lakes where  Herbert indulged his passion for sailing.   They were both much involved with the Metung Yacht Club where Dorothy was the starter and handicapper of the yacht racing.   She was an active member of the Parish, and had a wide circle of friends.   Her many interests included playing bridge and maintaining a very extensive stamp collection.

Dorothy developed a great interest in genealogy and produced a fascinating book with charts and photographs of one of the DE SARAM families of Ceylon. She spent many years pursuing this project with her usual enthusiasm and eye for detail, initially for the benefit of her children. The interest generated amongst members of the de Saram family worldwide encouraged her to produce a second updated edition;   as she said “I have really enjoyed delving into all the vagaries of various family members”.

Dorothy’s family, which meant the world to her, grew to include her children, her daughters-in-law Judy and Kerry, her grandchildren Nicholas, Kylie, Elizabeth, Andrew and Sophie.  One of Dorothy’s endearing gifts was to offer real and sustained friendship to her many friends, where with true love, empathy and sincere interest she would always keep in touch.

Personal attributes included courage, determination, compassion, kindness, loyalty, sense of duty and strong religious faith. She drew upon these strengths when, in December 2004, she was diagnosed with cancer of the stomach.   She finally succumbed to the disease on 2nd March 2006, while surrounded by her family in the peace of her own home.

As evidence of the great affection and respect of the local community in Metung, the following tribute was given 5 days before she died:

“The course for the yacht race was set directly out from Herbert and Dorothy’s house.   Dorothy and her family watched most of it from their lounge room window with its panoramic view overlooking Lake King.   After the race all the yachts sailed up to the foreshore in front of the house, dropped their sails and rafted up for 30 minutes.  The fleet then gave Dorothy 3 cheers and a minute’s silence.   She, Herbert and the rest of the family standing and watching with her, were very moved by the gesture.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with Herbert and the family at this time, and gentle Dorothy will be remembered in the hearts of all those who were fortunate to have known her.

Weekend Standard - Mar 18 2006 - Joan de Saram, London