Sri Lanka Sinhalese Family Genealogy
de Zylva - Family #3111
1 Manual de Zylva, d:1924, Superintendent Coconut Estate in Kurinegala + Maria
2 Charlotte, d:1920
2 Edwin de Zylva (Name Not Known, referred to by Wimala in her autobiography, 'Those Phoenix Days", 2004, as 'Loku Mama')
2 Clara Garleen de Zylva, b:1894, d:1926, was terminally ill and passed away in 1926 at the age of 32, hailed from Angurukaramulla within the Negombo Urban District Council limits + Philippan (supposed to have been derived from the Sinhalese equivalent of Pirith Pan possibly mis-spelt by Colonial Administrators who registered the birth officially) Adiris de S Jayatilaka of Madawala (Madawala is a town about 10 miles East of Negombo carved out by seven brothers of the Salagama Caste who had migrated from the South. The seven villages were Maduwa, Madawaka, Heenatiyana, Peellawatte, Devamottawa, Gamangedera, & Unmaruwa), m:1907 (3110)
3 P M Jayatilaka, b:1908
3 Deshabandu Dr Wimala Jayatilaka, b:1920, d:16 Apr 2007, Chancellor, Sri Jayawardenepura University 1983-2000, educated at Vidyalankara Buddhist Mixed School (VBMS), Negombo, Newstead Nedombo, University College, Colombo 7 (1937-1952), Principal Maliyadeva Balika Vidyalata, Kurunegala, Jun-1-1947, Institute of Education, University of London 1946-1951, Principal Government Girls College, Castle Street (Devi Balika Vidyalaya), 1953-1966, Princess of Wales College, 1966-1968 + Dr S Luxman de Silva (Lux), President Institute of Engineers Sri Lanka, Chairman State Rubber Manufacturing Corporation, b:circa 1914, d:1992, after suffering from Alzheimer's Disease for some time. m:1952 (3112)
**DE SILVA - DESHABANDU DR (MRS) WIMALA (Former Chancellor of Sri Jayewardenepura University, founder Principal of Devi Balika Vidyalaya, former Principal of Maliyadeva Girls' School, Kurunegala and Princess of Wales College, Moratuwa). Beloved wife of the late Dr S.L. De Silva and sister of the late Mr P.M. Jayatilaka, passed away peacefully. Cortege leaves residence at 4.30 p.m. on Thursday the 19th April. Cremation at General Cemetery, Borella. No flowers by request. 26, Swarnadisi Place, off Koswatte Road, Nawala, Rajagiriya. DN Tue Apr 17 2007
3 son (Teacher), b:1931
2 Mildred (Millie) 'Suddi', b:1910
2 Flora Lilian 'Poochi', b:1912 + Edwin de Silva, d:circa mid sixties
3 Harshi de Silva
3 Dr Kumar de Silva, felled by surgical misadventure in his forties
4 C K de Silva
3 Lal de Silva (Toronto, Canada)
2 Raymond de Zylva, referred to by Wimala in her autobiography, 'Those Phoenix Days", 2004, as 'Gei Mama')
2 Dr Alfred de Zylva, referred to by Wimala in her autobiography, 'Those Phoenix Days", 2004, as 'Thoslian Mama') + Charlotte
Above information extracted from "Those Phoenix Days" by Wimala de Silva, 2004 ISBN 955-98534-0-6
Following de Zylva family names could have connectivity to the above family tree but no relationship is known at this time:
1 de Zylva
2 Adrian Adi Hetty Jayasekera De Zylva
3 George Ellis De Zylva
4 Adrian Reginald Hugh De Zylva,
5 Stephen Askew
4 Dicky De Zylva
4 Mavis De Zylva, living in Pannipitiya in Sri Lanka
Peter De Zylva
Peter was a Sinhalese man of great kindness of heart and great energy of character lived in the town of Moratuwa, south of Colombo. He was a Christian preacher whose voice rang with the sounds of redemption from his desk at the Moratuwa Chapel where he preached.
Grief, is a selfish thing, some claim. We grieve
cos WE lose. Not the one who passed away.
I was swelled with grief, this morning too, when I scanned the obits in the DN & DM to find that Deshabandu Dr. Wimala de Silva (nee Jayatilaka), former Chancellor Sri Jayawardenapura University (1983-2000), had passed away, yesterday.
Although she was much older to me, by 28 years, I remembered the wonderful Sundays in the Seventies, when a few of us young chaps, friends of her maternal first cousin, Lal de Silva (ex Ananda College, now living in Toronto, Canada), gathered at her beautiful home in Koswatte to play Bridge with her and her wonderful husband, the late Dr Luxman de Silva, ex Chairman State Rubber Manufacturing Corporation and ex President Insitute of Engineers Sri Lanka, who passed away in 1992.
Her humor, her laughter, her intelligence, and her beautiful conversation, mixed with the humongous hospitality that she showered upon us, young men, which included a grand Sunday lunch cooked in typical Sinhala style, is something I find very hard to forget.
It is more than 30 years since I last saw her but the fact that she has always been someone whom I have admired immensely, for her magnificent manners and charming character, will always linger in my heart and mind.
I wanted to so much to try and see her in 2006, when I was down in Colombo on a short vacation, but failed on account of busy schedules and family commitments. It hurts me so much that I didn't make the effort and take the time to call on her just to say hello.
Now I grieve, so sadly. Yes I do. I grieve for myself. That is the basic essence of grief, I think?
They dont make people like her, anymore.
May she be in splendor wherever she has gone to.
Fazli Sameer, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Tue Apr 17 2007
By Roshan Peiris
She grew up with her father to guide her, in an old world house in Negombo. Her mother had died when she was five years old. Her father, a practising Buddhist, sent his only daughter (there was also a son) to a little village Buddhist school which he helped to build and manage.
In the village school, her best friends were the vegetable amme's daughter and the labourer's daughter with whom she sat on the school bench together.
Dr. Wimala de Silva Chancellor of the Sri Jayewardenapura University and the first and only woman Chancellor in Sri Lanka says it was her father's influence that taught her one must not look down on people because they were deprived.
Dr. de Silva recalls, "Ours was a traditional Sinhala home where even my aunts did not sit at table with my father. It was also a hospitable home where all were welcome to stay or have a meal. To me as a young child I valued tradition, for it gave me a sense of belonging and security and a tranquil home.
"My father was Eastern oriented and my aunts who attended Newstead, Negombo were Western oriented and so early in my life I came under the influence of two different cultures.
"I read Sinhala books since my father did so and English books and Latin because of my aunts. I think my father was a very tactful person and in a way a good psychologist. He once found me trying to fix a piece of lace for my underskirt and asked why I was doing this. Why do you want this? Who will notice it and how much does it cost? I replied that it cost fifty cents a yard. He told me rice was five cents a measure and one can buy 10 measures of rice for that money.
"He thus taught me relative values at an early age. It was done tactfully and gently with no scolding."
On another occasion while at Newstead, Dr. de Silva recalled the visit of Tagore's troupe.
"Our dancing teacher Gem Paulickpulle had told us about oriental dancing and we were going to be taken for the performance. But when I told my father he reminded me a teacher from my first village school was getting married on the same day and she would feel very hurt if I did not attend the wedding. I was very unhappy about it but now in retrospect I am glad that as a teenager I was given two lessons in life. One not to hurt people and second to get one's priorities straight. These lessons have stood me in good stead.
"At school as a bright student I was chosen to do Western classics. All very well, said my father as long as you do not forget or neglect the value of your mother tongue. So, I always kept up with my Sinhala which has undoubtedly helped me.'
'I did well in my Cambridge Senior and when my aunts and I were jubilant wanting to celebrate, my father said, don't be boastful and invite envy- another good lesson. On his death bed he told a fellow ayurvedic physician Mudaliyar S. B. A. Samarasinghe to please look after his pupils, particularly the youngest of them. He said he was happy to die, having built a free ayurvedic dispensary for everyone irrespective of race or caste. Until his end he taught me the salutary lesson of selflessness.
"I learnt at school, the ideals of simplicity, responsibility and concern for others. The Methodist Missionary school is very firm about instilling these values .I still recall and cherish Miss Dixon the principal, who in one of her prize day speeches said we are sending from Newstead girls who find happiness in simple things, dependable girls who put their conscience into their work and girls who can take responsibility. This is something that has stayed with me.
"My husband Dr. S.L. de Silva always told me whatever we buy for the house must be functional. We must not buy to keep up with the Joneses. He also wanted to build a house in a rural setting so that we could live a quiet life with no pretences.
"He also asked me not to wear ostentatious jewellery for he felt it was in bad taste. These are the influences he had on me."
At the University Mrs. Silva sat for English honours and while there inculcated a measure of independence.
Today our first woman Chancellor lives in her beautiful house with a large garden and says humbly it was all because of the influences in her early life which set her values.
Personal reflections of a student: DN Mon Apr 23 2007
GREAT EDUCATIONIST: Sri Lanka has lost one of its greatest educationists in contemporary times, not only for her pioneering efforts to educate and give pride of place to the brightest women in the country but also for the person behind that vision and dynamic that set the pace for a premier women’s school in the country.
My short encounter with Dr. Wimala De Silva began prior to my experience as a student in her school when it was just over ten years old. I was privileged to be associated with two of the greatest educational institutions for women in Sri Lanka.
After many years of schooling at St. Bridget’s Convent, Mrs. Wimala De Silva’s influence and an offer of a place at Devi Balika Vidyalaya for the G.C.E Advanced Level was one not to be refused. The school enjoyed a stellar reputation for scholars and admission was extremely competitive due to the standards set by its
founder and principal. A day after my G.C.E Ordinary level results were announced; with much coaxing from the head of my school, I received a release to be admitted to Devi Balika under the leadership of Mrs. Wimala de Silva, one of the most admired educationists of her time.
Mrs. De Silva knew to hand pick her students and it didn’t end there. She knew each student personally and her vision went beyond physical buildings and expanding the school to building the women she
chose as students to mould them wisely as their school leader and role model. In moulding young women, her emphasis did not stop at academic achievement. With her calm composure, she taught us to be assertive when necessary and act with social responsibility.
The wholesome grooming under her leadership is the underlying success of many women who passed through her hands.
I may come across as one who had very minimal exposure to her guidance due to my brief tenure in her school. There are many others who continued their interaction with Mrs. De Silva. The impact she had on me in that brief time has stayed with me over decades and will live on as we do not easily encounter people of her caliber of greatness in our journey through life.
I recall some personal memories of my tenure at Devi Balika under Mrs. De Silva prior to entering the university. She was very cognizant
of the fact that I had come from an elitist private school with a different culture to one that was in its initial stages of development under her stewardship. The expected norm was to frown on private elitist schools and students from such schools.
Contrary to expectations, Mrs. De Silva was sensitive to the effects of a transition and recognized that the good attributes of a strict elitist private school were needed in a new environment. She reinforced in me that the good from any educational institution if emulated in a growing environment can elevate standards.
She impressed upon all students the importance of good values, discipline and high standards that complemented academic achievement.
She nurtured Devi Balika from its inception in 1953 to bring it to the forefront of scholarly pursuits for women. Her role as a leader was executed calmly but with firm principles and equality for all.
It was Mrs. Wimala de Silva who picked me from hundreds of students, and provided the training needed paving a path for me in the direction of vocal music. I myself never considered this to be one of my strengths.
As an observant educator, Mrs. Wimala de Silva invested in me and saw an attribute beyond my horizon. In return I was glad she gave me the opportunity to win the first place honours for Devi Balika in the inter school solo competition sponsored by Radio Ceylon many years ago; an honour that up to today has kept me on track.
I continued vocal training in Sri Lanka and the USA in addition to academic pursuits and built on the confidence she placed in me.
If not for her encouragement and vision, a single student like me in the crowd of hundreds at that time, may never have ventured on that path.
Today, I continue on this path and enjoy it more than ever having improved my skills beyond my school competition standards.
She was committed to following the accomplishments of her students as a principle when she listened to competition broadcasts on the radio and called me at home to confirm that she did so. This meant a lot to me, a new student who spent such a short time at the school.
It speaks volumes for her as a guiding light to young people and her ability to inspire from zero to staggering heights.
I am eternally grateful that due to her guidance, in addition to pursuing an academic path, I continued her “discovery” and had the honour of performing in many places in the USA on behalf of my country at the Smithsonian Institution, the World Bank Auditorium, International concerts and at the US Government Tsunami Fundraiser in Washington DC., and other concerts of the Asian American Music Society in Washington. At all these events, I couldn’t help remembering the role Mrs. Wimala De Silva played in my pursuits.
Today, my academic and professional achievements are dwarfed by the music performances that would not have been if opportunities were not afforded to me to meet challenges and explore other avenues outside an academic career path.
A great lady leaves this earth after decades of service, innumerable achievements and above all, creating a place for women by giving them the confidence that the sky is the limit for those who aspire to reach heights while being firmly grounded by the values she taught. We all owe her a debt of deep gratitude for the spirit she leaves behind.
May she attain Supreme Bliss in her final rest.