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NOEL STANLEY FERNANDO

 

From Byron Fernando: <byronf@bigpond.net.au>

Tuesday, December 30, 2008 10:35 PM

Subject: re: CONDOLENCES

 

Dear friends from all around the world.  Thankyou for your condolences on the passing

of my dear Dad.  He had a great innings up until 3 months ago when he was diagnosed

with Motor Neurone Disease and went downhill very quickly.

Wishing you all a very happy safe prosperous healthy new year.

Kind regards, Byron.

 

DAD’S EULOGY

 

We are not here to mourn the death of a wonderful, caring and selfless husband, father,

and grandfather who sacrificed so much for his family, but rather to celebrate the long

and healthy life he enjoyed until almost the very end. It is tragic and unfortunate

that our father had to experience the debilitating and deteriorating affects of Motor

Neuron disease, however his fighting spirit and positive attitude never ceased.

 

Noel Stanley Fernando was born to Margaret & Eric Fernando on the 27th of December 1928

in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He came fourth in a small family of ten children; Henry (Joy),

Harry, Edward, Erica, Shirley, Phyllis, Hugh, Colin & Kristable (Kitto).

 

As a child, our father spent his days at his family home in Dehiwela, where he enjoyed

hunting with his father. My grandfather was a hunter and a Taxidermist who supplied

specimens to the Colombo Museum, which is clearly where Dad’s interest in hunting

evolved.

 

In his early years, Dad attended both St Thomas’ and St Peters Collage where he was an

exemplary student. Dad was keenly involved in the school’s sporting life, and excelled

in middle distance running. Two of his great achievements included being the Pin Weight

Boxing Champion STUB Shield Champion.

 

After finishing school Dad worked in the monetary Exchange Control, followed by a

successful career in tea planting at the age of 23. In 1955 after a 14-year courtship,

Dad married Mummy, who commonly described him as the ‘perfect perfectionist’. Shortly

after marriage their 3 children were born, first Nelomie, then Crystal and finally

myself.

 

Dad started off planting with an English company called Withall Boustards, at Kirklese

Estate, Udapusalawa. He rose steadily in his profession and stayed with the same

company until the 1970’s when tea estates were nationalised. From the seedling tea

plant to vegetative propagation, Dad refined the art of making ‘the perfect cup of

tea’, and implemented industry practices that have gone down in history. We are sure

that the thousands of workers who knew Dad so well will sadly miss him.

 

The 1980’s brought about a slight change of focus for Dad when he decided to join the

Janatha Estates Development Board where he was Director of the Badulla Branch. He was

assigned to the project development of Tea Estates funded by the Asian Development

Bank. Prior to this, he was involved in many projects with the World Bank and was good

friends with the president, Mr Watanabee.

 

Both our parents were members of the Planters Radalla Club in Dimbulla and Dad served

as the honorary treasurer of this club for many, many years where rescued the from

financial ruin after it was burnt down, and restored it to financial stability. Mum

served side by side with Dad to assist the Lady Con veneer in organising club functions

and catering for hundreds of people at a time. Dad and mum were also long standing

members of the Exclusive ‘Hill Club’ in Newera-Eliya.

 

On top of all the work and social events, our father also served in the army volunteer

force. Major Noel Fernando excelled in target shooting – no surprises there! In fact,

Dad’s main hobby was shooting and he was a renowned ‘crack-shot’. If he got 24 out of

25 in his target shooting, he’d be disappointed. Dad had an impressive collection of

hunting trophies of which he was very proud. Daddy also took great joy in both his

flower and vegetable patches, and his small business in animal husbandry on his estate.

 

Our father always found time to take a break and enjoy life with his family. Daddy

loved to listen to Jim Reeves and The Beatles. During school holidays he would start up

the record player and the children would dance to the music in the lounge. On weekends

all the children would be packed into the back of the Landrover for 7 hours. By the

time jeep reached the holiday home in Arugum Bay we were covered in dust and dirt,

looking like street hooligans.  There was nothing Dad enjoyed more than shooting wild

animals, as well as feasting on lobster, prawns and crabs. His initials were N.S and we

always knew this stood for ‘non stop’. In fact he was given this name because he used

to drive from the tea estates in the high country to Colombo “non stop”, except maybe

for a quick toilet break! These were very good times for all of us, and those memories

are everlasting. Dad took mum on two long holidays overseas, visiting the UK and Europe

where they stayed with family and friends. On their return they used to share stories

of their travel adventures.

 

One highlight of my Dad’s life was hosting His Excellency, The Honourable Mr J.R

Jayawardena, the first executive president of Sri Lanka in their home as an official

guest on numerous occasions. The president and his entourage mainly came to open homes

for underprivileged families, an activity in which Dad was involved with himself, along

with improving living conditions for tea estate workers for over 30 years.

 

The biggest change of lifestyle for both our parents occurred in 1988. When Dad was 60

he finally resigned as Director, J.E.D.B Badulla Branch and decided to migrate to

Sydney in order to be closer to their children and grandchildren. They gave up a lavish

and privileged lifestyle solely for their family, and never looked back. Not once did

we ever hear them complain about not having the comforts of back home. For our father,

wherever family is, was considered home. Dad and Mum’s 5 grandchildren - Shelomie,

Melissa, Allison, Lana and Joshua – all had the privilege of spending time with their

grandparents who moved half-way across the world for their family’s sake. Daddy loved

all of them very much and they all treasured him in return.

 

In his later years, Dad loved his horse racing, where he would always “just miss” the

trifecta. He was an avid poker player, organising games with friends and family – where

we would spend more time joking and laughing than actually playing cards. Watching the

cricket was another one of his pastimes, where he keenly followed the matches between

Sri Lanka and Australia – always supporting the motherland over his new home. Gardening

was another of his passions; he adored his roses and his avocado and mango trees. Dad

also loved just talking with friends and to his neighbours; my father was the first to

offer a helping hand to anyone in need and to welcome new people into the

neighbourhood.

 

In 2005, Dad and Mum celebrated their Golden Anniversary, signifying 50 years of

marriage. It is evident that Daddy’s patience, care, values, morals and love for his

family were at the core of his life and soul. Not one single person who knew our father

would ever have a bad word to say about him; he really was loved and cherished by all.

He was the ultimate gentleman. To his very last breath, he attempted be autonomous. Our

father was active up until the very end, never wanting to inconvenience anyone. He was

determined to retain his pride and dignity no matter what the circumstances were.

 

May God Bless all his efforts on Earth and give peace and rest to his soul.

 

30th Dec 2008