NOEL STANLEY FERNANDO
From Byron Fernando: <email@example.com>
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.
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
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
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
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