The grandson of Sir James Peiris, Gemunu Peiris Dias is 90 today. He was born on October 31, 1920. He is perhaps one of the oldest Royalists still surviving and the oldest altar boy of St. Michael & All Angels Polwatte, Colpetty. His record there as a parishioner, is unlikely to be broken.
Born at their ancestral home, “Ripple Worth”, Gemunu worked at Forbes & Walker till retirement. A staunch Freemason, he was the president of the youth movement and the student movement. He studied accountancy and was among the first set of graduates from Ceylon to study in the Queen’s country, where he met his wife.
His grandfather was the famous Sir James Pieris who worked zealously for the motherland. Gemunu can boast that his grandfather was the first Vice President of the Legislative Council of Ceylon. He was a giant among his peers.
Like grandfather, like grandson, Gemunu’s name is synonymous with honesty and integrity.
Though Gemunu did not have the opportunity like his grandfather to lead his men like Moses did to the Promised Land, - as Sir James’s colleagues referred to him, - he too has done much in the cause of his countrymen.
Gemunu is a life member of the Automobile Association and a staunch member of the Animal Welfare Society and of the Colombo Toastmasters.
His Morris 1000 was his first love and a man for speed he never allowed anyone to overtake him on the roads.
Gemunu belongs to that illustrious family tree of Laxapathiya Mahavidanalalge de Mels. Sir Henry de Mel, the Most Rev. Lakdasa de Mel, Metropolitan Emeritus ( eldest grandson ) Surya Sena, Richard Pieris (entrepreneur) H.N.G. Fernando (CJ 1966-73) & J.L.M. Fernando are a few major branches of that tree worthy of mention.
May the sun continue to shine on this illustrious nonagenarian.