Dr. Rusie Rustomjee, a Sri Lankan who migrated to Australia many years ago, passed away peacefully on Thursday, October 6, 2011. He was 98 years old, and the oldest member of the Australian Zoroastrian Association of New South Wales.
He entered Medical College on a full scholarship and went on to become the first Asian FRCS of England in ear, nose and throat diseases. During World War II, he served with the British Armed Forces at the time of the Japanese invasion. He was President of the Ceylon College of Surgeons and held many other prestigious position.
In 1975, he migrated to Australia and worked as an ENT surgeon in the Blue Mountains until retirement at age 89. His career in the medical practice spanned an impressive 75 years. He was the doyen of Sri Lankan doctors in Australia. Besides medicine, he was also involved in various community projects. He was offered the post of 1st District Governor of Lions International in Sri Lanka, but declined because of commitments with his medical practice.
His greatness lay not in the honours and accolades he received but in his kind and gentle nature. Those whose lives he touched will vouch for his kind and selfless ways. He was a man who shunned publicity and respected people regardless of their position, wealth or standing in society. He never spoke unkindly of anyone and a harsh word rarely escaped his lips. What better words to describe this great man who helped thousands with his surgical skills and was the most humble and gentle person one could find.
He will be deeply missed by his family, the Zoroastrian and Sri Lankan communities, and his many friends. He leaves behind his devoted wife – a marriage of 65 glorious and happy years –three children, Zarine, Tehmi and Jameshed, four grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.
Men of Rusie Rustomjee’s calibre are a rare gift to our community. He was a giant. one who stood tall in our eyes and minds.
Rest in Peace, Doctor Rusie Rustomjee. You are gone but will never be forgotten.
Trinity teacher who won hearts
through his music and lovable ways
Ronnie Thangaia was a popular teacher at Trinity College, Kandy. He made optimum use of his knowledge and skills in music, not only to teach music to students but also win their hearts. His music knowledge and skills were appreciated by students and friends. Quite apart from his music contributions, he was a very kind gentleman with a great sense of humour.
My son introduced Ronnie to me one day at Hantana, Kandy, and we became friends. Whenever he visited us, he played the piano and sang and entertained us. He could sing Sinhala, Tamil and English songs extremely well. If I ever had a friend, it was Ronnie. He won my heart and my regard and our friendship grew every time I met him.
After coming to America, I kept in touch with him, using Skype, and it was great to meet him in Florida. We went to the Orlando Wonderland of Florida to meet Ronnie and Dayani. It was great to meet them after such a long time. In Orlando too he played the piano and sang.
When Ronnie and Dayani left America to return to Sri Lanka, I felt as if I lost a friend. At the time, I never thought it would be a permanent loss. When I saw an e-mail from Bhathiya telling me the sad news, I was in a state of shock. Ronnie, my good friend and neighbour, is no more. But our friendship and memories of our great times together will remain for ever.
Dr. Siri Abeyratne
Precious little baby, how we miss you
Baby Minindu Matheesha Hewage
Darling Chuti Puthu,
Your second birthday dawned on the 28th October, but without you. Cruel destiny snatched you away from us six months ago. Precious Little Baby, how we miss you. Your innocent smile, childish prattle, reverberate in our hearts every waking moment of our lives.
At the tender age of one-and-a-half years, you touched every heart you came across with your gentle loving ways. We are still trying to come to terms with your loss. Though we understand death and the impermanence of life, still we are lost in the saddest words ever – “It might have been. …”
Dearest Chuti Puthu, on your second birthday, instead of being happy, we remembered you with heavy hearts, hiding our tears from one another, a daily occurrence in our lives. Our thoughts have never left you, even for a moment, since the day you left us. The emptiness you left in our lives can never be filled again, Dearest Love.
On the 28th, your Amma and Thaaththa made the offerings to the Sacred Tooth Relic, your favourite place of worship during your short life. We, all your loved ones, fervently wish that the blessings we pass on to you every day, from the depth of our hearts, will help you never to meet an untimely death in your sojourn in Samsara. May you come back to us and be our darling Chuti Puthu once again.
Your ever-sorrowing Grandma,
sisters who brightened up the world with
their many talents
Therese Wanigaratne and Marie Adihetty
The gaping hole left in our immediate families, when both Therese and Marie, my two elder sisters, died within three months of each other, cannot be expressed in mere words. That they had lived beyond the norm of three score and ten years made the fact that they are no longer alive all the more poignant for us, who knew and loved them. They seemed always there, steadfast for everyone in the wide, extended circle of family, relatives, friends and dependants, till illness and death removed them from our midst.
In their heyday, the sisters were hailed for their wide and varied talents. Therese’s dressmaking skills were legendary, and this was at a time when there were no ready-made, off-the-peg clothes to buy. Her unsurpassed culinary skills were the envy of her friends and relatives, who used her expertise to measure their own skills. Above all, there was her sense of caring, which knew no bounds.
Even at the expense of the needs of her own family, she would cheerfully give of her precious time to help others.
Marie excelled as a teacher of piano to the family as well as generations of aspiring musicians. Many of them, now living in foreign climes, acknowledge the debt they owed her, as they make a living from the musical skills she taught them. She too was an expert cake maker. Her Christmas and love cake were legendary, as were her meringues!
Their immediate families have lost their beloved mothers and grandmothers, and I have lost two sisters within too short a space of time.
May they both Rest in Peace.