Plus - Appreciation

A friend, father figure, adviser and confidant

Don Gunapala Senadhipathy

It is a year since Uncle Sena passed away on July 31, 2009. He was an outstanding student. He began his education at St. Anthony’s College, Kandy, De Mazenod College, Kandana, and completed his school career at St. Benedict’s College, Kotahena. In 1951, he entered the University of Ceylon on a scholarship and studied engineering. He passed the Institute of Electrical Engineering (IEE-Part III) Examination in 1956.

He was elected as a member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers, London in 1964. He was a member of the Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka – 1971 and became a Fellow of the Institute of Engineers of Sri Lanka in 1977. He served as a council member of the Institute of Engineers, Sri Lanka from 1977 to ’79.

Uncle Sena was a friend, father figure, adviser and confidant. In times of trouble, he was at our doorstep with help. Uncle Sena was at one stage Chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board. His humility and unassuming ways were appreciated by all. Even at the height of his career, I remember him as the same simple, down to earth man from Dagonna that he always was.
After his retirement, he was appointed Senior Project Officer in the Ministry of Science and Technology, where he handled Human Resources Development of the Scientific and Technical Personnel Project funded by the Asian Development Bank. He later served as Director of the ministry’s Alternate Energy Division.

He was consultant to many boards and authorities. His knowledge, experience and expertise in electrical engineering benefited the country. He was internationally recognised and invited to address international seminars and conferences. He was President of the Institute of Engineers Sri Lanka and also Energy Managers Sri Lanka.

Uncle Sena and his beloved wife Aunty Lalitha were a loving couple. Aunty Lalitha was a fantastic host and spoilt us with her excellent food. I must emphasize that they were always willing to help and one could rely on their assistance at all times. They would grace any occasion they were called upon to.

Uncle Sena was my father’s best friend. After my father’s death, we became close friends. He sought my advice on legal matters. My family enjoyed visiting this adorable couple. Every visit was full of fun and laughter.

He was young at heart and quite at home in young company. I enjoyed his company and never felt I was keeping company with an older man.

I have the greatest respect for Uncle Sena as a man of knowledge, dignity and simplicity. I will miss him as a close friend, confidant and adviser. I treasure his words of wisdom. His memory will always be with us. May he attain Nirvana.

Suresh Phillips

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