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Old 24-01-15, 08:25 AM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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Default Orville Allanson Abeynaike who served S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia for 34 years

Friday, January 23, 2015 (All day)



Staunch and true Thomian

January 23, 2015 will be the 91st birth anniversary of Orville Allanson Abeynaike who served S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia for 34 years, and I would like to pen a few words in his memory to commemorate the occassion. Words cannot do justice to a man who passed through this world with such grace and finesse, in his kind, calm and quiet way. I am honoured to write my memories of him; memories that stem from genuine love and fondness.

As a teacher, he bore the responsibilities of six members of staff and did so uncomplainingly and with pride, despite being un-remunerated for most of it. As a husband and father, he was far ahead of his time. He showed that kindness and love were of paramount importance for the stability and unity of a happy family life. These fine qualities definitely made him a genuine person who, as he was sagacious, did not need to show that one needed to be sanctimonious in his beliefs, to be good.

The famous song - ‘To Sir with Love’, was written for teachers like Orville Abeynaike. No wonder that a man of such exemplary qualities and dedication in both the classroom and in the sports field, remains synonymous with our Alma Mater.

Orville Abeynaike was a father-figure to many and certainly to me.

He was uncommonly approachable, soft-spoken, kind and ever willing to listen to a student who needed his counsel. 'A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops': Henry Adams - The Education of Henry Adams. No words were truer where he was concerned as I am sure, many left S. Thomas’ with something valuable they learnt from this gentleman.

Teaching at College could not have been easy. It was apparent that some students, especially from affluent homes, were disinterested in their curriculum and their attendance in the classroom was more of a distraction and disturbance to other students but Abeynaike never considered his vocation to be a waste of time. He seemed to believe what Plato said: "Those having torches will pass them onto others", and persevered to inculcate the importance of a solid education as a pre-requisite to stardom, even though it probably fell on deaf ears. The nobleness that was intrinsic to teaching was definitely epitomized by him.

As husband to his wonderful wife Daphne, he belonged to the class of men a lady could dream of. They seemed to compliment each other so well. I remember her beaming smile and pleasant demeanor, well. In fact, it was a breath of fresh air to a boarder who missed his home. I was therefore delighted to hear from Orville Abeynaike that she enjoyed watching me bat.

Orville and Daphne Abeynaike produced equally good sons. The late Ranil Abeynaike needs no introduction, having done exceptionally well at cricket and hockey at College and later, for Sri Lanka. He was also a highly regarded international cricket commentator and curator. I remember attending the meeting at Warden David Ponniah's residence and being a part of the team that coaxed Ranil into taking on the mantel of first eleven cricket coach and Master-in-Charge. Despite his many commitments Ranil accepted the post and like his father, did a great job. Sadly, nature was unkind to him and we lost a good human being too early.

The eldest son Mohan and the two younger brothers Ajith and Amitha, are qualified accountants. Ajith and Amitha were equally good cricketers who had great potential and talent but sadly, Amitha was overlooked despite his achievements with the bat and ball. Unfortunately, this is a recurring set-back for many a good sportsman. The Abeynaike family's sport was hockey and the Royal-Thomian hockey match has been played in Orville Abeynaike’s memory since 2000. Although the children made the parents proud, Orville never made it a point to extol their virtues or boast about them.

This was a couple united from above
An example to all, no matter how
Truth and duty not forgot
Inordinate vanity, never their lot.
Continuously and steadfastly
They worked each day
To bring forth good children
And teach them the way
Spared the rod, yet how well he did,
Aversion to sin, and not how rich.

“I say men, what do you hope to do, now that the cricket season is over?” was a question that caught me unawares at the end of the year of my captaincy of First Eleven cricket. It came from none other than our beloved coach and Master-in-charge of cricket Orville Abeynaike. He spoke to me at length about my family, my ancestry and about the importance of following in the footsteps of my forefathers. He reminded me about their contribution to College and to the country. It was fatherly advice at best. He advised me sincerely and said that I should put my intellect to good use in an academic field as he thought I was capable of it. He spoke out of compassion and genuine kindness. He certainly need not have taken the time to advise me at all but his paternal instincts and heart of gold was the driving force.

Teacher, father, friend no few
Memories are fond we have of you;
Decades have lapsed since your last watch
Reminiscing with love all things you taught.
We did laugh and we did cry

For better days you have to try;
'I say men, you will miss the bus'
For not working hard as the rest of us.
An example to many, sans ego and pride.

Material aspirations certainly not your style.
Came the day, you were called up high
Gracefully you did walk the line
It's three decades and four since your egress

Through Heavenly gates you did ingress
This and more we wished for you
Good night, sweet prince - we do miss you.


Specialist/Consultant Obstetrician &
Cayman Islands
- See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=archives/....kgtHiThH.dpuf
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Old 24-01-15, 04:05 PM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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Default Orville Allanson Abeynaike who served S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia for 34 years

From: Dilsiri Dassanaike <dilsiri@msn.com>
Date: Sat, Jan 24, 2015 at 12:43 PM

What a wonderful and fitting appreciation of a superlative teacher, friend, administrator, father and husband. He and many like him, is the absolute reason and proof beyond any doubt that S.Thomas' College Mount Lavinia is indeed one of the greatest educational institutions on this planet. Year after year, for approximately 165 years, our beloved College and its time honored staff have indeed guided our beloved College. In the twilight of my life, as a proud fourth generation Thomian, I do not just wonder, but marvel how the likes of MR. Orville Abeynaike, in a far away country, could have nurtured, guided and administered, numerous students to grace the portals of Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and Yale. There is no doubt in my mind that, Mr. Orville Abeynaike was indeed a giant of his times. Mr. Orville Abeynaike, with his 34 years of unstinting sacrifice, made us Thomians utter with great pride that we are "Proud to be a Thomian." May the angels hover around you Sir, May our Lord even now, shower his choicest blessings upon your soul and may he protect your family always.
An Appreciation from Dilsiri Dassanaike. California, USA.

From: Rajiva Wijesinha <rajiva.wijesinha@googlemail.com>
Date: Sat, Jan 24, 2015 at 9:50 AM

Thanks, glad you passed this on. He was a lovely man, Rajiva

From: dk <dkweerasinghe@att.net>

Date: Mon, Jan 26, 2015 at 6:25 AM

In this photo Orville reminds me of Ranil a lot ( God rest both souls) . Well written appreciation, for my part I was molded at STC, character and all, and then learned some Chemistry later on. Apart from Orville, others like DSJ, LGB , Manda and many others that my Birth Certificate makes me wish to be young again for another go around…… But , Today it’s the character molding that really puts the Food on the Table. Thanks to all those who made it STC, good lord am I grateful. Esto Perpetua

From: Bandula Tennekoon <btennekoon@gmail.com>

Date: Mon, Jan 26, 2015 at 1:59 PM

I couldn't agree more with Dr Sarath's fine article about a beloved teacher at STC
Bandula Tennekoon

Orville Alanson Abeynaike, Sub-Warden of St Thomas' College, (1977–81) and Head Master
was a schoolteacher known as a cricket and hockey coach [1] Abeynaike was educated at S. Thomas’ College, played in the first XI team at Royal-Thomian cricket match as a left arm spinner with Vernon Prins, capturing 7 for 61 in 1941,[2][3][4][5] Abeynaike was also a hockey player winning his clours in both cricket and hockey., [6][7][8] In addition to coaching match winning teams he was on the selection committee of the schools cricket association.[9] The annual hockey encounter between Royal and S Thomas is played for the Orville Abeynaike trophy.[10] He was the father of Ranil Abeynaike [11]

1"Mr O.A.Abeynaike written by Ajit Jayasekara.". tyretracks.com. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
2"Mr O.A.Abeynaike written by Ajit Jayasekara.". tyretracks.com. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
3"For Ranil there was no life without cricket Premasara Epasinghe Daily News 17th February 2014". dailynews,lk. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
4"Cricketer, curator, coach and commentatorPremasara Epasinghe Daily News 28th March 2005". dailynews.lk. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
5"RANIL ABEYNAIKE – REQUIEM". island.lk. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
6"RANIL ABEYNAIKE A versatile Sportsman, cricket commentator and Curator:Premasara EPASINGHE". dailynews.lk. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
7"Sports is Abeynaike's family Trade by Rangi Akbar in Sunday Times 3rd February 2013". sundaytimes.lk. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
8"RANIL ABEYNAIKE A versatile Sportsman, cricket commentator and Curator:Premasara EPASINGHE". tyretracks.com. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
9"What ails schools cricket?". island.lk. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
10"Royal-S Thomas' clash for Orville Abeynaike Memorial Trophy". dailynews.lk. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
11"RANIL ABEYNAIKE A versatile Sportsman, cricket commentator and Curator:Premasara EPASINGHE". tyretracks.com. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
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Last edited by sriyanj; 29-10-16 at 11:15 PM.
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