VJH (Harry) Gunasekara

Born 2.6.1921 — Died 22.01.1993
Its been 10 years since my father died and the song "My heart belongs to daddy" and, "Oh my Papa," still brings tears to my eyes for I loved my daddy, and my heart did belong to him. When I was a child he taught me how to swim, to drive, to appreciate cricket, to climb mountains and to love and worship the God Almighty only.

He held three important Jobs at the same time. He was Civil Servant and served as AGA in Galle, Hambantota & Kandy and was Assistant Secretary to the Ministry of Defence. He was one of the officials who initiated the Maldive Islands Independence. He went overseas to New Delhi and met with Prime Minister Nerhu. Then to Geneva for international conferences. I remember he had to sign a lot of citizenship papers. One or two Irish nuns had their papers signed too.

He was GA, Kegalle and his last job was Controller of Imports Exports. He was also the Secretary to the Board of Control for Cricket in Ceylon for 5 consecutive years. Robert Senanayake was the President of the Board at that time. We did not have test status, but we had lots of cricket matches being played. All the International teams going to and from Australia made it a point to land here and play cricket.

I remember as children, going for most of these matches, and watching the West Indies Team of Rohan Kanhai, and Collin Cowdrey’s England team and even a woman’s cricket team. I must say there were no disagreements and squabbles on our Cricket Board then.

He was also a volunteer officer in the Army and held the position of Major in the Ceylon Artillery Regiment. At that time the Army was 1/10th the size it is today or even smaller. But I remember my Dad at the parades at Galle Face Green. He was tall and outstanding. I remember when they were mobilized and called to control the racial riots in 1958. They were sent to Jaffna too.

It was after the Military Coup of 62, that the light in the candle he had lit at both ends began to dim. But soon after he took on the best job of his life that of being a grandpa. He had 8 grandsons and 2 grand daughters all of whom loved him so much, and many a leisure time he spent with them at his home. The sport, he spent his time on in his retirement, was archery.

He built his own house in Bambalapitiya and lived quietly surrounded by his wife and family until he had a stroke in late life and that broke his heart because he could not have fun any more.

So, the memories of you my father are all happy ones and I will not forget to keep the one request you made of me, and that was to look after my Mum after you are gone. This I have done and will continue to do, all my life.

I know you are safe in the arms of Jesus as I saw you in one of my dreams surrounded by God’s Angels in heaven.