People

And of all the different people, peopling this earth, each and everyone, has his or her own unique worth.'

Kelly Curiel


A kaleidoscope of people called ‘de Fonseka’, their often colliding characters, the ones who made it, the ones who did not, their successes, their failures, their triumphs and their agonies…..these are their stories, collated and written down before their disappear from the world forever.

This page contains stories of interest, personal communications, family lore, anecdotes and memories of people and events, stories  that has come down over the generations or has lain buried in memories or publications. Some stories have been gathered from personal interviews. While most of the stories are verified with supporting documentation, some are based purely on personal communications.

In this page we also remember and pay tribute to people who have bought glory and honor to the family name. They have excelled in their chosen fields and have contributed immensely to the society which they lived in. Some of the appreciations and tributes of family members that have appeared in newspapers and journals have been reproduced.

J.P. De Fonseka – The Literary Giant

Top amongst our list is the illustrious Joseph Peter De Fonseka (1897 – 1948), eminent author, lay OMI and a Papal Chamberlain. J P was a literary giant and a legend among the writers of his day counting amongst his close associates legends such as G. K. Chesterton, E.V. Lucas, Hilaire Belloc, and Robert Lynd. His work

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J. P de Fonseka and G. K. Chesterton

J. P. De Fonseka was one of the greatest English writers Ceylon ever produced. He has been compared  with the the best of English essayists like Charles Lamb, E. V. Lucas, G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc and was a friend and great admirer of Gilbrt Keith Chesterton. In fact he was natured in the

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A Question of Substance. (1658).

Michael de Fonseka, the earliest recorded ‘de Fonseka’ raised the most acute question ever asked by anyone from the Dutch Priest by the name of Baldaeus, who accompanied the Dutch expedition to Jaffna in 1658. The answer to this is as perplexing as the question itself.  Michael de Fonseka, the earliest known ‘de Fonseka’ led part of

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Arise, Sir Susantha

Kalutaravedage Deepal Susantha de Fonseka was born at the turn of the century (1900) in Panadura. He was a grandson of the legendary Sri Chandrasekera of Panadura. His father Dr C. P. De Fonseka married Muthutantrige Leonora Fernando Sri Chandrasekara a daughter of Muthuthanthrige Simon Fernando Sri Chandrasekera, one of the largest purchasers of crown

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Our man in Cochin

Don Louys D’andrado was part of the Dutch expedition which lay siege to Cochin in 1663. The city of Cochin today is a rapidly developing city in the southern Indian state of Kerala. A name unheard for many years is now becoming a popular tourist destination, together with the city of Goa. Cochin is also

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The Sunday Quiz

J. P De Fonseka and the authorship debate: A quiz published in the Dallas Morning News, Texas USA in recent times, highlights an amazing theory proposed by J.P. de Fonseka to the literary world in 1938. This contribution by J.P  to a world famous authorship debate, is one of the lesser known things about J.P.

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A Letter for you Sir!

A simplified addressing system invented by J. P. De Fonseka in the 1940’s may have been the precursor to the email addressing protocols used today. During my research into the work of J. P. De Fonseka, something that I kept on hearing often was about the literary giants he kept company with, and very particularly

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Lionel de Fonseka – Les Eaux de Lumiere

This magnificent and rare book, written entirely in French by Lionel de Fonseka in 1953, discusses the appearances of Virgin Mary in Fatima, Portugal and the Eastern and Western views on religious matters. LES EAUX de LUMIERE (‘ The Waters of Light’)  Lionel de Fonseka Varnasuriya – 1953 With a Dialogue on the Oriental and

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Lionel de Fonseka – De La Verite Dans L’art

DE LA VERITE DANS L’ART Lionel de Fonseka Varnasuriya – Copyrights by Editions CHITRA, Paris, 1930 DIALOGUE ENTRE UN ORIENTAL ET UN OCCIDENTAL This book, again written entirely in French by Lionel was translated and published as ‘The Truth of Decorative Art’ and discusses the western influence on the arts and people of Ceylon DE

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Devar Surya Sena

In his autobiography ,”Of Sri Lanka I Sing”, Devar Surya Sena recalls his connections to the De Fonseka families of Kalutara.    Devar Surya Sena was born Herbert Charles Jacob Pieris, the son of Sir James Pieris, member of the then Legislative Assembly. His mother was one of the12 children from the family of Jacob

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The curse of the D’ Andrados and D’Andrado slaves

When Manuel D’Andrado accompanied the Dutch to capture Jaffna from the Portuguese, he got involved with the wife of a Tamil Mudaliyar, with disastrous consequences for both. When Manuel D’Andrado went with the Dutch to capture Jaffna from the Portuguese, there was an attempted coup, where several people were hung, drawn, quartered and their bodies

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The Ladies’ Lady

Ladies College honours Bertha de Fonseka at its centennial celebration. (includes some interesting insights in to the racing career of Edmund Clarence de Fonseka.) “My explanation, which was accepted, was that Shali was a mare and, like most females, unpredictable.”                                                                                                                                                                             Edmond Clarence de Fonseka One of the glittering moments in Bertha de Fonseka’s colourful

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The story of Pat Gooneratna

“Salgado Bakery had a running account for him where the bills were paid initially through furniture and fittings and eventually the proprietor of the bakery took possession of the house. “ Patrick Gooneratna was born the only child into the wealthy family of Peter Gooneratna and Beatrice de Fonseka (Panwila Aunty) and owned many properties

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The Babylon Stakes

In his book ‘Running in the Family’, Booker Prize winning author Michael Ondaatje writes about the evergreen E. C. de Fonseka Jnr. ‘I think all of our lives have been terribly shaped by what went on before us.’ Running in the Family, Michael Ondaatje 1983. In his book ‘Running in the Family’, Sri Lankan born

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Menaka de Fonseka Sahabandu

Menaka de Fonseka Sahabandu – Personality of the Week; by Ilika Karunaratne. From the Daily News of 15th March 2003 Our personality this week is one of Sri Lanka’s nightingales. Her voice has a rich timbre and has been her path to fame. She was recently awarded the award for excellence in vocal western music

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Professor Earle de Fonseka ( T. E. G de Fonseka)

Professor Earle de Fonseka was a case of exemplary talent in two fields – Music and Medicine. He qualified his M.B.B.S in 1948 and was appointed professor in 1968. He was also the Dean of the Medical Faculty from 1968 to 1988. In the field of western music, he was widely recognised, and received the

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Dr. Patrick John de Fonseka

Dr. Patrick John de Fonseka contributed immensely to the treatment and containment of Leprosy in the 60’s, when Leprosy sufferers were ostracised by society. He worked hard to remove the stigma attached to the disease. Dr Patrick died on 20th June 1999  It was sad to learn that Dr. P. J. de Fonseka (Patrick) was

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Captain Janaka Francis Sean De Fonseka RSP

Over 300 years after Don Michael De Fonseka took part in the siege and capture of the Portuguese occupied Jaffna Fort, another family member saw active duty in the present war in the north, this time with the elite commando regiment of the Sri Lanka Army. At Welioya (1990) Receiving “The Best Commando” award from General

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Dr. C. P. de Fonseka.

It is with sincere regret that we record the lamented death of Dr. Clarence Pedro Fonseka on the 20th September, at his residence, ” Palm Grove,” in Panadura. With unremitting and constant toil, for 23 years, he joyfully tended to the ailments that beset humanity. It was not only as a Medical Practitioner that he

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K. S. C. de Fonseka

The 12th death anniversary of Kalutaravedage Sarath Chandra de Fonseka fell on November 25, 2008. He was the former Port Commissioner and with the formation of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority in 1979, he was appointed as its managing director. Born in Moratuwa to middle class parents, he received his primary education at St. Sebastian’s

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Douglas de Fonseka (1929-2010)

A  planter, stock car racing driver, Gentleman Rider, Boxer, Risk-taker, Billiard player, chorister, Rifle shooter, active Lion , Rotarian, Dog lover and True friend. He was a Sri Lankan and Thomian coloursman in Boxing & Rifle Shooting.   Most people are not even able to achieve half of this list in a single lifetime. It

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Selestina Dandrado (nee De Silva).

Death Notice including the chief mourners and the attendees from the ‘Ceylon Independent’ newspaper of Thursday, 17th of May, 1917. Mrs. S, DE ANDRADO The death occurred at Mount Pleasant on Sunday night of Selestina, relict of the late Sebastian de Andrado, at the age of 69. She was hale and hearty on Saturday morning

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J.P. de Fonseka – A Teacher of Yesteryear

By Dr Srilal Fernando Joseph Peter (J.P.) de Fonseka was a man of many parts. He was in his day known as an essayist, a teacher in English at St. Joseph’s College in Colombo, who would not only teach but inspire his students, and a great contributor to Catholic belief and social values. He was

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Sketches for an Autobiography

by Izeth Hussain  (as Published in the Island newspapers of 29th April and 20th May, 2017) I am on the verge of becoming a nonagenarian, and although my body increasingly refuses to obey my orders my mind is intact and my memory is on the whole reliable. So I can write my autobiography with a fair

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Appreciation – Jith De Fonseka

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”                                                                        – Kahlil Gibran  I wish to thank the Almighty God for His grace that is upon me to pen these thoughts about my late husband, Jith de Fonseka.

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