Tribute to Felicia Goonetilleke – By Clifford and Delande Lazarus

Tribute to Felicia Goonetilleke – By Clifford and Delande Lazarus

Tribute to Felicia Goonetilleke – By Clifford and Delande Lazarus

Clifford LazarusA sense of gloom and doom pervaded the Auckland air on the night of July 3rd when news of the sudden passing away of Felicia was broken.  To acknowledge that such a vibrant, bubbly and selfless character should cease to exist in an instant was too much to bear!

 For all those who walked through the doors of the Goonetilleke household, the rest of the world just melted away and you were made special.  On numerous occasions newcomers to New Zealand left stranded found refuge in the Goonetilleke household and were cared for tenderly by Felicia and her husband, Sunitha.  Time and again when visiting the Goonetillekes,  we found the house full of neighbourhood people and new faces – and at the core of the group of course would be Felicia looking very happy and comfortable.

 Felicia was more than just a family friend, with children and adults she treated everyone like her own.  They acted as guardians to many children and cared for them as their own making all of them one big family! There was never a dull moment with Felicia.  She was so full of life! We all laughed together and shared our moments of happiness and sadness together.

We have never met anyone who had the knack for making friends as Sunitha and Felicia.  When observing all the faces at her funereal we realised the pain of loss on their faces that we too felt,  but this is what Felicia would probably have said: “isn’t this the best gathering of people”?

We were grateful to have been members of the group who joined to celebrate Felicia’s life – a life lived simply by making the people around her feel special – and by making friends wherever she went.

She may not have been as slick as a conductor in an orchestra, but her outreach always bought solace and comfort to the needy and she was respected by all who came to know her.  If she was erratic in her timekeeping or punctuality there was always a reason: she had diverted from her course to look up the sick, bathe the old and infirm, prepare a meal for the handicapped, helping a  parent to drop off or pick up a child from school: her selfless service  was well known.  She put the needs of her family and herself on the back burner, always reaching out to those in need.  She cultivated great values and inculcated these in her children – Nissanka and Shenali and her legacy lives on.  

God blessed her with a very peaceful death but the pain of her loss experienced by Sunitha, Nissanka, Shenali and her son-in-law,  Calum, would be too much to bear. Yet, let us all rejoice in the fact that we were able to share moments of joy and sorrow with her and ask the good Lord to bless her soul and grant her peace.

Clifford and Delande Lazarus

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