Daily News, 11th February 2012
J.P. Perera: A fine Benedictine Commerce teacher
February 9, 2014 marked the first Death Anniversary of J.P. Perera, a revered teacher of St. Benedict’s College, Kotahena and the doyen of Old Benedictines. ‘JP’ as he was affectionately known, died at the age of 94 after a brief illness. J.P. Perera was acknowledged as one of the finest teachers in the Commerce stream in the country during my student days at College in the early 1950s. J.P. Perera and Bonny Fonseka teamed up remarkably well that many students opted to follow the Commerce classes imbued with the bright prospects of securing employment in the Banking and Mercantile sectors.x
In traversing down memory lane, I recall that several Benedictines entered these portals and distinguished themselves reaching the top-most rungs in their careers. In unison they would remember their mentor with gratitude for inculcating in them a sound knowledge of the subjects that comprised their Commerce curriculum. J.P. Perera served with distinction at the Ceylon Technical College and also tutored students at Holy Family Convent, Bambalapitiya, after his long tenure at St. Benedict’s.x
I was in Sri Lanka at the time of his demise and joined the vast gathering of the LaSallian Brothers and past students to pay our final respects to a very respected and much admired teacher. J.P. lived his life to the fullest as a follower of Christ, and a devoted son of our Blessed Mother Mary, having spent many years as a member of the Sodality and Legion of Mary. In reminiscing I still picture J.P. walking from his home in close proximity to attend Mass on a daily basis at St. Lucia’s Cathedral, Kotahena, the pivot around which our life at College revolved.
My close association with J.P. Perera commenced in the late 1960s when I joined the ranks of the Old Boys Union as a ‘fresher’. I was edified by his unswerving loyalty and commitment to the call of duty to the OBU, which he served with diligence for well over six decades. In this backdrop it is pertinent to mention that J.P. was an obvious choice for the special committees that were appointed during this time in view of his in-depth knowledge of men and matters. He rendered yeoman service at the College sports meets over the years as a respected official working in tandem with the late Bro. Conrad and Premnath Moraes.x
JP was a devoted father to his only daughter Blossom who together with her husband Newton Fernando and their siblings showered their unceasing affection on him and remained steadfastly close to Seeya until the final call from his Creator. J.P. Perera was a reputed Bridge player and his home was the venue for long drawn out sessions on Sundays. The finale to their year long programme was an excursion to cooler climes about which JP reminisced whenever I visited him.x
In recognition of his unparalleled services to the OBU since his enrollment in 1949. J.P. Perera was honoured as a Vice Patron – an accolade he richly deserved. I had the privilege of listening intently to his discourses on a range of subjects, which JP expounded with clarity despite his foray as a nonagenarian. J.P. Perera has gone to his eternal reward at the end of his long earthly sojourn having served God with fidelity and making an indelible contribution to the social milieu in which he earned the respect of his numerous pupils and friends who looked up to Sir as a beacon of light. May the turf lie lightly over him.x