The recent demise of late Mr. Antony Phillupupillai at the ripe age of 94 has deeply saddened the thousands of his former students across the globe.
Born in Ilavalai, Sri Lanka, he was a longtime teacher at St Anthony’s College, Kayts. He was also a freelance writer and was onetime an active member of Working Committee of the Federal Party. He is predeceased by his loving wife of 54 years, Teresa; brothers, Rev. J. A. Karunaharar and V.A. Swampillai; and brother-in-law, Rev. Xavier Thani Nayagam. He brought up his children Rajan, Manoharan, Jeyarany, Anton Karunakaran, Bernadette, Rubini and Vanathy with great care and discipline.
A devoted husband, a loving father and a dedicated teacher Phillupupillai was born in Ilavalai in North Sri Lanka on Feb.18, 1920. He taught English at Kayts St. Antony’s College for nearly three decades earning the respect of his students as well his colleagues. His dedication to the school where he taught with great devotion is reflected in the academic excellence of his students.
Only a few will know that it was purely by chance that he happened to join this college. Around 1952, one morning he had actually planned to face an interview in Point Pedro and just before he was due to leave Kayts he went to meet his brother Fr. Karunaharar who was the principal at that time. That day Fr. Karunaharar had asked his brother whether he will consider joining the teaching staff of the college. Mr. Phillupupillai agreed and the rest is history.
He served under a number of Rectors and they all had infinite respect for late Mr. Phillupupillai
In addition to the great responsibility of looking after his family, on many Saturdays he invited his students and gave them free tuition at his residence. During college sports meet he was extremely active making the announcements prior to each event.
Hundreds of students benefitted by the way he wrote their school leaving certificates .Since he knew the background of each student he took great care to uniquely craft each certificate in order to highlight their best talents.
He arrived in Canada in 1990 and resided in Toronto leading a quiet life until his death.
Meanwhile, unfortunately his beloved wife passed away a few years ago after a brief period of illness. It was a heavy blow to him but yet he was determined to face any obstacles and live to the fullest.
He spent many hours honing his writing skills and soon started writing articles on a variety of subjects. He probably enhanced his ability to write profusely from his association with his illustrious brother in law late Rev.Fr. Thaninayagam. It is a little known fact that Mr. Phillupupillai was a correspondent for the “Times of Ceylon” when he was teaching at Kayts.
May His soul rest in peace.
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time
Let us then, be up and doing
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labour and to wait – (H. W. Longfellow-1809-1882)
A Tribute by: