A tribute to Dr. Joyce Gunawardene

27 November 2013 07:16 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Eight months have passed since the passing away of Dr. Joyce Gunawardene, former Consultant Microbiologist, National Institute of Health Sciences (NIHS). Kalutara . Her death occurred silently as the way she lived her life, bringing grief to all who knew her and to the countless people to whom she had given a helping hand. “Joyce” as she was affectionately known to her friends and colleagues, lived true to her name as she brought joy and comfort to all those who crossed her path .
Joyce Isabel Gunawardene (nee Gunaratne) was born in Kalutara. She received her early education at Sri Sumangala Girls’ School, Panadura and then at Methodist College, Colombo. She entered the Faculty of Medicine Colombo, and passed out as a doctor in 1961. She met her life partner Dr. B.D.P Gunawardene, better known as ‘Captain’ while working as a Medical Officer at the Base Hospital, Balapitiya.



" Joyce radiated boundless love and kindness to all those whose life she touched. An unkind word never crossed her lips and hostility was alien to her. Her most endearing qualities were her gentleness and compassion especially for the less fortunate. She was loved and respected by all. "



Joyce selected Bacteriology as a field for her post graduate studies. She was posted to the Institute of Hygiene, Kalutara, after a short stint at the Medical Research Institute. In 1972, Joyce went overseas to the University of Manchester, U.K for her post graduate training where she obtained her Diploma in Medical Microbiology. She was appointed as a Consultant Microbiologist to the Institute of Hygiene Kalutara, where she served till her retirement.




" Very few people know of her achievements as she never sought publicity. She worked efficiently behind the scenes and rendered an immense service to the country in the fields of Food Microbiology and Public Health. She was one of the pioneer Food Microbiologists in Sri Lanka and was responsible for the establishment of the national food laboratory at NIHS under the ongoing USAID /WHO project. "




Very few people know of her achievements as she never sought publicity. She worked efficiently behind the scenes and rendered an immense service to the country in the fields of Food Microbiology and Public Health. She was one of the pioneer Food Microbiologists in Sri Lanka and was responsible for the establishment of the national food laboratory at NIHS under the ongoing USAID /WHO project. She received training overseas, under this project and was in charge of this laboratory until her retirement. She played a major role as a trainer of public health personnel and also trained medical officers in the Diploma in Medical Microbiology. She was the author of several laboratory manuals which served as a guide to MLTTs and Food technologists and was also the President of the Sri Lanka College of Microbiologists.
Joyce had many talents. She was an excellent seamstress and an expert cook.

I first met Joyce when I joined NIHS as a young post-intern. Although she was more than 15 years older, she took me under her wing and this was the beginning of a wonderful friendship which lasted until her death.

Joyce radiated boundless love and kindness to all those whose life she touched. An unkind word never crossed her lips and hostility was alien to her. Her most endearing qualities were her gentleness and compassion especially for the less fortunate. She was loved and respected by all.

Although Joyce is no longer with us, her loving spirit lingers on guiding and inspiring us. Farewell gentle friend!

May your journey through Sansara be short and peaceful and may you reach the Supreme bliss of Nibbana.

Rukmal

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