Author Topic: Deeptha Leelaratne's funeral on Saturday  (Read 1209 times)

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Deeptha Leelaratne's funeral on Saturday
« on: February 28, 2006, 07:36:01 AM »
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The funeral ceremony of the founder editor of Sri Lanka Express and veteran journalist of the former Lankadeepa in Colombo Deeptha Leelaratne will be held at North Hollywood's Wat Thai Temple Hall on March 4 at 5.30 p.m.

Simultaneously, a Sri Lankan memorial service for the journalist, who died of a massive heart attack at his Tarzana Home near Los Angeles will also be held by all his former colleagues in the Lankadeepa and friends and family at the Bellanwila Raja Maha Viharaya, the organiser of the event and former journalist and Sri Lanka's former Civil Aviations Director, Lal Liyanarachchi said.

Leelaratne, who received his education at the Dehiwala Central College, after a short stint at Paranthan Chemical Corporation joined the Lankadeepa editorial staff as reporter and later came to the United States after the Stanford University offered him a Fellowship to study journalism further.

Married to the then Times of Ceylon staffer Hassina Sourjah, both of them migrated to Southern California where they started the first Sri Lankan newspaper, the Sri Lanka Express, that is still being published and circulated in the USA and Canada.

Hassina Leelaratne co-editor of the newspaper said the bi-weekly would be continued despite the founder editor's death.

Leelaratne, whose favourite was writing science based news introduced to the Sinhala readers by the late Dr. Cyril Ponnamperuma of NASA and his theories on origin of life in a primordial soup on earth spontaneously with the help of lightning and radiation.

He also started the first Sinhala radio program in the USA, which broadcast news and Sinhala music called Tharanga , through a public radio channel, KPFA in Los Angeles. Former journalist colleagues Philip Fernando of the Sunday Observer, Chandra Ranasinghe of the Vanitha Vitti and this writer who served with him in the Lankadeepa will eulogize Leelaratne at the funeral ceremony. Venerable Pandith Ambalantota Kolitha will preside.