A tribute to a friend

For four years, I had the pleasure and honour of knowing Bill, as the CEO of CTMH and as my friend.

“His life was gentle,

And the elements

So mixed in him that nature

Might stand up and say to the world,”

“This was a man!”

Bill had an air about him that exuded a calmness that was so welcome and refreshing amidst the chaos at work. He never failed to pop in and ask how things were and left with that bright smile and characteristic salutation we fondly called the Queen Mother’s wave.

Bill’s unassuming nature hid a wealth of fine qualities: The equanimity with which he treated all, irrespective of station, colour and class; his approachability; his sincerity; his ability to listen and remain phlegmatic under stress, were indeed admirable.

He was dedicated to duty and order and accomplished it with minimal fuss, going about his work quietly and surely, achieving the objectives of his position. They included the opening of both operating rooms, creating a room for the oncologist, organising the cardiology and neuro-surgical clinics, commencing a sleep centre, etc. He earnestly cared about the quality of care patients should receive and devoted his time trying to make a difference. Having an O negative blood type, he was happy to donate blood whenever it was needed!

Bill knew that life is too short to hold grudges and register wrongs and did not suffer from illusions of grandeur. I have not heard a single word of jealousy, malice, ill will or anger from him, about any one. These qualities have made an indelible impression on and endeared him to many, who, even now, have not stopped praying for him.

I will miss his friendship – the humorous banter, the karaoke evenings, the willing ear, his simplicity. “Only small people think themselves great, great men have no time for such small thoughts”.

“Good night, Sweet Prince!” I salute your life. You were a breath of fresh air.

Dr. Sarath de Alwis

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