TRIBUTE – MR. V.S. STEPHEN
Retired teacher – St. John’s College, Jaffna
I consider it a very high honor and privilege to write a few lines as a tribute to my beloved, late father in law, Mr. V.S. Stephen. To me he was a father and a friend. The outstanding quality of his life was that he was a caring example of a father. In this he represented God our Father and the result was that he brought up three secure happy children, Ranji, Jayanthi, and Vasanthan. He was also a very caring husband to his beloved wife Rasamalar Stephen (Periathamby )
He was a dedicated teacher systematic in all that he did. He taught at St. John’s College. As a teacher he was always punctual at school, important matters were written down on his diary and things were kept in the right place. His children remarked that there had to be pin drop silence at home when he was doing his school work at home. There was also a transparency about him and he was content with what he had and secure in who he was.
Mr. Stephen truly feared God. This fear of God resulted in a life of integrity. He was careful in all his dealings, always speaking the truth and refusing to compromise on issues of integrity. We are reminded of Nehemiah in the Bible who said, “So did not I , because I feared the Lord.” Mr. Stephen belonged to that clan of people who worked meticulously and faithfully. His attention to detail was an example to us. I have been touched to see the respect and love that many of his old students have for him.
Mr. Stephen lived a godly life and was always regular in going to church. In fact the Sunday service was the highlight of his week especially in his latter years. However in the last fifteen years or so of his life he tasted the reality of the grace of God in his life. This brought a new dimension to his faith and a passionate love for the word of God. He also prayed daily for his family and other issues. As a result of this new experience of grace, he even took the initiative to reconcile with just a few people whom he felt he had hurt. This deeply touched me.
So he lived a contented life, right to the end. He was very patient in the final days of his life when it was difficult for him even to attend to his daily personal necessities.
During the crisis time in Jaffna Mr. and Mrs. Stephen came to Colombo to be with their children. Their faith and trust in God carried them through this difficult time when they had to leave their house and belongings in the twilight of their lives. He was thankful to God for the joy of spending time with his children and grandchildren and even tasted precious moments carrying his great grand children in his arms.
Mr. Stephen did not leave the riches of this world as a legacy for his children. Rather he has a left a legacy and memory of a principled life undergirded by the reverential fear of God.
We are thankful to God for giving him as a blessing to us all.