Anthony ThambinayagamFebruary 5, 1940 ~ April 13, 2017 (age 77)
A Life Well-Lived
Anthony Regno Milroy Thambinayagam lived a beautiful, adventurous and meaningful life. On April 13, 2017 at 11:27 pm he left this world to go on to the next after spending the day surrounded by his grandchildren, children, son-in-law, god-daughter and devoted wife, who all cherished him deeply. He was 77 years young.
Anthony was born on the beautiful island of Kayts off the island of Sri Lanka to Rosemary Elgin Thambinayagam and Anthonyswamy Joseph Thambinayagam on February 5, 1940. He went to school at St. Anthony’s College in Kayts and St. Benedict’s College in Kotehena, Colombo in Sri Lanka. During his time at St. Benedict’s Anthony he was a champion high school track and field sprinter and long jumper, coached by an U.S. Olympian. He was also an active member of the St. Benedict’s Tamil Sangam, at one point serving as its president. In 1962 he graduated from St. Joseph’s College in Tiruchirappalli an affiliate of the University of Madras with a bachelors in science, majoring in botany and minoring in zoology.
In 1963 Anthony sailed on the Queen Elizabeth to the United States of America, where became a naturalized citizen in 1978. On September 18, 1974 he married Noeline Vinci Rasiah in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He worked as an accountant, later advancing to comptroller, for the Hilton and Sheraton corporations for over 30 years. He was an active member of the Washington D.C. Tamil Sangam, at one time serving as the president. Driven by his devotion to his faith and creating a community of South Asian Catholics in the metropolitan area, he was a founding member and one-time president of the Indian American Catholic Association. During his involvement he was instrumental in the construction of the Chapel of Our Lady of Vailankanni at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. To him, the National Shrine represented the great diversity of the country united by faith and he was proud that his community could be represented there.
In his younger days Anthony was an avid tennis player and often participated in community theater performances. Anthony enjoyed playing chess, listening to the BBC, Shakespeare, watching basketball, football, soccer and cricket, a nice cup of Ceylonese tea and would never turn down a good meal. He had a deep love for the Tamil language, its music and films, and above all, the people. But he had particular pride in America and being a citizen of this country, which truly became a home that gave him opportunities that would have never been afforded elsewhere. He lived through the civil rights movement, saw great leaders like Martin Luther King speak in a small church parking lot and voted in every election. He was passionate about world culture, food, religion and politics and felt strongly about the importance of equity and justice for all and believed that we ultimately have more in common than we have differences. This fed his love to travel, which he passed on to his children. During his life he spent time in Sri Lanka, South Africa, India, Nepal, Singapore, Thailand, Canada, England, Italy, France, Egypt and throughout the US.
To many he was known as Tony or Milroy. To his children, he was Appa and to his grandchildren he was their beloved Grandpa. Anthony had a quiet yet fun-loving demeanor. He enjoyed a good joke and any excuse to celebrate life and bring his loved ones together. He was a man of great integrity and compassion and had an amazing ability to listen and understand those who confided in him. Anthony touched the hearts of everyone that met him. And he was deeply committed to all of his family and friends – especially his children for whom he made many personal sacrifices throughout his life so that they had the greatest opportunity to explore their passions and achieve their dreams. He was present for every important school event, track meet or life milestone. He is preceded in death by his father Anthonyswamy Joseph Thambinayagam and mother Rosemary Elgin Thambinayagam.
Anthony is survived by his wife Noeline; children Ananthy and Ahilan; son-in-law Dharma; brothers and sisters Queenie, Sarah, Annette, Dudley, Peter and Ravi; and grandchildren Ayaan, Saira and Aryana.
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