Santhan Samuel Lawrence, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Santhan Samuel “Sam” Lawrence was born on August 22, 1943 in Murunkan, Sri Lanka to his late parents, Lawrence Motham Santhan and Victoria Santhan. In the spirit of his parents, he cared deeply for his community and always stepped in to help those in need.
Sam completed his education in Sri Lanka at Jaffna Central College and Hartley College, Point Pedro. He began his career in Colombo with the Overseas Telecommunication Service, and subsequently worked in communications with the British Overseas Airways Corporation. He moved to London, England in 1974, where he worked in public healthcare. In 1977, he moved to Canada, where he lived and worked in Alberta and Ontario. Sam had a successful career in printing and publishing with the Alberta Report, the City of Edmonton, and private companies—including Xerox Corporation.
Sam was a lifelong supporter of human rights in Sri Lanka. He was devoted to the cause of political freedom for Tamils. He coordinated with Amnesty International and Canadian government officials on immigration and economic opportunities for Sri Lankans. In 2012, Sam received the Saba Ravishankar Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service from the National Capital Tamil Association. This award was for “his exceptional contributions to the local and broader Tamil community on humanitarian fronts over an extended period of time.”
Sam was passionate about development and advancement through education. With his extended family, he established the Good Samaritan Fund in the 1990s to support educational opportunities for young people in Murunkan. Over the past decade, he supported English education through the English Language Learning Center in his hometown. For many years, he taught English in Beijing and Shanghai, China. Sam also tutored elderly immigrants in conversational English in Ottawa and was a remote instructor of English to a teacher in rural Sri Lanka. Further, he studied Spanish in Panama and Costa Rica.
Sam had great appreciation for nature and the outdoors. For many years, his family lived on a beautiful acreage in Edmonton with livestock and an extensive garden. In Ottawa, they continued as avid organic gardeners and were featured in the Ottawa Citizen in 2009 in an article showcasing their verdant garden.
Sam was a dedicated sportsman and excelled in athletics throughout his life. He was the National Judo Champion of Sri Lanka in 1967. In August 2021, at age 78, he returned to his track and field events from his youth, winning first place in high jump and second place in javelin throw at the Ontario Masters Athletics competition.
Sam was the loving husband of Swarna Beatrice Lawrence; and devoted father of Christo Lawrence of Ottawa and Ruban Lawrence of Portland, Oregon, USA. He was the beloved brother of Navamany Joseph decd. (Dr. Saviri S. Joseph decd.), and Saroja Benjamin (Rev. Dr. Paul Benjamin) of Woodbridge, New Jersey, USA.
Sam was the caring uncle of Milroy “Roy” Joseph (Prema) of Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada; Prins Joseph decd. (Suthajini “Bobby”) of Murunkan; Esther “Thaya” Benjamin of New York, USA.; Manoramya “Ramya” Joseph (Parpon) of Whitehorse; Godwin “Joy” Joseph (Kelly) of Whitehorse; and Ruth “Thana” Benjamin of New York. He was the proud grand uncle of nine grandnieces and grandnephews in Sri Lanka, Canada, and the USA.
Sam was the son-in-law of S. Joseph decd. and Kamala Joseph decd. Through his marriage, Sam had seven sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law in Sri Lanka, Canada, Australia, and Switzerland, as well as 16 nieces and nephews.
Sam has a large extended family in Sri Lanka and friends around the world who adored and admired him. He loved, supported, and inspired them all throughout his life.
Sam will always be remembered as adventurous, good humored, affectionate, generous, determined, and fearless.
The family extends deep gratitude to Sam’s health care team members.
Kindly review the recent profile by the Ottawa Hospital Foundation that beautifully encapsulates Sam’s determination and positive outlook on life.
The Ottawa Hospital Foundation
A visitation will be held at the Capital Funeral Home and Cemetery, 3700 Prince of Wales Drive in Ottawa, on Tuesday, February 22 from 11:00 am – 12:45 pm. The service will follow in the Chapel at 1:00 pm, with a reception at 2:00 pm.
**Pursuant to COVID-19 guidelines and protocols, guests are reminded that face coverings are mandatory and to refrain from usual expressions of sympathy, such as shaking hands and hugging. Attendance is limited due to Social Distancing.
**Those attending the reception will be required to provide proof of full vaccination**
Sam was a supporter and advocate for human rights, education, child welfare, and cancer research. If you would like to make a charitable donation in memory of him to support these causes, here are organizations you can donate to:
Human Rights: Amnesty International , Children and Education: Global Fund for Children (USA), Humanitarian & Health: Red Cross Or to Cancer Research/Patient Support: Cancer Society