M. Nazeer Rasheed – 9th June 1946 – 17th January 2023
I was very saddened by the news that my dear friend Nazeer had passed away. Nazeer was a very close friend of mine, my parents & siblings for about 65 years. He was living at Hudson road, Colombo 03 with his family and first attended Marshall Preparatory school in Kollupitiya. Thereafter went to STC Prep. and progressed to STC Mt. Lavinia and there began our long-lasting friendship. He was in and out of our house playing football, cricket and other games that we played in 1960’s and 70’s.
Nazeer started his working career at John Keells Tea Department and switched to rubber brokering at C.W. Mackie & Co. under Karu Jayasuriya – Managing Director and Terrence de Soysa – Chairman with whom Nazeer had a wonderful rapport. In fact he hero worshipped uncle Terrence who taught him all the ropes about rubber brokering, and got on extremely well in this field which held him in good stead during his future in rubber. He switched careers and worked at Saudi Scales & Equipment Company Ltd. Alcoba, Jeddah, to which firm he was recruited by Tom Thenuwara.
He met his lifelong partner Pauline Ratnayake in London where they married. Thereafter Nazeer & Pauline moved to New York and he continued in rubber brokering at Philip Billhardt Inc. 40 West 69th Street, New York. Mr. Billhardt retired and handed the business over to Nazeer who carried on for many years very successfully. He was a member of the Rubber Traders Association of North America 1988-2022, USA-Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce 2009 -2020, Sri Lanka Association of New York since 1985, served a term as President and a member till his demise.
Nazeer and Pauline owned a beautiful apartment in the heart of Manhattan on West 58 Street, close to Columbus Circus, Central Park and Lincoln Center which was a home to Melba and me and many other close friends during visits to New York where we were treated to their lavish hospitality. I have a lump in my throat when I recall the good times spent with “Thambi” Nazeer who enjoyed life to the fullest with his daily drink of JW Black Label or the choicest of Single Malt whiskey and he would recount our youth. He never failed to mention particularly the relationship he had with my father who would pick him up and take him to the cinema in Pamankade to watch Western serials and how daddy introduced him to smoking cigarettes at the cinema.
Thambi Nazeer was a staunch Thomian, he played second fifteen rugby and was a founder committee member of the Royal /Thomian Colts Tent.
May his soul rest in peace with Allah
Christopher Dias (Kitto)