Merrill J. Fernando, the patriarch of Dilmah Ceylon Tea Company and Pure Ceylon Tea, has passed away in Colombo, Sri Lanka, at the age of 93.
Mr Fernando was a pioneering entrepreneur in the business of tea, devoting most of his life to spreading the message of Pure Ceylon Tea worldwide. From the age of 20 until the very end, he was dedicated to tea, but his legacy as a humanitarian will also leave a lasting impression.
Mr Fernando launched his Dilmah brand in Australia in 1985 and is now sold in almost 110 countries around the world.
Mr Fernando was a man with an all-consuming passion for Pure Ceylon Tea, which he marketed worldwide on its inherent qualities of purity, authenticity and singularity of origin. He was steadfast in his resolve to maintain the undiluted integrity of its features of goodness without financial compromise.
“Do Try It”, the slogan which spread Dilmah Tea worldwide, was delivered personally by Mr Fernando in his immediately recognisable rich tones, accompanied by a charming smile. His message will continue to be carried by his sons, Malik and Dilhan, and his grandchildren, who have all inherited Mr Fernando’s passion for Pure Ceylon Tea and his spirit of giving and caring, along with the responsibility of running the business as a matter of human service.
A man of deep faith, Mr Fernando was born in 1930 to a simple, village Christian family on the west coast of Sri Lanka with his entire life governed by the teachings and principles of his religion. Mr Fernando designated a proportion of all his earnings to the service of humanity through The Merrill J Fernando Charitable Foundation (MJFCF) which continues to deliver on his promise of “business as a matter of human service”.
Dilmah CEO Dilhan Fernando said his father’s legacy will be everlasting.
“Our hearts are heavy as we bid farewell to a visionary and a true tea pioneer, Merrill Fernando. His remarkable journey and unwavering passion have left an indelible mark on the world of tea.
“As we mourn the loss of a beloved father and founder, we are committed to upholding his legacy, continuing his mission to deliver the finest, ethically sourced tea to tea lovers worldwide.
“His spirit will forever inspire us to strive for excellence and make a positive impact on the lives of others. We extend our deepest gratitude to all who have shared their condolences and supported us during this difficult time.”
If you wish to send a message of condolence to the Fernando family, please do so at this link mjf.dilmahtea.com
In Memory of Merrill J. Fernando : A Life Devoted to Tea