Education fund to be set up to honour founding president of dyslexia association

A memorial service for Dr Jimmy Daruwalla, founding president of Dyslexia Association of Singapore, who died on July 6, 2016.
A memorial service for Dr Jimmy Daruwalla, founding president of Dyslexia Association of Singapore, who died on July 6, 2016. PHOTO: MATTHIAS HO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
A memorial service for Dr Jimmy Daruwalla, founding president of Dyslexia Association of Singapore, who died on July 6, 2016.
A memorial service for Dr Jimmy Daruwalla, founding president of Dyslexia Association of Singapore, who died on July 6, 2016. PHOTO: MATTHIAS HO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - The founding president of the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) died last Wednesday (July 6) after suffering a heart-related complication following spinal surgery.

Dr Jimmy Shiavux Daruwalla was an orthopaedic surgeon and is credited with having started the DAS with a group of friends. The society was registered in 1991 and he had served as its president since.

He went for elective spinal surgery on June 24 at Mount Elizabeth Hospital to treat his back and leg pain, but later suffered cardiac complications.

His family members declined to disclose his age, saying that the man did not believe in counting years.

On Wednesday, about 250 friends, family and DAS staff attended a memorial service for him at Lifelong Learning Institute in Paya Lebar.

Seven close friends, colleagues and family members gave speeches recalling his commitment to the association.

DAS chief executive Lee Siang recounted how Dr Daruwalla showed up for a DAS conference last month to show his support despite not feeling well for a few months prior. "That is the kind of man he was - despite his obvious discomfort, he wanted to be there for us. He was a unifying man," he said.

Dr Daruwalla is survived by his second wife Jothy Jimmy Daruwalla, three sons, two stepdaugthers and six grandchildren.

His first wife, Roshen, died in 1999 at the age of 58 following complications from a coronary angiogram.

His youngest son Zubin Jimmy Daruwalla, 38, also an orthopaedic surgeon, said that his parents' relationship was "magical".

He said: "Mum loved dad more than anything. Dad often said that he wouldn't be able to do anything without mum by his side.

"Although initially devastated following mum's passing, years later dad was fortunate to find love again with my stepmother."

His father loved all three sons and two stepdaughters equally, he said.

His stepdaughter Jayashree Panicker, 28, an education therapist at DAS, said: "I love him deeply. I'm grateful for how he loved my mother."

Friends and family will start an education fund in his name for children with dyslexia. Details will be released at a later date but Dr Zubin Daruwalla said they aim to raise $500,000 as an initial sum.