VALENTINE "Valli" PONNAMPERUMA

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Service Information
DeVol Funeral Home
2222 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC
20007
(202)-333-6680
Calling hours
Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
DeVol Funeral Home
2222 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20007
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Mass of Christian Burial
Friday, Jan. 10, 2020
12:00 PM
St. Ann Catholic Church
4001 Yuma Street
N.W. Washington, DC
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Notice

PONNAMPERUMA VALENTINE C. PONNAMPERUMA "Valli" (Age 91) Of Washington, DC passed away suddenly on December 30, 2019, at home with her family. Predeceased by her beloved husband, the late Cyril A. Ponnamperuma, her late parents Dr. Ram Das Pal and Rosalind Abreo Pal, and her late sister Rosemarie (Rani) Pal. Survived by her brother, Ramsay Pal, and her daughter, Roshini Ponnamperuma. The arc of Valli's existence embraced nine decades on 3 continents. She personified "faith in action" expressing love of God through love of neighbor. Valli had a cheerful spirit, a refined mind, and a zest for life and total humility. Born in Burma, of Kashmiri Saraswat (Hindu), Goan Konkan (Catholic), and Burmese noble (Buddhist) descent, she was tolerant of others and always sought common ground. Valli had a "ringside seat" to history. Her first-hand experience of war and suffering gave her a clear-eyed yet ultimately optimistic attitude to life. Denied high school by WWII, Valli earned a B.A. (Honors) in History from Westfield College followed by a one-year post-graduate Certificate in Education, both at the University of London. Her 1950's teaching experience mirrored some aspects of "To Sir, With Love". While Valli was always educating others, her eventual career was administration, serving seven years at the British Council, Iraqi Embassy, Kensington Public Library, BX Plastics, and Indian Consulate (San Francisco). This allowed her to pull more than her weight, financially, while her husband worked and studied full time. Motherhood ended Valli's earning years and increased her workload. She gave her all to any who crossed her path. This included: caring for family; library volunteering; Girl Scout leading; ESL tutoring; Homeless causes; Church activities, helping neighbors; and assisting the needy in Sri Lanka. A true helpmeet to Cyril for 40 years, Valli was a part of all his endeavors: NASA's Apollo program (California), the Laboratory of Chemical Evolution's founding (UMCP), the (National) Institute of Fundamental Studies' growth (Sri Lanka), the Third World Foundation (UMCP), and the Cosmos Club's ambassadorial lectures (Washington DC). Valli worked with others at College Park to catalyze an International Student House at UMCP. She always remembered being "a stranger in a strange land" and always welcomed newcomers. She mentored many, behind the scenes. Valli's ministry was hospitality in its truest sense - care of the stranger, the vulnerable, the poor, the lonely. She entertained simply yet elegantly. Her canvas was both her beautiful home, and her heart, which was love itself. Friends may call at DeVol Funeral Home, 2222 Wisconsin Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20007 (Complimentary Valet Parking) on Thursday, January 9, 2020 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be offered on Friday, January 10, 2020 at 12 Noon at St. Ann Catholic Church, 4001 Yuma St. NW, Washington, DC 20016. Interment private. In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to UNICEF, Catholic Charities, Habitat, RIF, or a .In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to UNICEF, Catholic Charities, Habitat, RIF, or a .
Published in The Washington Post from Jan. 7 to Jan. 10, 2020
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