Living after leaving

Living after leaving

John A Peris and Tilly Peris nee Lobo sharing a happy moment at their residence, just a few months ago.One fine day when septuagenarian Tilliola Peris nee Lobo told her octogenarian husband John Ausebius Peris that she has made up her mind to donate her body, John would have been perhaps taken aback. However, within a few days, John told his better half that he too would love to join hands with his wife’s decision. In the next few days, the couple together filled their forms and other formalities. Less than six months after they filled the forms, Johh passed away.

When 87-year-old John passed away on July 23, 2011, a large number of people and his well wishers gathered at their residence ‘Jothi’

(acronym combining John and Tilliola names), a typical Mangalorean large tiled roof house in Karangalpady, to pay their last respects to the departed soul.

Dressed in kurtha-pyjama (as per his wish, instead of usual suit), when his body was taken to Fr Muller Hospital after performing the last rites at St Francis Xavier Church in Bejai, he became a role model in society where people think twice or for that matter, even don’t want to think about it.

On the other hand, John’s wife, 73-year-old Tilliola, too graciously bid adieu to her life-partner, who were married for 53 years. The couple’s golden jubilee of marriage anniversary was celebrated on February 12, 2008, amidst a large gathering who had come all the way from the US, Australia, Sikkim, Goa, Mumbai and Bangalore among other places.

Speaking to City Herald, Tilliola said the idea of donating her body came to her mind more than 10 years ago as she puts it: Life is to live well, love others and do good works so that others - rich or poor - benefit. And other things do not matter. You live your life only once and live it to the fullest.”

Stating that she used to always cry as she did not have any issue, she said that one day God told her that the whole world was hers and since then, she was never bothered about not having a child.

Illustrious families

Hailing from illustrious families, both John and Tilliola, are wellknown among Catholic community. John, a coffee planter and a cousin of former Bishop Basil Peris, handed over his estate (Avanthi, later renamed Prashanthi) at Magundi in Chikmagalur, about 20 years ago after running it for 34 years. Later, he continued philanthropic works in Mangalore.

On the other hand, Tilliola’s grandfather George Peter Lobo (1861-1948) retired as a jailor of Mangalore prison. It is said that he refused to accept promotion and transfer and put in his entire service in Mangalore jail itself and the inmates had a great respect for him. The great man not only donated his land to St Anne’s Friary in Bejai (his wife’s name too was Ann), but also spent the last six years of his life in the Friary like a Franciscan monk.

His son and Tilliola’s father Frank Lobo (1902-1982), a big landlord, too was a wellknown personality in Bejai and had more than a dozen children out of two marriages.

Besides, Tilliola is also a cousin of J M Lobo Prabhu, the outstanding ICS officer and a politician, whose ancestor Joseph (1835-1921), a revenue official, donated land for St Aloysius College.

Going down the memory lane, Tilliola said they (the couple) always went out, be it tour or visit, together and if she was not around for some time, he (John) used to call her to ensure that she was somewhere around.

Sense of relief

I J S Shet, a concerned citizen and a former employee of Ministry of Shipping and Transport, who helped the couple in finalising the formalities of donating bodies, and also a witness (mandatory) to the formalities, said that there is a need for lot of awareness when it comes to donating bodies, especially as it is still considered a taboo. 

Recalling the day when the John-Tilly couple filled the forms, Shet said they were extremely eager to fill the forms as they thought they would be of some help even after their death. “The day the couple received the consent from Fr Muller’s hospital, they had a sense of relief and it was visible,” he recalled. In fact, John had even kept his dress (to be worn at his funeral) ready. No doubt, the couple, not only lived a life exemplifying the Christian love, of god and neighbour, but would continue to live after they leave for heavenly abode.

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