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Memorable Manitobans: Herbert Saratchandra “Herb” Embuldeniya (1931-2017)

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Herbert Saratchandra "Herb" Embuldeniya
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Educator, coach, sports official.

Born in Sri Lanka on 18 December 1931, he attended the University of Colombo and University of Peradeniya, earning a BA degree and a teaching certification. He taught at the Karachi International Grammar School in Pakistan become coming to Canada in 1968 to further his education at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. In 1969, he started work for the Department of Indian Affairs and became the first teacher in the Black River First Nation, later teaching at Bloodvein First Nation and serving as Principal at Fisher River Cree Nation. While working in Black River, he completed the requirements for a BEd degree at the University of Manitoba, enabling him to become Assistant Superintendent of Education before retirement in 1998.

After retirement, he returned to a passion from his youth, amateur boxing. He worked as a coach and official, starting as a referee and judge, juror and finally, a technical delegate at many international competitions including World Cups, World Championships, Pan Am Games, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games. He was Vice President of the Manitoba Amateur Boxing Association (1969), President of the Canadian Boxing Association (1986), and an Executive Committee Member of the International Boxing Association (1990-2002). He was Director of the Manitoba Sports Federation, a member of the 1999 Pan Am Games bid delegation that secured the Pan Am Games for Winnipeg, and Chair of the Manitoba Boxing Commission. He spent the winters in Sri Lanka where he sat on the executive board of the Boxing Association of Sri Lanka, helping to develop boxing officials in that country and was President of the Kandana / Ja-Ela (Sri Lanka) Lions Club. He was a founding member of the Sri Lankan Association of Manitoba and Chairperson of the Scholarship Committee of the University of Santo Thomas (Philippines) Alumni Association in Manitoba.

In recognition for his community service, he received the key to the city of Manila, Philippines (1990), was inducted into the Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame (1991), became an honourary life member of the Manitoba Sports Federation (1996), was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame (1999), and was awarded the Order of Merit by the International Boxing Association (2011).

He died at Makati City, Philippines on 6 April 2017 and was interred in the Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens.


Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 19 April 2017.

This page was prepared by Melanie Geraghty.

Page revised: 9 December 2020

Memorable Manitobans

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