It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our dear friend and colleague, Nimalka (Nimi) Wijesooriya, a retired Senior Foreign Service Officer, on May 18, 2022, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Nimi was 71.
Nimi worked for USAID for 20 years as a Foreign Service and Senior Foreign Service Officer and was renowned for his dedication to and empathy for USAID colleagues and host country counterparts wherever he was assigned. Born and raised in Sri Lanka, Nimi emigrated to the United States in 1969.
His overseas assignments included the Philippines, Jordan, Egypt, West Bank and Gaza, and Kenya. Nimi worked diligently throughout his career to support transformational change within USAID as a leader on information technology and financial reporting and accounting reforms within the Controller backstop. Nimi was a beloved mentor and colleague who went way beyond the confines of his backstop to improve the broader working environment, program effectiveness, and development impacts in each Mission he served. In the later stages of his career, Nimi was often sought out to provide hands-on support to USAID Missions to help improve overall effectiveness and institutional capacity through Mission Management Assessments.
Nimi was also a beloved and important part of the community in each post where he and his wife, Suchinta, served. Through community theater, tennis, or in pursuit of their diverse interests at each Post, Nimi and Suchinta created and fostered a network of loyal friends that Nimi maintained throughout his life. Nimi leaves behind a legacy of excellence in his work and a legion of devoted friends and colleagues who will dearly miss him.
After Nimi retired, he became an avid golfer, playing daily. He became well known and respected at his nearby course in Santa Fe. Nimi marshaled at the golf course and was adopted by the players and management. During a recent outing a month before his passing, the course refused to allow him to pay for the round, saying, “Nimi is a local legend here. He does not have to pay to play here ever.” In speaking with colleagues and friends, the most frequent thing you hear is “Nimi is the kindest person I have ever met.” Those that had the pleasure to know him would enthusiastically agree with that statement.
Nimi was humble, intrepid, good humored, and dedicated to the core values of the Agency. Known for his signature ponytail and unique and eclectic sense of style Nimi enhanced the lives of literally everyone he met, everywhere he went.
Celebration of Life Virtual Gatherings on June 18
The Wijesooriya Family invites you to celebrate the life and times of Nimi on Saturday, June 18, 2022, at either at 10 a.m. or 9 p.m. Santa Fe (Mountain) Time. Both gatherings will be recorded. Friends and colleagues can join either of the events via Google Meet or dial in by phone at +1 956-410-3009, PIN: 812808753.
Family and friends will come together to share stories, tell tales, to laugh and share tears over a man whose life has had a lasting impact. The family invites anyone to share stories after the planned program has ended. If you would like to share stories, messages, and media about Nimi — mainly for his granddaughter — please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Stories about Nimi” in the subject.
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