In Memory of Geetha Howie

It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I write this tribute to my amazing mother-in-law, Geetha Howie, who was tragically killed in a senseless act of violence on November 27th, 2017.   Geetha was a strong woman with a big heart, who loved her family dearly.  She took great pleasure in showing love through serving others, whether making special meals for her family, hosting friends in her home or sewing clothes into beautiful creations for weddings, birthdays, and other special occasions.   She was a woman of many talents, artistic abilities, and admirable qualities, but one of my favorite things about her is how she deeply loved and adored our three-year-old daughter, Evangeline Hope, her one and only grand-child.   Evangeline and her "Aachi" ("grandma" in Sinhala) were inseparable, and Geetha doted on her joyfully.  When they were together, Geetha's beaming smile would stretch from ear to ear, and would light up the room.  My heart would swell with joy, gratitude, and happiness when I would see them together playing, reading a story, saying bedtime prayers or snuggling each other as they settled in to bed for the night.  I absolutely loved when they would get together (and so did they).  Shortly after Evangeline was born (which was 9 years after my wife, Sahani, and I were married), I remember Geetha cradling our sleeping, newborn miracle baby in her arms, looking at her lovingly and whispering softly to her, "Most grandparents have to wait nine months to meet their grand-child, but we waited nine years for you!  What took you so long to get here?!"   That beautiful memory will live forever in my mind. 

Geetha and her husband, David’s story is that of the American Dream. They are immigrants from Sri Lanka that made a living and a new home in Staten Island, New York.  Over the past 30 years they have been a vital part of the Sri Lankan community on Staten Island.  Geetha has many beloved friends that have become family over the years.  Both Geetha and David worked tirelessly to afford their children, Sahani and Shain, a good education and upbringing. They finally purchased their home on Bement Avenue in 1999, where they have resided all these years.

The first time my wife (then girlfriend), took me home to meet her parents, Geetha greeted me with warmth, and prepared a special traditional Sri Lankan meal for me, which was delicious.  She was an excellent cook, and I told her so from the first day we met.  (My wife says that is the reason she loved me so much.)  Although I am not from their cultural background, Geetha, my father-in-law, David, and my brother-in-law, Shain, loved me and welcomed me into their family with open arms.   

Geetha was very excited to be traveling to Sri Lanka to attend her only sister's, only son's wedding.  She was so looking forward to being reunited with her sister, brother, mother, and extended family, many of whom she had not seen in years.  We were all anticipating a joyous celebration and family reunion.  Instead, we find ourselves in the midst of an unspeakable tragedy, navigating the new territory of planning the funeral of our beloved Geetha, while dealing with shock and grief.  

Many people have reached out and asked what they can do for us in our time of need and grief.  We deeply appreciate your prayers and support as we go through this trial.  I am setting up this gofundme page to raise money to support our family for a little while until we are able to weather this storm and get back on our feet.   The funds raised here will go toward funeral expenses, overseas travel, food, and the many various other expenses that go along with funeral planning and running a household.   We so appreciate anything you can contribute.  

Geetha was a kind spirit that was willing to help everyone and sacrificed so much for her family and friends. She will be missed deeply by all.  I will cherish the sixteen years I had the privilige to spend with her and get to know her.  I will forever be grateful to her for the most precious gift she gave to me - my precious bride, Sahani.  She is the best wife I could have ever asked for, and Geetha did a wonderful job in raising such an amazing woman. 

We hope, pray and trust that justice will be done for Geetha, and our family, and that God will somehow ultimately bring about good from this awful and tragic situation.  Please join us in praying for peace, and the triumph of justice over vengeance, love over hate, and reconciliation over division.  


Daniel Fazzina

"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
~Jesus Christ, as recorded in John 16:33

Geetha is survived by her husband, David Howie, and her son, Shain Howie, of Staten Island, NY, her daughter and son-in-law, Sahani Howie and Daniel Fazzina of Virginia, her grand-daughter Evangeline Hope Fazzina of Virginia, her mother, Kay Stevens and brother and sister-in-law, Varuna and Bhuddi DeSilva of London, U,K., her sister and brother-in-law Pushpamala and Sena Pererra of Sri Lanka, and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews in Sri Lanka, Europe, Canada and the Middle East.   

CBS News Coverage of Geetha Howie
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Daniel Fazzina 
Staten Island, NY
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