Dr. Robert Dhushyanthan Selliah passed away on January 28th 2020 at the age of 56.
Robert is survived by the more than 7 billion souls who inhabit this earth. He touched the lives of many, and the world is a better place for those whose paths he crossed.
Robert was born in Jaffna, Sri Lanka on March 6, 1963 to Boniface and Theresa Selliah. He discovered his passion for Chemistry in the 8th grade while living in the Maldives, and later graduated from the University of Texas, Austin in 1992 with a PhD in Chemistry. Robert enjoyed the experience of working and living in several countries and US states; he considered himself a citizen of the world.
Robert worked in the pharmaceutical industry as a medicinal chemist for over 20 years, founded and devoted himself to a non-profit organization for the development of medicines for sick children for over 8 years, and most recently became a High School Chemistry teacher for Real Salt Lake Academy. Robert shared the last 10 years of his life with his supporter, love, and life partner, Ruth Laurito, and her two children, Ean and Eli. He was a teacher, mentor, champion, and friend. There are too many words to describe all that Robert meant to them and how he enriched their lives. He is deeply missed and left a legacy that will last lifetimes.
Robert was accomplished at many things. His favorite talent was making tasty food to share with others. He mastered Sri Lankan cuisine, the Franklin method of Texas Bar-b-que, and regularly created culinary masterpieces of all types, including “the best plain rice with soy sauce ever.” Robert reveled in sharing his creations and seeing delight on others’ faces, especially children. He considered the experience of a child liking his food to be the highest honor and went out of his way to ensure the children in his life had amazing food to eat. Robert was a dedicated seeker of knowledge, a bearer of wisdom, and a bright light that illuminated the world around him.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, February 8 at a neighbor’s residence: 1237 West High River Cir, Riverton UT 84065. Visitation will be from 12:00-12:30 pm. The service will start at 12:30 pm. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Robert’s life.
In lieu of flowers, donations are being accepted in Robert’s memory to support Ruth and her boys, and to help cover expenses. Donations can be sent via Venmo directly to Ruth at @Ruth-Laurito, or through an account set up at America First Credit Union: Robert Selliah Memorial Account# 9114455. AFCU Member Service Contact Center (800)-999-3961.
Ruth and the boys would like to thank everyone for their outpouring of love and support.