Joseph Leon Pamensky was born in Port Elizabeth (now known as Gqeberha) on 21 July 1930. The veteran cricket administrator and avid enthusiast passed away on Wednesday 8 March 2023.
Fondly known as ‘Uncle Joe’, he played an impactful role in South African business, most notably so as President of the South African Cricket Union until 1991. He demonstrated astute, forthright and enterprising leadership.
Pamensky led the Board during its most tumultuous times in the 1970’s when the games authorities in the country sought to unite cricket. With the continued isolation of South African cricketers and no support of the government as well as the failure of the unity process, he then became a key figure in the controversial era of the Rebel Tours to the country.
Lions Cricket President, Anne Vilas pays her respects;
“Those in cricket will know the magnitude of this loss and how sorely Joe will be missed. He was a leader, a friend, a catalyst, a risk-taker, a kind and intelligent man who always acted in the best interests of the game and the people who serve it. On behalf of all those at Lions Cricket, our thoughts and prayers are with Joe’s family during this extremely difficult time, and we thank you too for lending us this man who was larger than life in so many ways.”
Joe Pamensky played first team cricket for Grey High School and later for Wits University and the Pirates Club. However, his main contribution to the game was as an administrator, serving on the Wits University All Sports Council and then becoming Chairman, President and Honorary Life President of Pirates. He was elected to the Transvaal Cricket Union Junior Board in 1953 and served as Chairman before being elected to the full Board in 1955 – the youngest to serve on the Board. He served as Treasurer, Vice-chairman, Chairman and President. He was then elected to the South African Cricket Association Board in 1967 and was one of the main drivers of the negotiations which led to the formation of the South African Cricket Union in 1976. Himself and Geoff Dakin at one stage rotated the presidency of SACU, with a two-year limit on terms. He was also awarded life membership by the MCC for his decades of services to the game.
In 1987, Pamensky received the Order of Meritorious Service Gold Medal by the South African government. He was also a member of the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants (Chartered Accountant of the Year 1984) and an Honorary Life member of MCC as well as CSA and Gauteng cricket.
Lions Cricket CEO Jono Leaf-Wright is devastated with the loss of one of a kind Joe Pamensky;
“Uncle Joe was an inspiration to many – I would have cherished to work under his guidance, leadership, grit and passion. The entire cricketing eco-system gives thanks to this well-liked man for we would not be where we are today without the determination, professionalism, and love of cricket he always gave. On behalf of the Lions Cricket Board and our entire Pride, we thank you Uncle Joe and promise to keep flying the flag high for brand cricket in our country – may you Rest in Peace and always know what a blessing you were to our lives. Your legacy will live on forever.”
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