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KNUCKEY, William John (Bill)

Born: 1905 01 11
Died: 1980 05 23


William John (Bill) Knuckey was born in Johannesburg on the 11th January 1905, the son of Wesley KNUCKEY. He was educated at Jeppe Boys Preparatory School and subsequently Jeppe High School for Boys where he finished his schooling; thereafter he joined REID & KNUCKEY as did his older brother Arthur Wesley KNUCKEY who was born on the 23rd June 1903. Bill became an excellent carpenter and his daughter Lenore Knuckey still has some of his work today.

He became a member of Jeppe Old Boys Quondam Club in 1923 and remained a faithful and diligent member for 56 years. He played soccer and coached the Wanderers soccer team when their club was where Johannesburg Park Station is today. He was also a keen cricketer. He was the founder member of the Bowls Section at Jeppe Quondam in 1941 and served as its Chairman in 1942 and 1965. He had the remarkable record of having won the Singles Championship of the club eight times. He was the first Jeppe Old Boy to become President of the Transvaal Bowling Association and he brought great honour to the club when he won the Southern Transvaal Senior Singles Championship in 1971 at the age of 66.

He was made an Honorary Life Member of Jeppe Quondam on the 26th November 1979. Bowls was his life and he was an exemplary father.

Excerpt from the Quondam magazine dated April 1980:

"...But Bill did not rest on his sporting laurels alone. He came to the fore in the 1940's and 1950's when he served for many years on the Management Committee of the Club and played a key role in the Building Committee responsible for planning and building our first Clubhouse in 1950 and the first major extension in 1957. Indeed, the lovely paneling which surrounds you in this very lounge was laid by Bill himself. Ladies and Gentlemen, it is not often that one is given the opportunity to honour a great man, a great character and a great club member but, tonight, it gives me untold pleasure to propose, on behalf of the Club Council, that Honorary Life membership of the Jeppe High Schools Quondam Club be conferred upon one of our greatest sons – William John Knuckey.

Unfortunately, he was struck with severe arthritis in the knees and this ended his bowling career. The Club was Bill's life and he was accompanied on weekends by his faithful dog Lassie."

William John Knuckey and Eleanor Durris Benson (granddaughter of Sir Drummond Miles Dunbar and Maria Louisa Dunbar) were married on the 28th March 1932. They had two daughters.

During the Second World War he was enlisted with the Night Watch Brigade as he was unable to join any regiment due to having had typhoid fever earlier in his life which apparently could recur at any time.

William John died on the 23rd May 1980.

(Information supplied by Lenore Knuckey, daughter of William John, August 2012)