Born in Fish Hoek on 7 June 1930, Neoklis Pnematicatos passed away peacefully at his home on 4 July 2011. He was the third of four sons born to Costa and Maria Pnematicatos both natives of the island of Ithaca in Greece. He married Violetta in 1958 and was father to Maria and Dino, grandfather to seven grandchildren, Uncle Nox to his many nieces and nephews, and friend to all who met him.
Fish Hoek Cafe was started by his father Costa and made famous by him for Tutti Frutti ice cream, as well as Choc 99 soft serve, which he gave free to all Fish Hoek children, and once tasted, he had them coming back for more.
He was a true sportsman, an accomplished soccer player and captain of Hellenic Football team. He took an interest in coaching soccer at Fish Hoek Football Club, and was always on the lookout for new talent. He was a consistent golfer, a passionate fisherman and a champion snooker player capable of the double and triple figure breaks we all dream of.
Neoklis started displaying and selling art in the Fish Hoek Cafe, once he sold the business in 1965, he opened Ithaca Art Gallery. This was an outlet for many South African artists some of whom were unknown and became famous through this exposure. He ran the gallery until 1980 when he retired. With the guidance of Don Madge, Dino Paravano, Guilseppi Catty and Titta Fasciotti, he too became a passionate artist.
He enjoyed gardening and was a green-fingered gardener specialising in roses, strelitzias and olives. Every day Neoklis could be seen in his garden, once a week accompanied by Michael, his friend, caddie and gardener of nearly 30 years.
He authored two books, ‘It’s Not All Greek’ and ‘South of Ithaca’, both being personal accounts of his life in Fish Hoek.
In his own words taken from the first book, ‘’I am a Greek South African who may not have travelled widely but I have done many things and played many roles in my life. From motor racing, fishing, gardening and playing soccer I have been given a chance to meet and get to know the widest assortment of fellow South Africans.
The Cafe life taught me how to relate to people and how to run a business. I took risks and learned from my mistakes.
My life has not been dominated solely by Greek experiences. I am someone who needs to live in a community where I know people and they know me. In that respect Fish Hoek has been very good for me. In fact it suited me down to the ground. It lies in a valley bordered by the sea and enclosing hills. It has distinct boundaries. I have felt very much at home here in Fish Hoek and although I retain the strongest sense of my Greek inheritance it is well mixed with my love for South Africa and for Fish Hoek in particular.’’
Neoklis will be missed by all he knew him especially his wife Violetta, his daughter Maria, grandchildren, brother and the rest of his family. RIP.