Joe Spencer, 1933–2019
Falcon, together with many national and global agricultural mechanisation and journalism communities, are mourning the loss of Joe Spencer (86), who passed away recently in Hilton, KwaZulu-Natal, after months of battling ill health. Joe, a former employee at Falcon and a consultant for many years thereafter, was also a highly respected and knowledgeable mechanisation editor and columnist for Farmer’s Weekly and the South African correspondent at profi – The Professional Farm Machinery Magazine.
Joe was born in the UK on 17 January 1933. His early working years were as a merchant seaman on Union Castle liners, followed by years of working for Richardson Farm Machinery and Leonard Dees Farm Machinery. In 1968 Joe married Mary, and that same year emigrated to South Africa, which allowed him to bring the Lely farming implements brand to this country for the first time. Over subsequent years in South Africa he worked for Armstrong Ford, Case IH, Falcon Equipment and Farmer’s Weekly.
His connections to Falcon remained throughout his life, and he was a critical part of our research and development team. He also contributed to the marketing of the business with wonderful stories and articles and in fact less than two weeks before his passing he wrote his final article for us on pasture management in the dairy industry using our implements. His product knowledge of the agricultural industry, which he acquired through many years of experience and an intense passion for the industry, was contagious, and a great asset to us and everyone he shared it with. His guidance and advice was always kindly shared with his infectious sense of humour and wit. At Falcon, Joe is referred to as Uncle Joe and he was a living legend. When in doubt, ask Uncle Joe.
Joe leaves behind a very real legacy which will affect the way we do things at Falcon for a very long time to come. On a personal level, everyone of us who knew Joe and worked alongside him will remember him with great affection. When all is said and done, however much you love your work, it’s the people that you meet in it that really matter, and a colleague and friend like Joe was something very special. Joe, we will miss you at Falcon.