It is with profound sorrow that it was announced the passing of Pero Čizmić at his home in Zagreb, Croatia, on Wednesday morning, June 16, 2021. His passing was peaceful and in the presence of his family.
To say that Pero was a giant among men is an understatement, particularly in regards to his long-time involvement with the sport of softball. For more than 25 years, he was the driving force behind the inception and growth of the sport in Croatia, a small nation with a storied history in the world of sport. As a small, new, and unfamiliar sport to Croatia, softball owes its survival and growth to Pero’s unrelenting drive in the face of obstacles at every turn. He was a man who never took “no” for an answer, which culminated in the construction of Croatia’s first true softball facility 14 years ago in Zagreb.
Pero served as the Croatian Softball Association’s long-time President and represented softball in the city of Zagreb’s sports council; from this position, he was vigilant in assuring that softball received its fair share of government resources for sports development and growth. He also successfully lobbied the Croatian Olympic Committee for the appointment of a former player to represent softball at the most prominent governing body of the sport in Croatia.
As a member of the European Softball Federation, Croatian softball became visible in large part due to Pero’s omnipresence at annual congresses, culminating with Croatia hosting the ESF’s annual congress in Zagreb. As a result of Pero’s perseverance, Croatia achieved representation on the ESF’s Executive Committee with the election of a Croatian delegate to the position of 1st Vice President for 5 years. Even at the apex of softball with the International Softball Federation, Pero consistently made his presence felt at the ISF’s biennial congresses, where he was successful in promoting the election of a Croatian player to the ISF’s Executive Council as a vice president; in that capacity, she spoke on behalf of the sport of softball before the International Olympic Committee. In general, Pero was selfless in his dedication to and devotion to the sport of softball, not only domestically but also internationally.
In every aspect of his life – as a father, as a husband, as a businessman, as a compassionate human being - Pero was a pillar of support to everyone around him. Without ego and selfishness, he became a man who was looked up to and respected by everyone around the world whose lives he touched. He will truly be missed, most especially by his wife Jadranka, his daughters Maja and Petra, and his granddaughters Sara and Zara.
Ami Baran, Secretary-General of Softball Europe and long-time Friend with Pero, commented his passing: "Pero was a dear Friend who helped me personally find my way into the European Softball world, taking me in to be a coach for Princ and being there with me at all corners. His eyes always told a story, a hint of what he was thinking and what he wants to achieve and all he and I had to do is look at each other and we knew what we were thinking. He created a pathway for his legacy for his daughters Maja and Petra along with their husbands to be the next leaders of Croatian Softball and with that, we know he lives on in all of us through them. I will truly miss his voice, his presence, and just him, a friend every person should have, who would do anything for you whenever you needed it. Zbogom moj brate!"