Daniel Provencher, 67 of Newport News, VA. passed away unexpectedly on July 18, 2020 at home. Born in Vermont on February 9, 1953, son of David L. Provencher of Ghent, NY and the late Elizabeth Provencher/Scott. Daniel worked at Popp’s Towing and Recovery in Newport News, VA for the last 8 years and is remembered there as a dedicated hard worker capable of any job.
He is survived by his father, David Provencher and stepmother, Edith of Ghent, NY. His sisters, Trudette (Trudy) Crimi of West Taghkanic, NY. and Kimberley Steele of Shenandoah, VA. He is also survived by several nieces, nephews, cousins, step-family, in-laws and many dear friends. He was predeceased by his brother, Gregory Provencher and step-sister, Kathryn (Kathy Scott) Wilson.
The COVID pandemic has prevented us from coming together in support the way we have in times like this before. Handling what he left behind has been impacted as well due to travel restrictions and high-risk family members. It has been a challenge for all of us. What follows is a reflection on his life, written by his niece during her travel to Virginia to settle his estate and may not be a traditional obituary, but Dan was not one to follow traditions.
He grew up in Vermont and Upstate New York, later he moved when work opportunities presented themselves to him which brought him to many cities in Pennsylvania and Virginia. He was a masonry worker at heart but was talented in so many areas. His employers remember him willing and able to do whatever was needed; stone work, construction, painting, auto repair; no matter how hard or dirty the job. Others remember Dan as a quiet, gentle man who created works of art with stone, repairing stone walls, building beautiful fieldstone fireplaces and patios throughout Columbia and Berkshire Counties and later years in Virginia. One of his hobbies in Virginia Beach was repurposing old bicycles into fun and fancy beach bikes. With each move he touched the lives of those he met. I’ve had the privilege to talk to many people who knew him day to day and the story is the same: He was always working – whether it be on a job site, up early, staying late, or on himself. It is no secret that Dan struggled with addiction. I remember nights when he reached out to my parents for help when he was particularly low. I’m sure he reached out to others in the same way. He completed an addiction recovery program in Pennsylvania and earned certificates to broaden his skills as a laborer. Like many, he wasn’t able to hang on to his sobriety but he held on to his medal, certificates, and photos of those who supported him most as a constant reminder.
There are so many stories of Dan that I treasure, not only of how hard he worked, but of fun too. I love hearing about the “crazy adventures” he had with his brother Gregg, sisters Trudy and Kim, and his extended family. I wouldn’t say he knew how to balance work and fun, but for all the parties and adventures he had, he worked just as hard, if not more.
As I spent what little time I had in Virginia, trying to pick up the pieces of his life that was interrupted so suddenly, I felt like I got to know him in a way I didn’t before. I am forever touched and grateful for this connection. He was a man of the Earth, and saw beauty everywhere. His life was simple and humble yet surrounded by treasure. Rocks, windchimes, tools from the past, music, tiny things he found – nothing of material value, but all of it priceless. He saw art in everything around him and created art wherever he went – even bits of tin foil. While getting to know Dan in this unique way I found bits of myself and my children in him and this brings joy to my sorrow. It is encouraging to see his attention to detail, creativity, and innate ability so see magic in the mundane, living on.
After a particularly hard day of trying to make sense of what was left behind, I sat in his chair outside and looked at what he would have looked at, listened to what he would have heard; only missing his loyal dog, Puppy. What I found was peace in a world of conflict, simple and beautiful. I am thankful for that evening. He sat next to me, and all around me as we watched a storm roll in from the ocean. He reassured me of something we all need to be reminded of from time to time – Beauty and potential are all around us, time is never promised, and the most important things in this life cannot be bought.
If you feel so moved, please consider a donation toward his final expenses at our Go Fund Me Page. Thank you for helping us honor and remember Dan.