William “Bill” Neff Provance passed away at LifeCare Roseau Manor on April 8, 2022 after having lived an “extra”ordinary 100 years. This kind, gentle, amazing man touched many lives in his tenure on this earth.
Bill was born to William Provance and Ida (Shultz) Provance on July 26, 1921, in Hope, North Dakota. The family moved to Caledonia, North Dakota before his first birthday and it was there he grew up and attended school. After graduating from high school, he worked on the family farm and took classes at NDSU until he was drafted into the army in 1944.
While learning to be a soldier, an opportunity presented itself for him to move to the army air corps. Thus began his lifelong love of flying and airplanes. Following his single engine flight training he was trained in multi-engine aircraft and became a pilot for the B-25. The pride for his service and the love of his country followed him for the entirety of his life.
Upon his discharge in 1946, he returned to North Dakota and his studies at NDSU. While attending a committee meeting at the small country theatre, a young girl attending the same meeting caught his eye. Gladys Sather, a home economics major from Starkweather, North Dakota became his wife in June of 1949.
After teaching in the Lancaster area for six years, the couple and their small but growing family moved to Roseau, Minnesota where Bill had accepted a job as Roseau County Extension Officer, a position he held for 11 years. Bill then worked as an agricultural loan officer at Citizens State Bank until his retirement in 1986.
Bill was a very community minded man. He was treasurer of Messiah Lutheran Church when the new building was being built and helped navigate through the finances of their endeavor. He was a member of the fair board for over 25 years and the president for much of that time. Bill was a member of the American Legion Club and served on the Watershed Board, the Minnesota Crop Improvement Board and the Curling Club.
Among the many hats he wore in the community, he was often seen at basketball games, hockey games, choir and band concerts, high school and community theater productions and chauffeur for kids to any and all activities.
Retirement was good to Bill and Gladys. They spent their summers between their cottage at Buffalo Point and their home in Roseau. Winters were spent in Phoenix, Arizona, where all their children were able visit (with as many grandchildren that had arrived) and pick oranges, grapefruit and lemons from their prolific fruit trees. Eventually, travel became too much for the couple and they settled in Roseau and in May of 2020 they moved into the Roseau Manor.
Surviving Bill is his wife of 72 years, Gladys; children Bill (Marlene) Provance, Juli Nassett (Dwayne); Jim (Jenee) Provance, Dave (Suzanne) Provance and Jeffrey (Kathy) Provance, his brother-in-law Gordon (Margaret) Sather, 18 grandchildren, 5.9 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents; his son, Paul; his siblings and their spouses Maxine (Richard) Tyler, Luella (Allard) Hallsten and Faith (Warren) Murray.
The family would like to express their thanks to the staff at Roseau Manor for the excellent care given to Bill and to the staff at Helgeson Funeral Home for their care of his family.
A Funeral Service will be held for Bill at Messiah Lutheran Church in Roseau on April 14, 2022 at 2:00pm with a visitation an hour prior. A visitation will be held the night before April 13 from 5:00-7:00pm at Helgeson Funeral Home in Roseau. Interment will be at Spruce Cemetery in Roseau with Military Honors by the Roseau Memorial Honor Guard.
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