Philip Cyrus Provence passed away Aug. 13, 2019, in Kalispell.
He was born Sept. 2, 1921, in Galata, Montana, to Oliver and Helen Meguier Provence. When he was a teenager his family moved to The Promised Land, Russellville, Arkansas, where they “almost starved to death.” A lanky 6 feet-2-inches, he had to forego high school basketball for want of 50 cents for basketball shoes. As a child of the Great Depression, he never wasted food and if he could fix something, he wouldn’t throw it out.
Phil served his country in World War II from January 1945 to November 1946 during the Philippine Liberation. The war was something he would never talk about.
He married Emma Schmidt in Edmonton, Alberta, in 1956 after a blind date. But he had remembered seeing her, when his parents moved to Canada, as a girl walking to school in her heavy wool stockings. They settled on a ranch in Lost Prairie, 45 miles from Kalispell, and raised three daughters.
Phil was, at first, a logger with his brothers and then a rancher. Phil and Emma were blessed to be able to sell the ranch and retire fairly young. They traveled extensively with their RV and had many good times and good friends all over the country. These were years of great joy for them both.
Phil loved animals and treated them gently. He was happiest in his garden and woodshop, giving away the bounty he grew, and he blessed many with the furniture, crafts and jewelry boxes he created. He played the violin by ear and loved music.
He was first and foremost a gentleman and he was the benchmark his daughters would always compare men to. Stubborn and strong, he kept going long after his body wore out, as his greatest and final need was to take care of and show his love to Emma, our “Mum.”
He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers John “Jack” and Alan, sister Mildred, and many relatives and good friends, including his lifelong friend Lincoln Harris.
He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Emma, brother Ralph, daughters Patty Provence (Dave), Peggy Mathiason (Jim) and Betsy Winter. He’s remembered with love by his grandchildren: Jolene, Kira, Beau, Erik, and Ben, and 13 great-grandchildren.
Cremation has taken place and his life will be celebrated at a later date by family and friends.
Darlington Cremation and Burial is caring for Philip and his family.
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