Dan Province, who founded the Westland Area Commission 20 years ago, is being remembered as a knowledgeable and caring person.
Province, who served as chair of WAC for 13 years, passed away March 13 after a short illness. He was 67, and is survived by his wife Jan, who served as secretary until the couple moved to Worthington seven years ago.
Mike McKay, who has served as chair of WAC for the past seven years, said Province was filming a city council meeting for a local television station in1989, when he disagreed with a proposal under consideration to establish a truck depot across the street from his house.
“He wasn’t interested in having a truck depot across from his house, so he stepped back from the camera and went down to speak against it,” McKay recalled. “Dan was told he had to get a constituency in order to be heard and he took on that challenge.”
McKay said Province gathered some other people who didn’t” want that truck depot in their neighborhood and who wanted their voices heard.
“Dan gathered 1,700 signatures of people who were willing to stand up with him,” he said.
The Westland Area Commission became an officially recognized commission about one year later. Province served as chair until June of 2003.
One of those who joined the commission at the start was Dorothy Jantzen, who remains a member today.
“He knew everyone,” she said. “If you needed something, you went to Dan. “He knew the answer. He was really on the ball.”
Several people on WAC today got their start under the tutelage of Province.
Shawn Thomas, the health and safety committee chair, attributes his early knowledge to Province as did McKay who joined the commission 14 years ago.
Province’s death also touched people outside the area.
“Dan worked long and hard for his community,” said Chuck Patterson, chair of the Greater Hilltop Area Commission. “He was diligent, determined and fair. This is a true loss. On behalf of the GHAC, I convey my sympathy to his family, friends and community and my admiration for his legacy.”
Even after moving out of the area, Province kept current with what WAC was doing and had attended a WAC meeting last summer with his wife Jan.