Diane would like to purchase a memorial bench in Prospect Park near their home on 12th Street. She will also be honoring Bob’s wishes and hosting a memorial in the spring to celebrate his life. These funds will be used for both, with any remaining money going towards Cairn Rescue USA and Evolucion Shelter in Merida, Mexico.
Bob’s dear friend Louis Varela Nevaer captured the essence of Bob as well as how much he will be missed in the tribute below:
A heavy heart has fallen over the family and friends of Bob Provenzano, who died in January after a brave and dignified battle with cancer.
Private and well-humored, he did not want to burden those who loved him with the progression of his illness, first diagnosed in February 2017.
A charming and eccentric man, he was everyone's favorite dentist in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and the gentlest of expats in Mérida, Mexico.
What can one say of a man who had a Peugeot bicycle in his waiting room as "art," and decorated his Brooklyn home with Mexican Catrina sculptures and contemporary paintings from artist friends? What can one say about a dentist who happily provided services to people in Park Slope, regardless of their ability to pay, or an expat in Mexico who donated to the local dog rescue?
His kindness could be excruciating: an old school gentleman, he always insisted on picking up the tab, whether it was in Apoala in Santa Lucia (Mérida), or Provini, a block from his brownstone in Brooklyn. This made it a battle of the wits when going out with him--making up an excuse to get up after the waitressed served dessert or after dinner drinks to rush to pay the bill while pretending to visit the restroom.
That strategy often failed, alas. And so it became a habit to make artisanal pizzas at his home with Diana and Milton White. Which ones to make? How many? Where to find the gourmet toppings? And of course, the wine. Always the wonderful wines and the simple Italian meals, whether in the dining room--where a life-sized doll in Victorian dress sitting in a rocking chair straight out of a Stephen King horror movie looked on--or in their garden out back, where raccoons from Prospect Park found refuge.
His home was filled with the eccentric finds and treasures from a life of traveling with Diane, collecting mementos from the world over.
Never a misanthrope, he relished taking espressos at the inexplicably named coffee shop, "Grumpy's" on Seventh Avenue. Sol would listen, amused, as Bob practiced his Spanish, at which he became quite proficient in short time. He used his Spanish making a difference at the dog rescue, “Evolución,” in Mexico, where he was a benefactor. How he loved dogs! And how he loved Prospect Park.
It was fortunate that lived half a block from the Park, allowing him the opportunity to enjoy that marvelous place, whether on his bike in the summer, or with his dogs during the fall.
An enthusiast lover of cheeses and Ki' Xocolatl chocolate, in his little cap as he frequented the neighborhood--a male version of the optimistic Mrs. Dalloway--Bob was a good man, the kind of good soul so rare these days.
When the end came, there had been a stream of friends dropping by to check in on him, from gallery owners to Broadway musicians, writers and poets.
He died at home, in his bed, with his three dogs around him, music playing (he was a dentists to musicians, somehow). It was a quirky winter day in New York: early morning snow giving way to sleet and ice rain, ending with rain. Inside his house, the warmth of love filled the space, however. Diane was there, of course, and there had been a number of visitors and well wishers throughout the course of his final day. That evening, around ten p.m., he fell asleep and then, some time later, peacefully, he passed from our lives and entered the eternal.
- Donna Travers
- Sarah Crowner
- Valerie Mannucci
- Robert Burke
- Suzanne Gilchrest
Organizer and beneficiary
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