Lifelong dancer celebrates a century

‘My girls are good to me,’ says Provo

One of the conditions for scheduling an interview with Clifford Provo, who turns 100 on Sept. 23, is that it can’t interfere with his happy hour.

Provo doesn’t miss Wednesday happy hour for anything, not even the Peace Arch News.

But it’s not the booze that lures the veteran into the Sunnyside Manor common area – he explained that he no longer drinks alcohol – it’s the dance floor.

Provo has been cutting up the floor his whole life. In fact, that’s how he met his late wife Norma, who he was married to for 72 years.

Admittedly slower on his feet – compared to his younger years – nowadays, Provo says, he prefers to dance the waltz.

He requested a band at his birthday party, to be held at White Rock Curling Club on Saturday. His daughter Linda Olrich said her papa has about 50 woman lined up waiting for a waltz.

“Some of them said ‘I’d come if you promise to dance with me.’ I don’t know how many I can get to dance with,” Provo said.

Born to a grain-farming family outside of Humboldt, Sask., Provo is a third-generation Canadian. He has three daughters (Linda, Connie and Cynthia), six grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Provo spent 25 years as a firefighter with the Royal Canadian Air Force, a job that he got offered through a chance encounter.

He was selling soda at a canteen when a suppler dropped by and offered him an extra 24 pops to sell on the side.

“Shortly after, the officer came to pick up the money. I told him that a guy gave me an extra 24. He said, ‘you’re such an honest man. I’ve been looking for a firefighter that’s honest, would you like to be?”

Provo accepted the offer.

“He said, you go to the fire hall. I’ll phone that you’re coming. I went to the fire hall and it was beautiful.”

Walking into that fire hall for the first time, Provo said, is one of his cherished memories.

“I walked in the fire hall and everything looked so nice and spotless. I was glad to be a firefighter.”

Provo retired from the air force in 1968, and got a job “right away” as a prison guard at a now-closed correctional facility in Nordegg, Alta., where he worked for a dozen years.

He’s called Surrey home for the past 16 years, and spent the last six living at Sunnyside Manor in the south end.

“I like to live to see my kids and I’m lucky all three live close, I see them often. They can walk here, they’re close,” he said. “I think that’s what keeps me going. If I didn’t have them, I couldn’t do it.”

Raising three girls, he said, was “pretty good,” adding that Linda, the middle child, was the “hardest one to raise.”

“At night, she would cry and I would shake the crib. And then start slowing up and slowing up.”

When he stopped shaking the crib, the crying would start again, he added.

“Then I would shake it again. You couldn’t walk with her, you had to run.”

If there’s one thing Provo can count on, it’s sharing a hug and a kiss with his daughters every Wednesday at 4 p.m.

“My girls are good to me.”

Just Posted

Ambulance response time concerns White Rock resident

Ambulance arrives 22 minutes after call for service

World Water Day celebrated in South Surrey

City of White Rock manager of utilities Saad Jasim to give a presentation on water Monday

Delta asking for joint provincial-federal review of ‘cashless casinos’

Call for system to prevent money laundering comes as construction is set to begin on Ladner casino

Delta needs education about racism, says new committee

Deltassist’s new Organizing Against Racism and Hate committee held a pair of forums last week

Hands Against Racism takes over Surrey City Hall

Event included music, dance; two people received awards

STRONG, PERSEVERING AND PROUD: Surrey Pride celebrates 20 years with biggest party yet

PART ONE: A special series on the past, present and future of our LGBTQ+ community

Bobrovsky perfect as Blue Jackets blank Canucks 5-0

Vancouver shut out for 10th time this season

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

Search and rescue team helicopters injured climber from B.C. provincial park

A 30-year-old woman suffered a suspected lower-limb fracture in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Trudeau in Vancouver to support Tamara Taggart at Liberal nomination event

The former broadcaster is seeking the nomination for the Vancouver Kingsway riding

Trudeau calls May 6 byelection for B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith

The riding opened up when Sheila Malcolmson resigned in January

B.C. VIEWS: The hijacking of our education system gathers speed

Children taught to strike and shout fringe far-left demands

Most Read