In Appreciation : Dan Prowten
Our community has suffered a sad loss. Dan Prowten was an integral part of West Tisbury. He was a man you could count on, a go-to guy, a problem solver, dedicated and smart. He chose the role of guardian and protector. His is the kind of tenacity and pragmatism that make towns, neighborhoods, and inanimate objects work.
Dan exemplified taking responsibility and making a contribution: he was willing to undertake the difficult roles of School Committee, FinCom, EMT, and firefighter and wondered why others, in his opinion, shirked. He was like a terrier: he paid attention, cajoled, and badgered, to tease out solutions and answers. Action was his M.O., and if he could not take it he could become mightily frustrated.
Dan was feisty and locked horns with many people. It is a testament to his integrity and endearing qualities that those who have disagreed with him do not hold it against him. He was a rational, generous man of great charm and principle. He and I disagreed on almost everything, yet he would always make the effort to meet me more than halfway.
The endearing qualities include but are not limited to a well-developed aesthetic appreciation of art, good design, good craftsmanship, good company, music, wine, al fresco cooking and partying under the stars, and on and on.
As a gardener, he quested for hotter-than-hot peppers and great raspberry crops. He dried off the begonia tubers in his window boxes and saved them from year to year. He kept a small forest of bird feeders; stocking the array was a labor of love.
Everyone who knew Danny remembers his eyes. Even when he was trying to be gruff, they either expressed humor or could be coaxed into it. His speech was laconic and well modulated. In song, his voice was sweet and soulful. He could wring every ounce of sentiment from a country ballad.
In our neighborhood, Danny kept our road association going, despite some of our members. He wanted a passable road, smooth and functional, for when those 911 calls came and he had to tear out of here. As I said before, he was like a terrier. He paid attention, cajoled, and badgered, trying to tease out solutions and answers.
Dan, Claudia Canerdy Lee, and I functioned as an off-season core road committee, usually meeting at his house. Generations of fancy coffeemakers have by now landed in the Dumptique, but they were not for him. When Danny invited you for coffee, you could count on his time-tested Chemex for a great brew that would keep you jet-fueled for the rest of the day.
He was resourceful and practical. He knew what worked.