On August 3, 2023, Elaine Thalman Provancha of southeast Tucson passed away at the age of 98 at her home, with family close by. Elaine passed away after being treated for Covid/Omicron that was diagnosed on July 7, 2023.
Elaine was born in March of 1925, in southern Utah, to Leo Lavar Thalman and Henrietta Biehler Thalman. She was raised in the very small dry-land farming town of Vermillion (now known as Sigurd) surrounded by many relatives and wonderful neighbors who were considered to be family members. As the oldest of five children, she set a good example and never faltered. Elaine graduated from Richfield High School in 1943. She took a year of preparatory classes at the University of Utah, and then entered an accelerated nursing program at the University of Colorado-Denver as part of the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps.
In late 1945, Elaine met Earl Deloss Provancha, an Army-Air Corps lieutenant from a Colorado farming family. They married two months later on New Year’s Eve. Two months after they were married, Earl was reassigned to Templehof Air Base in Berlin, Germany, as a meteorologist. Elaine left nursing school eight months later in her senior year to join him in Berlin. They traveled extensively across the bombed out post-WWII landscape of Germany in an Army-surplus jeep, as well as making trips to Italy and France. Their assignment in Germany included service during the initial six months of the historic Berlin Airlift, which is considered the world’s greatest humanitarian airlift. Their oldest son, Bradley Earl was born in Germany in 1948. Their family grew during each of the next three assignments: Brian Frank arrived in the late summer of 1950 in Texas; Lee Renee was born in the spring of 1953 in Newfoundland, Canada; and Erin Elaine completed the family in the spring of 1957 while they were stationed in Georgia. Other memorable Air Force assignments included Arizona, England, Alabama, Rhode Island, and Virginia. Elaine was always positive and upbeat about all these moves even though they were a huge amount of work for her. She told her children not to be sad about where they were leaving because … “You never know but at our new home maybe you will meet someone who will end up being your very best friend for life!” She advised her children not to worry about not having a house because as long as they were altogether as a family, they always had a home they could put into a house later on.
Following Earl’s retirement from the Pentagon after 26 years of service, Elaine’s skills for creating a cozy and inviting home continued in Chapel Hill, NC. Earl worked for the University of North Carolina, developing their Medical Air Operations. Later on their adventures continued from their base in Benson, AZ, when for many months and years at a time they became full-time motor-homers traveling across the U.S. and as far as north as Canada and Alaska and south into Mexico. In 2006, they returned to North Carolina (this time in Asheboro), where Earl passed away at the age of 83. A short time later, Elaine returned to Arizona and settled this time in Tucson. This last relocation was Elaine’s 27 move (counting three different motor homes) since marrying Earl in 1945.
All of her adult life Elaine lovingly helped others by applying the basic skills she learned in nursing school. She supported the many school and scouting activities of her children that included ballet, clubs, horse shows, and a wide variety of sports practices and games. She called the hours spent driving them back and forth as “raising kids by-the-mile.” The values she instilled, the example she set, and the love, support, patience, and gentle coaching she practiced with them ensured that all of her children did well in school, were confident public speakers, and have been successful in their different chosen careers which ranged from home renovations, training dogs, professional ballet and school administration to home construction and serving in the U.S. Air Force and federal government civil service.
She actively attended The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all of her life and as an adult, served in several positions of responsibility, including Relief Society president, Stake Relief Society counselor, seminary teacher, visiting teacher, and many more. She also admirably fulfilled the important role of a supportive wife to her husband when he was a branch president and later a bishop.
Elaine and Earl were married for time and all eternity on August 6, 1968, in the Manti Utah Temple. In retirement, they were called as a couple to serve on two Church missions: a Spanish-speaking mission as directors of the Mormon Battalion Visitors Center in San Diego, CA, and later as temple workers in the Washington D.C. Temple. Elaine’s mother, Henrietta, joined them on that mission when she was 76 years young and amazed everyone she worked with.
She is survived by her four children currently living in Germany, North Carolina, and Arizona; eight grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren, scattered from coast to coast across the United States; as well as her youngest brother, Ron (LouAnn) Thalman, Nephi; as well as numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Elaine was preceded in death by her parents; husband; and three of her younger siblings: brother, Lavar; brother, Harold (Louise); sister, Beth.
Cremation services were previously held. A graveside interment service will be held on Saturday, September 30, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. in the Richfield Utah City Cemetery. The service will be followed by a luncheon for family and friends. Funeral Directors: Magleby Mortuary, Richfield, Salina and Manti. Online guestbook at www.maglebymortuary.com