Obituaries, Jan. - Feb. 2009

Obituaries, Jan. - Feb. 2009

[Note: in cases where donations may be made to New Mexico Tech, the address is: Advancement Office, New Mexico Tech, 801 Leroy Place, Socorro, NM 87801.]

Michael Provenza
56, of Montrose, Colo., passed away on Jan. 30 near Lake City, Colo. Mike was born Jan. 11, 1953 in Aguilar, Colo. to Pete and Grace (Sammartino) Provenza. He grew up and attended school in Aguilar, Colo., and graduated from Aguilar High School. After high school, Mike attended New Mexico Tech in Socorro, N.M., receiving his bachelor of science degree in mining engineering.

Michael's friends have requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to "Cooney Mining Club" at New Mexico Tech. Donations will be used for scholarships and travel benefiting mineral engineering students.

Mike married the love of his life, Beverly Thoman, in Kemmerer on May 24, 1980.

Mike was a General Coal Mining manager, managing mines in Raton, N.M. from 1994 to 2000 and Gallup, N.M., from 2000 to 2008. Mike and Beverly lived in Kemmerer, Madisonville, Ky., Gallup, N.M. and Raton, N.M., before settling in Montrose until the time of his death.

Mike was a member of the Rocky Mountain Coal Association and a board member of the New Mexico Mining Association.

Mike's greatest joys came from spending time with his wife and three sons: Anthony, John and Jeff. Mike loved to golf, fish and hunt in the beautiful outdoors, as well as playing cards and games with his family when he could.

Family members blessed to share in Mike's life are his wife, Beverly Provenza of Montrose; his three beloved sons, Anthony Provenza and wife Allison of Salt Lake City, Utah, John Provenza of Montrose and Jeff Provenza of Las Cruces, N.M.; his sister, Geraldine King and husband Charles of Georgetown, Calif.; one uncle; four aunts and numerous cousins.

Mike is preceded in death by his parents, Pete and Grace Provenza.

Dr. Victor Vacquier, Sr., passed away on Jan. 11, 2009, in La Jolla, Calif., at the age of 101. Vacquier, a prominent geophysicist, worked at the New Mexico School of Mines from 1953 to 1957. He then left to join Scripps Institute of Oceanography, where he became prominent in mapping the magnetic field of the Earth and providing evidence that led to the acceptance of the theory of plate tectonics.

Dr. Donald Yardley emeritus professor at the University of Minnesota, taught courses related to mineral exploration there from 1951 to 1984. One of his students, M. J. Fitzgerald, founded a fund in his name at New Mexico Tech to support students interested in ore deposits and mineral exploration. According to Fitzgerald, "The most important aspects of Don Yardley's teaching were his philosophy of exploration and his emphasis on practical, simple approaches to solving the problems involved."