The city of Columbus has lost one of its most dedicated and longtime neighborhood activists.

The city of Columbus has lost one of its most dedicated and longtime neighborhood activists.

Dan Province, president of the Far North Columbus Communities Coalition (FNCCC), died suddenly March 13. He was 62.

While his impact on the Far North was considerable, according to FNCCC leaders, he established his reputation as a tireless community leader when he founded the Westland Area Commission (WAC) in 1989, then served as its president for approximately 15 years. Shortly after moving to Flint Road in 2003, he became active in the FNCCC, where he represented the Sharon Flint Residents Association.

Members could not remember when he was first elected president, but said he was about to embark on his 2010 term.

"We are now scrambling to decide what to do and who will guide the ship," said 16-year FNCCC member Eric Harned.

Province came to the coalition with a wealth of knowledge and insight into the Columbus Development Commission and city council, Harned said.

He wanted to make sure that North High Street did not become another West Broad Street and was interested in preserving trees, among other issues, said his wife, Janet Province.

"He was genuinely committed to looking out for his fellow neighbors and the overall consistency of the area so as to follow the intentions of the Far North Plan," Harned said.

The Provinces became interested in their community back in the mid 1980s. After hearing a radio broadcast about volunteer opportunities with the city of Columbus, they signed up to run the camera for a local access television station covering council.

Soon, concerned about some things he saw happening on the West Side, Dan Province began speaking at council meetings. After one meeting, council member Cynthia Lazarus took him aside and said if he wanted to make an impact, he needed to organize his neighbors. Out of that advice the WAC was born.

Besides representing the West Side in zoning and development matters, Province was the force behind the establishment of that area's Freedom Park.

Province saw the potential in the vacant field on Norton Road. He attained a grant to build a gazebo on the Columbus-owned land, then hired students from Franklin Heights High School to work on the project. The city paved a parking lot and graded the land, completing the city park.

Province, a retired chemist who got a degree in mathematics and physics from Ohio State University in 1971, was also active in a wide range of other volunteer organizations over the years.

He was vice chairman of the Chemical Preparedness Advisory Committee (CPAC), which is part of the Columbus Health Department. It oversees hazardous waste sites, attains special training for government personnel and holds mock catastrophes.

He and Janet also belonged to the Worthington International Friendship Association (WIFA).

In keeping with the wishes of the family, there was no visitation or funeral. Contributions can be sent to Cat Welfare, 741 Wetmore Road, Columbus 43214.