Arthur J. Provencher

4 entries
  • "My dear friend, you were too loved to ever be forgotten...."
  • "Gary and Cathy I am so sorry for your loss"
    - Eileen Valentin
  • "With Sympathy to the friends and family of an exceptional..."
    - Rosanne Beaurivage
  • "Arthur was a good friend and a dedicated guardian for the..."
    - Alan Reische
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NASHUA - Arthur Julien Provencher, 83, born in Nashua on Feb. 22, 1930, died peacefully at his home in Henniker on Dec. 19, 2013.

Arthur married his wife, Barbara Beales Provencher, in 1985 and lovingly cared for her in their Henniker home for the three years preceding her death in February of this year. Arthur is best known as the last owner of Benson's Animal Park in Hudson from 1979 until its closing in 1987. Benson's brought Arthur much joy during his ownership period and for years later. He reveled in sharing memories of Benson's with family, friends, and strangers alike. Arthur had an inventive and entrepreneurial spirit and started his first business while still attending Nashua High School, from which he graduated in 1949. He served in the U.S. Army from 1951 until 1953, when he returned to Nashua and worked for Beebe Rubber until 1970. During the 1970s, Arthur was granted two patents related to other successful businesses that he started and then sold. In 1970, Arthur started Star Rental in Merrimack, which he owned and operated until purchasing Benson's.

For many years Arthur was active with international amusement organizations which afforded him the opportunity and enjoyment of traveling the world with his wife, Barbara, and close friends, Val and Harry Leftwich of Queensland, Australia. He recently served as president of the Circus Fans of America, Father Jerry Hogan Tent. Arthur was an avid collector of elephants, at one time owning tens of thousands of elephant items and artifacts from around the world. He was a competitive ballroom dancer and played both the piano and the organ. Arthur was active with the men's group at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Hopkinton.

He leaves behind his son, Gary Provencher of Merrimack and his wife, Catherine; three stepsons, Bryan Otey of Canterbury and his wife, Shelli Gay, Robert Otey of Trinity Center, Calif., and his partner, Margo Gray, and Charles Otey and his wife, Jamie Patterson; his daughter, Jodie Provencher of Manchester; and Bernard Zanoni of Centennial, Colo., whom he loved as his own. He also leaves behind seven grandchildren, Emily and Curtis Provencher of Merrimack, James Otey of Canterbury, Nathan Otey of Seattle, Tabitha Pope of Manchester, Jennifer Otey and Laura Hoover; as well as three great-grandchildren: Lilly and Tucker Pope, and Libby Hoover; and countless nieces and nephews. His niece, Cynthia Provencher of New Boston, provided exceptional care to Arthur in his home for the last six months. He was predeceased by his parents, Bruno and Elmire Provencher; and his five brothers, Louis, Ralph, Omer, Gerard, and Roland Provencher, all of Nashua.


services: There are no visiting hours. A memorial service will be officiated by the Rev. Kevin Nichols on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, at 11 a.m. at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 354 Main St., Hopkinton. Everyone is invited to meet at the church. A gathering in the reception hall will follow. Burial will take place in the spring.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Hope Elephants, P.O. Box 2025, Hope, ME 04847. Services and arrangements have been entrusted to the care of the Anctil-Rochette & Son Funeral Home, 21 Kinsley St., Nashua.

Funeral Home
Anctil-Rochette & Son Funeral Home, Inc.
21 Kinsley Street
Nashua, NH 03060-3844
(603) 883-3041
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Published in Union Leader on Dec. 31, 2013