Dr. D. Vincent Provenza, 85, UM Dental professor

August 14, 2004

Dr. D. Vincent Provenza, a retired University of Maryland Dental School dean and a Roman Catholic deacon, died of cancer Thursday at Stella Maris Hospice at Mercy Medical Center in downtown Baltimore. The Guilford resident was 85.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Catonsville, he was a 1935 graduate of Catonsville High School. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Maryland.

He taught biology and chemistry to pre-med students at Loyola College before returning to the University of Maryland, where he earned a doctorate in 1955.

He then joined the faculty of the University of Maryland Dental School and taught anatomy, histology and embryology. He was the assistant dean of biological sciences and wrote scholarly papers on the nature of blood vessels in the palate, among other subjects. He also served on the board of the American Journal of Anatomy. He retired in 1987.

He was a member of the Maryland Anatomy Board for more than 20 years.

"His teaching expertise was in the study of cells, membranes and tissues and how they interact," said Ronn Wade, director of the State Anatomy Board. "He was an excellent teacher, and he had a strong sense of ethical standards."

Fluent in Italian, French and German, Dr. Provenza lectured on the anatomy of the teeth at conferences in Europe and Israel.

In 1979 he became a deacon at SS. Philip and James Roman Catholic Church in Charles Village. He officiated at baptisms, marriages and burials, and visited to the sick. He also conducted Lenten services and preached. He was also a former trustee at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.

He enjoyed painting and pottery. He also prepared Italian dishes.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Monday at SS. Philip and James Roman Catholic Church, 2801 N. Charles St.

Survivors include his wife of 40 years, the former Dr. Lucia Serio, a retired educational administrator; two daughters, Lucia Regina DiStefano of Westminster and Marijo P. Bushman of Monkton; three grandsons; and four great-grandchildren.

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