Veronica (Taves) Santos, a violin prodigy and a former Miss Provincetown, died on Aug. 3, 2023 at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis surrounded by her family. She was 92.
The daughter of Frank “Bisca” Taves and Mary (Patrick) Taves, Veronica was born and reared in Provincetown. When she was young, she committed herself to learning the violin, which she played with great skill and flair.
As she stated in her Provincetown High School yearbook, the Long Pointer, her hobby was “practicing the violin” and her ambition was “to play in Carnegie Hall.” That hope was not unreasonable. The 1948 edition of the Long Pointer described Veronica’s performance in the annual school orchestra concert: “Handel’s Largo from the opera Xerxes was the title of a solo superbly done, with orchestral accompaniment, by Veronica Taves and her seemingly magic violin.”
Veronica won the title of Miss Provincetown sometime around 1949. “My mother was a beautiful woman — so beautiful,” said her daughter Claudia Colley. “A friend of mine used to call her Miss America.”
Veronica’s dream of playing at Carnegie Hall changed when she met Francis Santos soon after she graduated from high school. The couple married and over the following decade had six children. Veronica put away her violin and devoted herself to her children.
“I remember her bringing out her violin only once,” Claudia said. “I must have been about six years old.”
Veronica worked as a chambermaid at the Royal Coachman hotel, now the Sandcastle. She also struggled with mental illness throughout her life, which led to hospitalizations and to difficulties in her marriage.
Veronica and Francis tried hard to stay together. Their marriage ended in divorce in the early 1960s, but they remarried in 1969, only to divorce again in 1978. Francis died in 1988 at 62.
“Despite her struggles,” Claudia said, “she was committed to her children.” She was a skilled cook and baker, had a talent for needlework, and especially enjoyed doing upholstery work.
After her children were grown, Veronica lived in Boston for a while and traveled the world. She particularly enjoyed Italy and exploring her family roots in Portugal. “She always dressed nicely,” Claudia said, and she loved getting to see the latest in European fashion.
Eventually Veronica returned to Provincetown to be closer to family. She lived at Seashore Point, where her children would bring her Cumberland Farms iced coffee, her favorite.
Veronica is survived by her six children: Donna Alford of New York, Ronna Carreiro of Provincetown, Brenda and husband John Costa of Provincetown, Dana Santos of Wellfleet, Claudia Colley and husband John of North Truro, and David Santos of Wellfleet.
Funeral services will be private.
Memorial donations in Veronica’s honor may be made to the Seashore Point Wellness Center Activities Department, 100 Alden St., Provincetown.
Notes of comfort may be left for Veronica’s family at chapmanfuneral.com.