Michael L. Provost

Michael L. Provost, 78, of North Smithfield, R.I., passed away on October 31, 2022, surrounded by his loving family.
Born in Woonsocket, R.I. to Leon and Rose Provost, Michael grew up in North Smithfield before beginning a long, successful career in the technology industry. At eighteen years old, having earned a trade school credential in electronics, Michael accepted a short-term position in the Philippines with Raytheon Technologies. It was during that time that he courted Laurel Susel, whom he had met earlier while working as an orderly at Woonsocket Hospital. Upon Michael’s return from overseas, he and Laurel were married in May of 1965. They were together through thick and thin for forty-eight years until Laurel’s untimely passing in 2013.
Michael spent thirty years working for IBM at the height of the technological boom. He served as a Customer Engineer, a Program Support Representative, and a Large Systems Engineer. He was responsible, along with his colleagues, for helping to create the earliest computer networks at Brown University and other large institutions. He retired from IBM in 1993 and began working CVS Corporation as a Director of Information Technology. He retired permanently in 1995, having earned the prestigious President’s Award for outstanding service.
Michael married Judith Lamothe, also of North Smithfield, in September of 2016. They spent several years in Harwich, Massachusetts before moving back to North Smithfield in 2019. They were constant and loving companions, and Judy cared for him devotedly until his passing.
After his retirement, Michael devoted much of his time to his family and to the hobbies and pastimes that brought him so much joy. An avid sailor, Michael spent as much time as possible on the Laurel Anne, the boat he kept moored in Wychmere Harbor on Cape Cod. He loved to take friends and family sailing, and was happiest and most at peace on the water. He completed several memorable excursions with friends over the years, including sailing to Block Island on a tiny sunfish sailboat and competing in the Hyannis-Nantucket Figawi race.
In addition to sailing, Michael was an extraordinarily talented carpenter. He was perpetually working on a project or home improvement endeavor, and the breadth and depth of his skill was matched only by his remarkable work ethic and active imagination. Just two weeks before his passing, Michael completed the bathroom improvements necessary for his own palliative care. Additionally, he spent the last two years of his life creating magnificent, unique bowls and other carved wooden objects in his basement workshop. Michael’s childhood love of building model cars and airplanes was also evident throughout his life. A member of the Y.F.O.C. Flying Club and certified by the FAA, Michael built and flew several large-scale, detailed planes. He also collaborated with his grandson, Ellis, on the construction of a Stratocaster-style electric guitar. Also notably, Michael transformed the basement of his home into an elaborate miniature railroad, a project that delighted him and his grandchildren.
A devoted community volunteer and mentor, Michael spent many hours in service of the two organizations he loved most: the Harwich Family Pantry and the Harwich Council on Aging. He was recognized frequently for his quiet, capable service and the humility with which he went about assisting others. Throughout his life, Michael was a friend and helper to neighbors, colleagues, and strangers. He loved children and was immediately disarmed by their presence. His three grandchildren, with whom he was extraordinarily close, were his greatest source of pride and joy.
In addition to his wife, Michael is survived by two children, David Provost (Kristen Weber) and Amy Provost (Keith Whiting), both of Portland, Oregon. He leaves three grandchildren, Ellis and Emery Weber-Provost, of Manchester, Massachusetts, and Kai Whiting, of Portland, Oregon. He is also survived by a sister, Jacqueline Mowry (Stanley Mowry), of North Smithfield.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Michael’s name to the Harwich Family Pantry, 133 Queen Anne Road, Harwich, MA 02645. The family will hold a private celebration of his life.  
Arrangements are under the direction of the Holt Funeral Home, 510 South Main St., Woonsocket, RI.