HOLYOKE - LeRoy (Roy,"the Colonel") W. Provost Jr., Lt. Col., USA (ret.), eighty-seven years of age, died on July 9th at his home in Holyoke after a prolonged decline in his health.
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His wife Madeleine was at his side.
Roy was born in New York City, son of the late Mabel (Coyne) and LeRoy Provost.
During his early childhood, he was also the beneficiary of the care and nurture of many surrogate family caregivers, due to the health and financial misfortunes of his parents at that time. "Home" to Roy included Binghampton NY, Durham ("Pea Hill") CT and New Haven CT. The Navy, during WW II, was Roy's first response to military service. He completed his high school studies post war at Admiral Bullard Academy in New London CT. The GI Bill afforded him the opportunity to continue his education, which he did at Middle Tennessee State College (now a University). Upon graduation, he was commissioned an officer in the United States Army. What followed during his many years of Army service were multiple state side assignments, two tours of duty in Germany during the Cold War era, deployment to Korea in the post war period and combat duty in Vietnam, for six months specifically as an Advisor to the South Vietnamese forces. For that assignment and duty, he was awarded the Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Silver Star. This added to his many other military decorations and awards.
Roy's bachelor years ended with his marriage to Madeleine (Barthello) in 1956 with the pomp and ceremony of a military style service. Together they raised six children, Michelle, Renee Provost-Clausing, Monique, Denise Griffin (John), John (Patti), and Christopher (Linda).
Upon retirement from the Army, after a combined twenty-one years, Roy became an employee of the United States Postal Service. He thoroughly enjoyed that service when he was assigned a postal route, delivering mail to nearby neighbors and acquaintances with particular dedication and care.
An avid huntsman, Roy especially enjoyed and appreciated the European traditions and values associated with that sport which he experienced during his tours in Germany. He imparted many of these to his two sons and other young sportsmen.
In 1980, Roy and Madeleine finally found a piece of rural property in Buckland MA that met their aspirations for country life. Roy plunged into the mission of restoring and developing the land, to include building multi-use structures "meant to last!" These efforts merged into a beautiful and habitable complex which came to be known as Buckland Woods. Roy's long life yielded interesting tales to tell which he did with a style that held the attention of young and old alike. They ranged from "The Pea Hill Chronicles" of his youth, to such things as tank races organized for the enjoyment of the soldiers in his care. The latter is but one example of Roy being a "soldier's soldier".
His time as an enlisted person plus his own down to earth, practical approach to life made him an especially "in touch" commander. He also had an affinity for noticing needs wherever they might be, and lending himself and other resources to meet them, one example being an orphanage in Germany which has the good religious sisters sometimes coming a "knocking to advance their case for yet another unmet need (case in point, request for a wading pool which inadvertently came to be a near Olympic size one!)
In addition to his wife and children and their spouses, Roy leaves behind five grandchildren: Rachel Pelzer, Jessica and Max Provost, John Ryan and Hannah Griffin, and a great granddaughter Egypt Elizabeth.
As the door closes on this part of Roy's remarkable journey, the family wishes to thank, with immense gratitude, the many, many people who worked tirelessly in recent months to make our homes adaptable to Roy's needs, to the health care professionals who listened patiently for appeals for his care and worked to try to make things happen, and the multitude of friends and neighbors who offered their help in abundant ways. Thank you all.
The Barry J. Farrell Funeral Home, 2049 Northampton Street in Holyoke will be the setting for a Service of Remembrance which will initiate Roy's farewell. Family will greet guests on Saturday morning, July 13 starting at 9:00 a.m. with the service beginning promptly at 9:45 a.m.
The Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 11:00 a.m. at Saint Patrick Chapel of Saint Jerome Church, 169 Hampden Street, Holyoke.
Burial will be private and take place at a later date at the Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Agawam.
Finally, the family respectfully suggests that for those wishing to honor Roy in some way consider a contribution to the Wounded Warrior Project which is working tirelessly to care for the new generation of women and men and their families who give themselves over so selflessly in response to our country's call for service. (Wounded Warrior Project, PO Box 758517, Topeka KS 66675 or online at www.woundedwarriorproject.org/Donate)
Barry J. Farrell Funeral Home
2049 Northampton Street
Holyoke, MA 01040
Published in The Recorder on July 11, 2013