Lifelong Ashlander Dom Provost dies at 81

Lifelong Ashland resident and business advocate Dom S. Provost died Thursday of a heart attack while undergoing kidney dialysis. He was 81.

Provost operated a family furniture store in Ashland for more than 30 years and worked for decades to create a golf resort southeast of Ashland.

Clear Springs Resort was first proposed in 1988 on 245 acres of farmland Provost and his wife, Joyce, owned along Interstate 5. It was the first destination resort proposal approved in Jackson County, but it faced numerous legal challenges and Provost repeatedly scaled back the plans and never started any construction.

"He was a person who loved Ashland," said his son Dom Gregory Provost. "Everything he did was for the community, not for self-gain. He wanted to golf there, but it wasn't just for him. He tried to bring in business to make it better for everybody."

Greg Provost explained that his dad provided land for a rest area and welcome center south of Ashland because he wanted to make sure travelers coming to Oregon from the south didn't bypass the community before they got information on activities and sites to visit. That plan also has been slowed by controversy.

"Dad always put community and family first," Greg Provost said.

The Provost family long has been a part of the Ashland community.

When Dom Provost was born May 10, 1928, in Ashland, he was the fourth generation of his family in the Rogue Valley. Two more generations have subsequently called the region their home.

For five generations — more than 100 years — the family operated the Provost Brothers Mercantile, a furniture and floor-covering store in downtown Ashland.

Provost was known for generously extending credit and a helping hand to young couples starting out so they could furnish their first home, said his son Kent, who took over Provost Furniture from his father.

Provost was active in a variety of community organizations, including Ashland Rotary Club, the Elks, Ashland's Economic Development Committee, Rogue Valley Country Club and the Red Coat volunteers at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

He served on the Ashland School Board, as did his mother, Mern Provost, and son Kent. He also was an avid high school booster.

In high school, he played basketball and baseball and was undefeated in tennis, his family said. He played golf while earning a business degree from the University of Oregon and continued to golf and bowl into his late 70s, proving a master of both games.

"He was a great gentleman," said Medford resident Ron Dixon, who met Provost in 1960 when the two bowled on opposing teams in scratch league play, but ultimately ended up playing on the same team and golfing together, too. "He never said an unkind word about anyone."

In addition to Joyce, his wife of 51 years, Provost is survived by son John D. Skyrman of Kent, Wash.; son Kent B. Provost of Chicago; daughter Alicia J. Provost of Oregon City; son and daughter-in-law Dom Gregory and Deborah Provost of Talent; and grandchildren Dom Mace Provost and Alexi Provost.

At Dom Provost's request, no memorial service is planned, but memorial contributions may be made to the Ashland High School athletic department to help all student athletes pay participation fees.

Reach reporter Anita Burke at 776-4485, or e-mail

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