Franklin Owen Michaud, a retired IBM sales manager who volunteered to help those befuddled by digital job applications, died Dec. 25 at Stella Maris Hospice. He was 88.
He fell nearly three years ago and did not recover.
Born in Orange, New Jersey, he was the son of Helen Owens, a concert pianist who performed on the radio, and Francis George Michaud, a certified public accountant.
He graduated from 1952 Seton Hall Preparatory School and earned a military science degree at Georgetown University. He also joined the school’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program.
“He credits his many courses in philosophy with his ability to zero in on the core of a problem quickly. This later helped him as a salesman,” said his daughter Kathleen Garliss.
He served in the Army Signal Corps at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, as an instructor in the 40-week microwave repair course and taught basic electricity.
His family said he told them that the Korean War had ended and the Army didn’t know what to do with him.
Mr. Michaud met his future wife, Betty Lou Dukehart, a Hunting Ridge resident, at a Washington, D.C., wedding. His best friend, who was his college roommate, was marrying his future wife’s cousin.
He later told his family that proposing to her was the best decision he’d ever made.
After working briefly for General Electric, he joined IBM in Newark, New Jersey, and drove to Baltimore on weekends to begin dating.
After marrying, they settled in Brook Meadows off Cromwell Bridge Road in Baltimore County.
Mr. Michaud retired from a 30-year sales career at IBM. He was also a branch manager of an IBM division based at the Inner Harbor.
Retirement did not suit him — he returned to work after being recruited to the WS&B Software Group in Towson.
He retired a second time as vice president of sales at Advanced Solutions International, a software developer in Alexandria, Virginia. The firm serves donor-based organizations and nonprofit entities.
“My father was the consummate sales professional. He mentored many people over the years as well,” said his daughter Kathleen. “He gave guidance and advice. He was known for his kindness, honesty and integrity.”
Mr. Michaud and his wife were longtime members of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church congregation on Loch Raven Boulevard. They taught Sunday school and served on the parish board of advisers.
In his retirement, he volunteered for many years at the Towson branch of the Baltimore County Public Library. When library patrons were unfamiliar with the use of computers, he gave on-the-spot training lessons.
“People would come in off the street and say, ‘I don’t have a job. What do I do?’ He had a little desk there and he helped them get on a computer and showed them how to fill out an online application,” his wife said. “He was pleased when they found employment.”
He also used his connections at IBM to secure a donation to the library of IBM PCs and a 3D printer, his wife said.
He played golf and tennis and was an avid reader, photographer and user of new technology.
“He always had the latest and greatest technology, even built the family’s first color television from a Heathkit,” his daughter said.
The Morning Sun
He taught photography courses at the Community College of Baltimore County’s Essex campus.
Mr. Michaud walked the Loch Raven Reservoir woods and snapped nature photos, which he later developed in his basement darkroom.
He passed his love of reading on to his children and shared his favorite books by Louis Dearborn L’Amour, a novelist and short story writer.
He played golf at the Country Club of Maryland until the age of 85 when a mishap on the course ended his favorite pastime.
He and his wife lived the past three years at Mercy Ridge Retirement Community. He spent afternoons in the pub with the friends he made there.
Mr. Michaud, is survived by his wife of 63 years, Betty Lou Dukehart, a retired Quest medical technologist; a son, Dr. Gregory Michaud of Boston; four daughters, Lynn Lacey of Marriottsville, Kathleen Garliss of Monkton, Carol Campbell of Columbia and Laura Gordon of Parkville; 12 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Plans for a service are incomplete.