Michael Robert Andrews of Eastham died peacefully from complications of Machado-Joseph disease at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis on Sept. 24, 2022 with his dear friend Lisa Benson at his side. He was 72.
The son of the late Ralph and Jeanne Andrews, Michael was born on March 17, 1950 in Provincetown, where he grew up.
As a child, Mike would join his friends in Provincetown Harbor treading water off the pier and asking tourists on the boats coming in from Boston to throw coins to them. They would fill their cheeks with quarters, then head down to John’s Footlong to feast on hot dogs. They spent whatever they had left at the shops on Commercial Street.
Mike attended Provincetown High School, where he was voted “cutest boy” in the class of 1969. In his high school yearbook, The Long Pointer, he declared that his ambition was “to live a happy life and to make people feel my soul.” No doubt, many did.
During and after high school, Mike fished with his father on the Cap’n Bill out of Provincetown. With fishing in his blood, he moved to Kodiak, Alaska in the early 1980s and for 15 years ran the Provider, a 132-foot scalloper with a crew of 12. When asked about the size of the town, Mike replied that it had more bears than people. He loved running the boat for two weeks out, five days in port, then back out again.
When the diagnosis of Machado-Joseph disease, a rare neurodegenerative condition that causes loss of muscle control, coordination, and balance, ended his fishing career, Mike returned to Provincetown in the late 1990s.
Back home, he enjoyed rides to the pier to say hello to old friends on the fishing boats. It always put a smile on his face when the fishermen yelled “Hey, Mikey!” He missed being out on the water for the rest of his days.
Mike was always accompanied by his beloved service dogs, most recently, Sweet Georgia Brown, a Portuguese water dog who was his devoted companion for 13 years until her death in July 2021.
“I was honored to take care of Mike during the last eight years of his life,” said Benson. She singled out Amy Ellerbeck and John O’Buck, who were Mike’s personal care attendants for the last year, for special thanks. They treated him with the utmost kindness and respect, said Benson, and gave him not only care but wonderful memories that sustained him in his final months.
Benson also thanked the staff at Cape Cod Hospital for their compassionate care in Mike’s last days.
He is survived by his son, Austin Carboni, and wife Kristen of Plymouth, and his daughter, Rachel Carboni of Bø, Norway. Mike is also survived by his brother Ralph and wife Jane of Truro; by his lifelong friend Steve Silva, who was a frequent visitor; and by his former wife, Claudia Andrews of Provincetown.
Mike was predeceased by the mother of his children, Christine Carboni.
A memorial gathering will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 24 at the pavilion at the end of MacMillan Pier. All are welcome to attend and share memories of Mike. His friends are raising funds via GoFundMe to help pay for Mike’s final expenses.