Obituary: Celebrating the life of John T. Driscoll
John T. Driscoll, of Milton’s Fuller Village, passed away peacefully on March 11, surrounded by his loving family. John was born October 26,1925 in Medford, Massachusetts, the fourth of five children of William and Mary Driscoll, both originally of West Cork, Ireland. Raised in Jamaica Plain, he attended Boston English High School, where he met his lifelong best friend, former State Treasurer Bob Crane. After interrupting his college studies to serve as a signalman in the U.S. Navy, John returned to Boston College graduating as class President in 1949. John married the love of his life, Jean M. Francis, in 1951. They remained happily married for 41 years until Jean’s premature passing in 1992. John was also predeceased by his siblings: Nicholas J. Driscoll, Mary A. Cook, William P. Driscoll, and Helen C. Zona.
John and Jean built a masterpiece of a life together, devoting time to the things they valued most – family, faith, and friendship. They began their family life together in Dorchester, but soon outgrew their house and moved the growing clan to Cary Ave in Milton. They cherished summers in Scituate and later South Yarmouth, enjoying rounds of tennis and golf with family and friends.
John is survived by seven beloved children and their spouses: John T. Jr. and Nancy Driscoll of Camden, ME, William J. Driscoll of Machias, ME, James F. Driscoll of Scituate, Jean M. and Stephen Williams of Norwood, Paul J. and Christine Driscoll of Canton, Maureen and Robert LeBlanc of Milton, and Robert E. and Maureen Driscoll of Milton.
He was an outstanding ‘Papa’ to his twenty-one grandchildren, their spouses, and four great-grandchildren: Kelly Driscoll, Michael Sullivan, and Ronan Sullivan of Roslindale, Bill, Beca, Will, and Robert Driscoll of Milton, Katie, Andrew, and Anna Buttaro of Pittsburgh, PA, John C. and Lauren G. Driscoll of Boston, Patrick Driscoll of New York City, Courtney and John Lawrie of Walpole, Jenny Driscoll of Roxbury, Matthew Driscoll of Canton, Conor and Kimberly LeBlanc of Dorchester, Brian Williams of South Boston, Christopher Driscoll of Brighton, Megan Williams of Norwood, Molly Driscoll of New York City, Julia LeBlanc of Boston, Catherine Driscoll of Canton, James G. Driscoll of Falmouth, Grace LeBlanc of Milton, and Jefferson, Caroline, Luke, and Dillon Driscoll of Milton.
John is also survived by his beloved companion, Margaret ‘Peg’ Vahey, of Milton, whose youthful energy, commitment to her Catholic faith, and love for the Driscoll family nearly matched his own. He was friend, mentor, and confidant to many, and will be greatly missed by nieces, nephews, extended family, and friends who became family, all who were touched by his generosity, kindness, and warmth.
John served three terms in the Massachusetts House of Representatives between 1955 and 1960 representing Dorchester, and as the Massachusetts State Treasurer from 1961-1964. He served as Chairman of the Mass Turnpike Authority for 24 years in a bipartisan fashion under five Governors and six administrations. After his time in public service he returned to serve as Vice-President for Administration at Boston College, his beloved alma mater, for 15 years. John loved each job he ever had, and was a leader of the highest integrity, but family life was his paramount pursuit.
With his characteristic smiling Irish eyes and his jovial laugh, John loved to recount stories of his days in public service and politics, and often spoke of the joy that his family brought him, especially at the annual family gathering, ‘Papa Weekend’, a tradition that will continue for the 15th year this August. In his final years, John’s deep trust in the Lord helped him battle age and illness, which injured his body, but never his mind, spirit, or ever-positive disposition. He continued to live, and love, as he had done his whole life: with dignity, class, and great enthusiasm.
On March 13, the Massachusetts House of Representatives, upon the motion of his grandson, State Representative Bill Driscoll, Jr., adjourned as a mark of respect in memory of John. The prayer closed with these words: “In 1960, from the stage at Boston Garden, on the eve of his election to the Presidency, John F. Kennedy warmly remarked that John T. Driscoll was one of the finest men he had ever met in public life.”
The Driscoll Family extends our deepest gratitude to John’s healthcare team, led by his daughter, Maureen: Catherine Strain, Irene O’Halloran, Martina Hoey, and Nora Quill, as well as a special thanks to everyone who attended the wake at Dolan Funeral Home, funeral service at St. Agatha, and a toast with extended family at The Common Market. It was a loving send off to a man who lived a model life with the utmost grace, and a chance for the many beneficiaries of his service, generosity, loyalty, and love, to say ‘Thank You’ and ‘God Bless.’
Donations in John’s memory may be made to the Jean M. Driscoll Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Boston College, Office of University Advancement, Cadigan Alumni Center, 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467.