Beverly - John A. Driscoll, 44, beloved husband of Gretchen A. (Heufelder) Driscoll, died Saturday, August 13, 2016 at the Kaplan Family Hospice House in Danvers surrounded by his wife and family.
He was born in Salem to John and Susan (Craik) Driscoll of Lynnfield. He was raised and educated in Lynnfield. A graduate of St. John’s Preparatory School class of 1990 and Villanova University receiving his Bachelor’s degree and Boston College receiving his Masters in Education.
Growing up, John lived with his parents and older sister Megan first in Newburyport, MA. They later moved to Lynnfield where John’s brother Kevin and later sister Deirdre joined the family. He attended Lynnfield ‘s Huckleberry Hill school, then became an Eagle at St. John’s Prep, a Wildcat at Villanova University earning a BA in Political Science, and an Eagle again at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education earning a Masters degree in Education.
John was an active, happy kid - playing all sorts of sports including football, baseball, basketball and soccer. John excelled at swimming and was introduced to it at an early age at Camp Jean Marie in Wareham, MA. John and his family were able to spend summers together at Camp, hosting visits from cousins, aunts and uncles. Camp Jean Marie grew to be a special place for John - an escape into nature and a place for him to learn more about his faith. John also spent many happy days at Short Beach in Nahant and Crane’s Beach in Ipswich with his Driscoll cousins, on boat rides “down river”, family trips to Nantucket and even to the shores of Hawaii.
John met Gretchen in the spring of 1999. Feeling instantly connected and committed to one another, they chose a short courtship and married in the fall of 2001. Their love was one of honesty and humor and they chose a life that would promote spiritual growth and faith in one another.
John wanted to be a family man more than anything else in his life and his wishes came true with the birth of John Stephen in 2003 and Liam in 2007. He adored his boys and showered them with attention, affection and words of praise and love. Family life was the center of John’s being and he was an amazing husband and father. When he was given his diagnosis, more than anything, it was his love for his children and his desire to see them grow that motivated him to heal.
John loved the water. He was a competitive swimmer and water polo player at SJP and Villanova U. He loved the ocean, in particular the waters of Nantucket where he spent many summers as a lifeguard. He loved to share his joy of the water with his friends and family, encouraging many cousins and friends to join him in a place he loved. And when he and Gretchen had children, he taught his children to swim and love the water as much as he. The three loved to play together in the pool, the beach and the Maine house on Damariscotta Lake. John’s heart was most full at these times.
John was a caring, compassionate educator whose professional career positively impacted the lives of thousands of children and their families; first as a teacher in Chicago and then teaching locally for the Revere Public School System. John created a sense of trust with his students and he cared deeply about meeting every student’s unique needs. John felt fortunate in 2004 to return to his alma mater, St. John’s Prep in Danvers as an administrator. John is often remembered for his role as Dean of Admissions and Freshman Academics as his zeal for the Prep Community helped initiate a deep family relationship with the Prep. Some of John’s fondest memories and deepest friendships originate from his experiences through the Prep. He felt aligned with the Prep’s message of servant leadership and in 2011 returned to the public school system to serve as The Principal of Miles River Middle School in Hamilton Wenham. He loved to greet the students daily and worked to create community with the families and staff. He is remembered for his saying “Work Hard, Have Fun, Be Nice” and the impact transcends his time there.
In April 2013, John was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme. From that day forward, he dedicated himself on a “journey of healing’. He refused to use the words “fighting cancer”; however, he would be tenacious and leave no stone unturned in unearthing all that ailed him. He chose to participate in as many clinical trials as possible under Dr. Patrick Wen and the Dana Farber NeuroOncology Team. He also traveled to Washington DC in May 2015 with his father to promote research and funding for brain tumor awareness with the National Brain Tumor Association.He deepened his spiritual practices, learned meditation and sought out alternative therapies that would help him heal his mind, body and spirit. He was inspired to live his life from a place of self-love, forgiveness and compassion. Always the leader, he shared his story and knowledge to inspire others to be love through honest self-inquiry and the tenants of love and self-compassion. John was a dedicated, compassionate, caring, fun-loving, hard-working son, brother, cousin, nephew, uncle, husband and father. He leaves us inspired and instructed to follow his lead and to be.love.belove.
Surviving him in addition to his wife and parents are two sons, John Stephen and Liam Daniel Driscoll of Beverly; a brother Kevin Driscoll of Boston, two sisters, Megan Kirkpatrick and her husband James of Hanover, Deidre Siegert and her husband Clay of South Boston, Father and mother in law Stephen and Lynn Ostigny ; brother and sister in laws Erin and Mike Rodrigues of Portsmouth, RI. and Amy McKinnon of Danvers; as well as several nieces and nephews.
His funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Mary Star of the Sea Church, 253 Cabot Street, Beverly, Wednesday, August 17, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. Relatives and friends are invited to attend.
Visiting hours at the Campbell Funeral Home, 525 Cabot Street, Beverly, Tuesday from 4 - 7 p.m. Burial in the Central Cemetery, Beverly. In leiu of flowers, contributions may be made in John's memory to The Adult Brain Tumor Research Fund c/o Patrick Wen, M Dana-Farber Cancer Institute 450 Brookline Ave. Boston, MA 02215 and St. John’s Prep 72 Spring Street Danvers, MA 01923
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