A true daughter of the “old sod,” Johanna A. Sullivan Driscoll was born in South Boston to Michael Sullivan of County Cork and Nellie Millette of County Mayo on Aug. 9, 1931. After the usual school days, in the late forties she met the love of her life, Cornelius F. Driscoll now gone he was a strapping Irishman with all the charm, good looks and bravado that the Irish are famous for.
He had a smile that made the young girls swoon and melt. In 1948 they married. Johanna, better known as “Joan” or “Joanie was a huge fan of Dean Martin, often listening to his music for hours on end. Often her now husband “Connie” would serenade her with Deans hits. All of her life Joan would remark that Connie was her Dean Martin lookalike. Her being so in love with him probably helped a little when she looked at Connie.
It wasn’t long before the young couple started a family. Joan loved children and after seven kids, including in order Ann, Michael, Patricia, Eileen, Gerald, Ellen (Dolly) and Mark, she began asking them about when they would give her grandchildren. More often than not the kids would explain that they were much to young and not even married yet. Years latter, she had the same question for her grandchildren.
“When will I have great grandchildren?”
Though life was on many occasions hard and difficult for the family, Joan managed to raise and educate all seven children. What a job she did. All of them have distinguished themselves in their chosen professions’ and careers. Probably the most difficult time in her life was prompted by the untimely death of her beloved 17-year-old grandchild, Stephen Guilfoy. The son of her daughter Eileen and her husband Steven Guilfoy, young Stephen was killed as a result of a reckless drunk driver. It was a great loss to the entire family. Stephen was a wonderful kid who was always concerned about others and a young man who no doubt, would have done well in life. It was a real tragedy.
Joan worked very hard for her whole life. She had a distinguished 30 year career at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, on many occasions being formally recognized for her care and compassion in dealing with the patients in her care, On numerous times she was awarded the prestigious “Employee of the month award”.
Joan retired in 1996 with the hoped of getting the rest, relaxation and fun she so justly deserved. Unfortunately her retirement went terribly wrong. Her behavior and demeanor changed abruptly. Several trips to her doctor revealed the on set of Alzheimer Disease. The insidious ailment led to a long slow decline into dementia and ultimately her death.
Joan was a woman of great compassion for others. No doubt this is how young Stephen, her grandchild learned its importance. Joannie saw so much suffering and loneliness during her career at St. Elizabeth’s that she became more and more aware of the many patients dying unattended. She vowed to remedy this situation as best she could. Many the day, on her own time she would sit with her terminally ill patients to make sure they would have someone with them at the end who really cared. This was the essence of Joan Driscoll.
When her husband Connie was afflicted with Alzheimer’s, she would spend hours attending to her husband and his fellow patients. Often you could see her going down a line of Alzheimer patients in restraining chairs, making sure they were all eating and drinking. “Have another bite Joe,” “Eat your desert Bill,” it was quite a site to see.
Johanna A “Joanie” Sullivan Driscoll was a wonderful and remarkable woman who always thought of others more than herself. She was a devoted mother and grandmother, a woman of great sensitivity to the hardships and problems of others, a hard worker whose efforts brought comfort and relief to the afflicted and a person who recognized the value and importance of family. She has made her mark on this world and deserves her place in the next. She will be surly missed.
Funeral from the MacDonald, Rockwell & MacDonald Funeral Home at 270 Main St. in Watertown on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015 at 9 a.m., followed by Funeral Mass in the Church of St. Patrick, 212 Main St., Watertown at 10 a.m. Relatives and friends kindly invited. Visiting hours Wednesday 4-8 p.m.
Interment will be at St. Patrick Cemetery.