DRISCOLL, Col. James J. (USAF-Ret.) 91, of Indian Rocks Beach, died Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2012, of complications from Melanoma. His wife of nearly 30 years, Elizabeth M., was at his side. He was born in Cambridge, MA, April 27, 1921, the son of Jeremiah and Bridget Driscoll. Survivors include his wife, Bets, of the Indian Rocks Beach home; sons, James J. Driscoll Jr. of Southaven, MS, and R. Paul Driscoll of Clayton, CA; grandchildren, James J. Driscoll III of Birmingham, AL; M. Alison Chang of Austin, TX; Amanda Dreisbach of Clark Summit, PA; and Wren Driscoll of Clayton, CA; and four great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife of nearly 40 years, Wanda Mae (Brown) Driscoll in 1981. Col. Driscoll's military career began in the Massachusetts National Guard (1938-40), extended to the U.S. Marine Corps (1940-41) and the U.S. Army Air Corps when he graduated from flight training and was commissioned in 1942. He served in the Pacific Theater flying P-47Ds with the 310th Fighter Squadron, where his fellow pilots dubbed him "Fighter". After World War II, he served in the Reserves until being recalled for Korea War service in 1952. After transitioning to jet fighters in the F-84, he chose to make the Air Force a career and converted to Regular status. The career included tours in Strategic Air Command with fighter escort wings, Air Training Command, ROTC duty and U.S. Air Force Southern Command, both at headquarters and in the field (Guatemala). Notable awards and decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, numerous Air Medals, the Legion of Merit and Meritorious Service Medal. Col. Driscoll earned his B.A. from the then-University of Omaha (now University of Nebraska-Omaha) and an M.A. from Michigan State University. Professional schooling included the Air University and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. After retiring from the Air Force in 1974, he settled in Pinellas County and became active in local community service and politics, serving two terms (1978-82) on the Redington Shores Board of Commissioners. In 1990 he won the first of two terms as Mayor of Indian Rocks Beach; he was re-elected in 1992. Col. Driscoll's hobbies and interests included boating, fishing, reading, writing, as well as serving his country and fellow man. He was known to all for his zest for living. Prior to dying, Col. Driscoll said he "would be honored" at any memorial gifts contributed to the Suncoast Hospice Foundation, 5771 Roosevelt Blvd, Clearwater, FL 33760. The Celebration of Life will be held Jan. 12, 2013, 10 am, at Calavary Episcopal Church1615 First St, Indian Rocks Beach, FL.
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Published in the Tampa Bay Times on Jan. 2, 2013