Longtime Harris County Attorney Michael Hardee "Mike" Driscoll passed away in Houston February 19, 2013. Mike died peacefully in his sleep. He was 66 years old.
Mike was elected as Harris County Attorney, serving from 1981 to 1996. Throughout his tenure, he brought to life and nurtured many innovative programs that have grown to signify those things for which the Office of Harris County Attorney is now best known. He transformed the office into a powerful legal and political force that today is seen as the champion for a better quality of life for Harris County residents.
By making the environment and neighborhoods safer and healthier places for families and children, Mike began what is now the stock in trade of the Office of Harris County Attorney. Working through the Texas District and County Attorney's Association, Mike helped spread these ideas across the state. He encouraged students to prepare for public service and he gave young lawyers who came to work with him a sense of purpose as well as an opportunity for a meaningful career serving the public interest.
Mike was born in Houston in 1946 to Vic and Inez Hardee Driscoll. Vic Driscoll was a standout quarterback at Rice University and served as football coach for San Jacinto High School. Inez Driscoll worked for 30 years teaching speech and lip reading to pre-school deaf children in Harris County.
Mike received both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Houston. Immediately after graduating from law school, Mike was elected Harris County Justice of the Peace, a post he held from 1973 until 1978. He was active in Democratic Party politics for years. Politics came to him naturally as a nephew of former Houston Mayor Neal Pickett and former U.S. Sen. Ralph Yarborough.
In 1996, Mike received the first "Civil Practitioner of the Year" Award from the Texas District and County Attorneys Association for excellence in the practice of civil law on behalf of public clients.
Mike retired from the County Attorney's office due to complications from Parkinson's disease, cutting short what was expected to be a long and successful political career.
The courtroom at the County Attorney's Office was named after Mike in 2010. In 2011, Mike Driscoll Park opened in Precinct 3 and the special needs playground at Lindsay-Lyons Park in Harris County Precinct 4 was named after Mike.
Mike served in leadership positions in many non-profits through the years. He was a member of Clear Lake Masonic Lodge and was a Scottish Rite Mason, 32nd Degree, KCCH.
Mike was preceded in death by his parents, his sisters-in-law Sylvia Driscoll and Carole Purdue Driscoll and his wife, Betti Rose McNamara Driscoll. Surviving Mike are his brother Victor Driscoll Jr. and his nieces Diane Hurtado and Elizabeth Rainwater and their families, as well as an extensive family of aunts, uncles and cousins. Also considered a member of the family is Mrs. Esther Thompson, Mike's loving caregiver for the past 15 years. Along with family, Mike leaves close friends beyond counting.
A memorial service celebrating the life and legacy of Mike Driscoll, led by Dr. Jim Bankston, will be held at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, February 27, at St. Paul's United Methodist Church, 5501 S. Main. A reception will follow immediately at the church. All current and former members of the Harris County Attorney's Office will be honorary pallbearers.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be sent to the Now Testament Church, 3401 Anderson Rd., Houston, TX 77053 or the Houston Area Parkinson's Society, 2700 Southwest Freeway, Houston, TX 77098.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Feb. 22, 2013.