Joan Degnan Driscoll, 84, active in Catholic Church

Joan (Degnan) Driscoll, 84, of Ridgefield, CT, the wife of the late Francis X. Driscoll, passed away in peace on September 15.

Joan was born in Forty Fort, PA, August 9, 1928, a daughter of the late Leo and Nan (Ryan) Degnan. She grew up in Astoria, New York, attended St. Jean the Baptist High School, graduated from St. John’s University and worked for the Department of Social Services in New York City.

In 1953, Joan and Francis were wed and resided in Huntington Station, NY for thirty-two years before moving to Wilton in 1986 and Ridgefield in 1998.

Joan was passionate about many things, most especially her faith and family. Those two forces drove everything in her life and made her an unabashed advocate for the sanctity of life and unapologetic about debating societal forces that have an impact on faith and family.  She attended daily Mass at St. Mary’s while her health allowed and was a member of the St. Vincent DePaul Society. She spoke proudly to whomever would listen about each of her family members and their latest achievement. She made her grandchildren who received a small academic recognition, a swimming ribbon or athletic trophy feel like they had just won the gold medal in the Olympics. She made anyone she spoke to feel that they were the most important person in the room and even friends of her grandchildren fondly called her Grandma. Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren were the jewels of her eye and sustained her to the end. She thrived on family functions and happily anticipated the next family gathering. At the time of her passing she was planning the next get together where she could see everyone again — a reprise of her 80th birthday celebration in Nantucket over the summer of 2008.

A natural musician, she loved to sing and play guitar — even treating one of her grandchildren to an electric guitar jam session. She often used her musical talents to entertain or to hum a tune to one of her restless infant grand or great-grandchildren — all learned from rearing her own 10 children. Joan was active in athletics, starting at a young age when her brother Bob showed her “how to throw like a boy.” She was a former basketball player, coach and umpire and loved to watch her children and grandchildren play sports.

Refreshingly, her brand of leadership was certainly not of the “go along to get along” variety. Agree or disagree, one always knew where Joan stood. Her belief that faith must be lived every day, not simply a Sunday obligation, drove her to vigorously debate current events, politics, collective and individual decisions that affect our daily lives and societal mores. While some see confrontation as something to be avoided, Joan was steadfast in her belief that if it was something worth discussing it was also something worth being passionate about; consequently, she thrived on conversation and debate.

A loving mother, she is survived by four sons, Francis X. (Pamela) Driscoll of Milford, CT, Robert P. (Cynthia) Driscoll of Hingham, MA, M. Leo (Nancy) Driscoll of Garden City, NY and Justin L. (Suzanne) Driscoll of Westport, CT; five daughters, Anne (Bruce) Danielson of South Bend, IN, Katherine (Peter) Jacullo of Ridgefield, CT, Celia (John) Fisher of Raleigh, NC, Mariclaire (James) Rourke of Oakton, VA and Megan (John) Kaste of Campbell Hall, NY; son-in-law Michael Driscoll-Kelly of Avon, CT; two sisters, Mary Degnan of Tarrytown, NY and Nancy (Eric) Waxman of Setauket, NY; a brother, Robert (Theresa) Degnan of Katonah, NY; and thirty-three grandchildren, three great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

Joan was predeceased by her daughter, Joan Driscoll-Kelly.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 10:15 AM in St. Mary Church, Ridgefield. The family will receive friends in the Kane Funeral Home, 25 Catoonah Street, Ridgefield on Monday, September 17, 2012 from 4 PM to 8 PM.

Contributions in Mrs. Driscoll's memory maybe made to Birthright of Danbury, 238 White St., Danbury, CT  06810.