Neil Driscoll, 73, passed away peacefully on Tuesday at home with his family. Born in Staten Island, he and his wife Corinne moved to Syracuse in 1973 with the intention to stay for only a few years, yet made Central New York their home. He received his Bachelor's degree from St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, NY, followed by a Master's degree in Education from Fordham University.
Storytelling was his craft, first put to use as a reporter with the Staten Island Advance, covering police, fire and organized crime. After moving to Syracuse, he worked at the Herald-Journal for 13 years, where he covered a variety of issues, most notably local politics, both as a reporter and as a regular columnist.
He found a great love of public service, and fodder for even more notable stories, when in 1985 he joined Mayor Tom Young's administration, serving as City Hall's Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for 8 years. In this role, he took particular pride in crafting legislation that established Syracuse as one of the first cities in the nation to ban discrimination against members of the LGBT community. He spent the remainder of his career with the Syracuse City School District as the Director of Communications, retiring in 2009.
A devout, albeit somewhat rebellious Catholic, Neil found his true spiritual home at St. Lucy's Church where he volunteered his time and considered it a privilege to witness acts of compassion, forgiveness and inclusivity demonstrated every single day. He cherished being a part of the St. Lucy's community, where all are welcome.
Above all, Neil's greatest love was his family. He always looked forward to having the whole family together, especially for an annual vacation to Holden Beach, NC, a tradition held for nearly 20 years. He was known to hold court at Sunday dinners, captivating family and friends with his stories that never failed to incorporate his ever-present sense of humor. He would frequently remind his family of their core values of love, forgiveness and laughter with his rallying cry "Because we are…the Driscolls".
Surviving are his wife of 43 years, Corinne, his children Neil (Kathi) Driscoll of Queens, NY, Joseph (Joyce) Driscoll, Corey (Christopher) Dunham and Tracy (James) DiGenova, all of Syracuse, and his granddaughter Betty Anne Driscoll.
Friends are invited to share in the stories and laughter with calling hours, Sunday June 25, from 1pm to 3pm, and 5pm to 7pm, at Burns Garfield Funeral Home, 3175 East Genesee Street, Syracuse. A Memorial Service celebrating his life will be held at 10am Monday, June 26, at St. Lucy's Church. A burial at St. Mary's Cemetery and reception will follow.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to the nurses and staff of both Hospice of CNY and Hematology Oncology Associates, especially Dr. Santo DiFino.
Donations in remembrance of Neil may be made to St. Lucy's Church, 432 Gifford Street, Syracuse, NY 13204, Heifer International (www.heifer.org) or Hospice of CNY (www.hospicecny.org)