Joseph Donald “Don” Driskell, 86, of Williston, Florida, and long-time resident of Seminole, FL, passed away from Parkinson’s complications on November 9, 2022. Don was born on January 5, 1936, in Plant City to Thomas Eugene Driskell and Nettie Ruth Dempsey Driskell. His childhood consisted of “strawberry school” and helping his parents and siblings farm, often plowing behind a mule – they never had a tractor until he was a teenager – before graduating from Turkey Creek High School in 1951, where he played baseball and football. He then worked a variety of jobs – local farm laborer, sharecropper, carpenter, orange juice canning plant, citrus nursery grafter, migrant farm laborer in Michigan, IMC phosphate mine – and saved enough to attend Carson-Newman College (working as a kitchen custodian there) and major in history. He later attended the University of South Florida and earned his master’s degree.

He started as a teacher at Tyrone Jr. High in St. Petersburg in 1961, just prior to marrying Karen Rebecca Sweat on March 22, 1962, and except for a 2-year stint at Wilson Jr. HS in Chowchilla, CA, spent the rest of his career in Pinellas County Schools, working at Seminole Jr. High/Middle School, Palm Harbor MS, Clearwater Adult Evening School, and Madeira Beach MS before becoming the first International Baccalaureate administrator at St. Petersburg HS, retiring in 1996 – and then continuing with the Florida League of International Baccalaureate Schools until a 2nd retirement in 2014.

Don was not all work, however. Growing up, he attended both Primitive Baptist and Southern Baptist churches until age 12, when he was baptized in a “green-scum pond” in Dover, FL. He sang in a gospel quartet, led singing part-time, and served as pulpit supply in several churches in FL and TN. He also taught/led Sunday school, served as a deacon, and took on other church roles almost continuously from 1955 to 2019, with most of those years at the First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg.

Farming never left him, and his vegetable garden was just a small farm and could be depended on to provide a variety of fresh produce. Karen almost always included one or two of his home-grown vegetables in each meal. He also took pride in having several types of citrus trees until citrus canker/greening problems forced their removal. Later in life, he turned to tree farming and enjoyed seeing his pine trees grow from seedling to sawtimber.

Don also loved fishing, whether it was for snook under the Skyway, trout on the flats, or redfish in Waccasassa Bay. He eagerly awaited the annual trip to Lake Kissimmee for bass, speckled perch, and bream, where he would reminisce about trips to the same location in the ‘40’s and ‘50’s. An avid hunter in his youth, he once again took it up in retirement, especially if there was a good cigar and a cookout involved!

Don was married to Karen for over 60 years and their marriage served as a wonderful example of how two people that love each other can put their spouse’s needs before their own and build something beautiful. They truly were a team. When Karen’s infirmities required extra assistance, Don became the caretaker, giving up his hobbies so that she was taken care of, until his own disease progressed to the point where both needed help.

Don is survived by his son Greg (Martina) of Trenton, FL, daughter Laura Lowrimore (Steve) of Williston, FL, granddaughters Emily and Abigail Lowrimore, sisters Betty Smith, Linda Sweat, and Gwen Gibson, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his wife Karen, his parents, and his brothers, Tommy, Wayne, and Carl. His family would like to thank the caregivers who have helped him over the past year, especially Barbara, Susan, Ashley, Kimberly, and the staff at Haven Hospice.

He will be buried at Mt. Enon Cemetery in Plant City. A graveside service for both Don and Karen will be held at 11 AM on Saturday November 19. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg, the Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases (UF Health), or to Haven Hospice – Chiefland. Arrangements are under the care and direction of Knauff Funeral Home Williston.

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