In February 1918 as the “Great War” was slowly approaching an end; Knoxville was known as “The Marble City” as there was a boom of quarrying and production of the crystalline limestone that was found in abundance around the area. With that boom came the railroad and construction that brought a large number of Irish-Catholic immigrants to Knoxville. In that year Bernard and Nell (Brennan) Driscoll gave birth to Brother Roland (John) Driscoll.
Brother Roland attended St. Mary’s Elementary School and then went on to Knoxville catholic High school from 1933-1936. His former parish priest convinced Roland to enter the Congregation and Driscoll traveled to Watertown, WI to enter Sacred Heart Junoriate where he completed his senior year of high school in June of 1937.He earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Notre Dame.
During his lifetime, Brother Roland was a teacher, a principal, athletic director and in 1980 undertook family ministry, moving from Indianapolis to right here in Knoxville, Tn. By doing this it allowed him to care for his aging mother and he remained here to help with other family members and was also very active in a local parish for 26 years.
He moved into the family home in Gatlinburg, TN near his beloved Smoky Mountains. He was ever a “Southern Gentleman” with a courteous and inquiring mind and a strong stimulating conversationalist. Living for 98 years, He shared some memorable moments. When asked about his life as a Brother he said “I have been happy. It’s been a wonderful life, I have had wonderful companions.” He was a rabid University of Tennessee fan and proudly wore his orange jersey especially for the “Lady Vols” and its coach Pat Summitt.
In 2012 Roland moved to Notre Dame, IN to take up residence at the Dujarie House. He took up a station daily at the front door where he sat in a chair and greeted anyone who came to the door. He was “Dujarie’s Unofficial Concierge”. He took no medicine in his final years, not even aspirin. He was a healthy man to the final weeks.
Brother Roland Driscoll passed away October 28, 2016, at the age of 98. Now, the Southern gentleman is gone to his much-deserved rest. Godspeed Brother Roland.