Academic journal article South Dakota Law Review


Academic journal article South Dakota Law Review


Article excerpt


The Board of Editors for Volume 57 of the South Dakota Law Review is pleased to dedicate this volume to the memory of Robert E. "Mike" Driscoll, former Professor and Dean at the University of South Dakota School of Law. The below remarks were written by Dean Driscoll in July of 2010.

He was the only son of Robert and Elinor Driscoll, one time spouse of Rosalie (Cone), Jean (Young), Helen (Rosenberg), all of whom preceded him in death, and Sharon (Nelson). He was the father of Whitney Driscoll, Colleen Carroll, and Michael Driscoll. He also had eight grandchildren, Catie, Shiloh, Jack, Mary, Ev, and Will Carroll and Andrea and Ryan Driscoll. He shared his days with his last dog partner, Angel, and his special dog friend, Chi the Chihuahua.

Mike was a student, economist, lawyer, law teacher, art gallery operator, corporate director, and in retirement a private investor. A reserved, reclusive, and contemplative man neither social nor a joiner he had a mostly good and generous heart and loved his family and friends from many different walks of life who gained his trust and loyalty. He also loved and respected animals and all living things, especially dogs. He was usually gentle and kind. He was a spiritual and prayerful man. A recovered alcoholic, he had been sober through the grace of God and help of others for 35 years when he died and considered that and cessation of tobacco smoking and use the major personal accomplishments of his life. The cultivation of mind and spirit were central to his life. He read widely and loved books, spoken language, and poetry. For some inexplicable reason he constantly studied and read French, a language which he greatly enjoyed but never used. He sought and saw beauty in all his surroundings, collected art, traveled, enjoyed an endless fascination for trains and railroading once briefly owning his own lounge car, liked to grow vegetables, did downhill skiing from youth until he died striving for perfect style and grace in form, became a serious amateur photographer late in life, found endless fascination with technology and especially Apple computers and products, and studied medicine and issues of health and treatment of disease in all its aspects except surgery yet refused to consult doctors as he aged preferring holistic and natural methods of staying healthy. He was interested in anything and everything and, by his own admission, mastered nothing. He wrote well but produced little. His heroes were Augustine, Montaigne, and W. Churchill. He would die, he said, with far more questions than answers. (This was not surprising for he was one of the last law school practitioners of the Socratic method as his preferred teaching method.) He believed in rigorous honesty. He asked to be cremated and buried in a private graveside ceremony without comment.

JOHN J. DELANEY ([dagger])(a)

Although our families apparently knew of each other, it was not until I entered law school some 34 years ago that I met Professor Driscoll. As a non-traditional freshman, I shook his hand at the welcoming gathering as he made a polite inquiry about my family and asked ff Bill was my brother. I thought him intense. The following Monday, our class's introduction to law school was his 8:00 a.m. Torts class. At that very first class, I watched with fascination as a young woman, Helen Fremstad, who would become a close friend of mine and ultimately marry Professor Driscoll, sat dead-center in the front row, opened a hippie style duffle bag purse, pulled out an ashtray and lit a cigarette as Professor Driscoll made his opening remarks. He never batted an eye.

The following year, as Judge Viken, Helen and I became a Moot Court Team under his tutelage, Professor Driscoll and I began to develop a relationship both as student and professor and, more simply, as friends. In his courses I learned many of the skills essential to a trial practice. In our travels to Moot Court competitions and casual conversations I learned much of him and he of me. …

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