INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — James Driscoll, a former Air Force colonel who in retirement became a familiar face in the beach community he called home and served two terms as its mayor, died Wednesday following a battle with melanoma. He was 91.
Driscoll became active in public life shortly after settling in Pinellas County in the 1970s. He served two terms on the Redington Shores Board of Commissioners from 1978 to 1982. After a move to Indian Rocks Beach, he was elected mayor in 1990 and was re-elected two years later.
He continued to stay active in the community following his mayorship, most recently serving as a volunteer on the Friends of the Indian Rocks Beach Library organization.
Current Mayor R.B. Johnson recalled Driscoll's strong advocacy for reading and support for efforts to expand the library.
"He was just one of the pillars of the community," Johnson said. "He was continuously dedicating himself in one form or another to public service."
Born April 27, 1921, in Cambridge, Mass., Driscoll had a long career in the military before his retirement in 1974.
He joined the Massachusetts National Guard in 1938 and extended to the U.S. Marine Corps in 1940 before being commissioned as a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1942.
He served in the Pacific Theater in World War II and flew jet fighters during the Korean War, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross and numerous other awards and medals.