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Billy Ray Driskell

1929 - 2023


 Billy Ray Driskell died peacefully on Wednesday morning, May 10, 2023.  Bill was born on November 15, 1929, the son of Henry Roosevelt Driskell and Pauline Lively Driskell of Gadsden, Alabama.  He was a talented athlete playing football and baseball at Athens State College and Bethel University in McKenzie, Tenn., where he graduated and met the “love of his life” Joyce Ridley Driskell.

Bill was a high school teacher and football coach at Darling High School (MS), J. B. Pennington, Courtland, West Morgan, Stevenson and West Limestone High Schools, where the values and life lessons he instilled in students and players made a lifelong impact. Respect, love and admiration are evident from former students – most especially the J B Pennington Class of ’57.  To quote one of his students, “Any successes I’ve had in life can be traced back to values learned from PHS and My Coach – Your Dad.” He will always be remembered for his clever, quick wit, and his fondness of teasing, but it was his quiet displays of grace, wisdom, patience and love that will forever be cherished.  His faith sustained him.

Bill is survived by his wife of 71 years and 11 months, Joyce Ridley Driskell, five children, Debra (Gary) Noblitt, Pat (Karen) Driskell, Denise Rizzo, Chris Driskell and William (Melissa) Driskell, ten grandchildren, Julie (Wade) Paterson, Bryan Bean, Audra Willyerd, Josh Driskell, Jon (Annie) Driskell, Christine (Alex Pate) Driskell, Tyler (Megan) Rizzo, Bryan Rizzo, McKenzie (Gunnar Grabb) Driskell and Emily Driskell and twelve great-grandchildren.  He is also survived by his sisters, Betty Mitchell, Rebecca Hilleke, Joyce Debtor and brother, Rob Driskell and several nieces and nephews.  In addition to his parents, Bill was predeceased by his sisters, Shirley Driskell Slate and Paula Driskell and son-in-law, Rick Rizzo.

Visitation will be held at Spry Funeral Home, Athens, Alabama on Friday, May 12 at 3 p.m. followed by a Celebration of Life at 4:30 p.m..  Pallbearers will be Josh Driskell, Christine Driskell, Tyler Rizzo, Bryan Rizzo, Julie Paterson, Bryan Bean, Audra Willyerd, McKenzie Driskell, and Emily Driskell.  

In lieu of flowers, please make a memorial donation to Hospice of Limestone County, 405 S Marion Street, Athens, AL 35611, Bethel University, 325 Cherry Avenue, McKenzie, TN 38201 or to your favorite charity.

Spry Funeral Home.