Editor's Note: This story was originally published on Oct. 4, 2017. 

Friends and family mourning the loss of longtime East Grand Forks farmer Greg Driscoll say he was the man who always stepped up first to help others.

“Greg was just an outstanding individual. He was a great neighbor. If anybody was in trouble, he’d be the first one to help out,” friend and fellow farmer David Thompson said. “He was always smiling and happy. He loved life, and it’s going to be a great loss not only for family and friends, but for the whole farming community.”

A day after Driscoll was killed in an early morning crash Tuesday, that farming community already was digging in to help harvest Driscoll’s sugar beets.

“In the ag world, he would drop everything and do anything for you,” Donavan Wald said. “He would get things done and go out of his way to make sure everything was there for you. We lost a good friend, a very good friend.”

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John Thorson, said he’s been a friend of Driscoll’s for about 45 years.

“We were all pretty close,” he said. “Just by being able to do something makes us feel better, too.”

Driscoll, 59, was killed about 5 a.m. Tuesday in a crash at the intersection of U.S. Highways 2 and 75 near Crookston. He was enroute from his home on Maple Lake near Mentor, Minn., to his farm outside East Grand Forks when the crash occurred.

Driscoll partnered with Mike O’Leary in Driscoll-O’Leary Farms, an East Grand Forks operation that grows sugar beets, wheat and dry edible beans. O’Leary, who works the night shift on the farm, was unavailable for comment before press time.

Help with harvest

 

“It’s a very sad situation. I don’t know what else to say about it,” said Duane Maatz, executive director of the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association. “Anytime we have the loss of a farmer, particularly during harvest, it’s a very challenging time. It’s very sad.”

The sugar beet harvest is just cranking up, and at least half of the region’s beets are still in the ground, Thorson said.

He operates Thorson Farming with sons Chad and Jason. They, along with Wald Farms, said they will help O’Leary with whatever needs to be done.

Driscoll’s wife, Barb Driscoll, said Wednesday she was overwhelmed by the kindness and outpouring of support from others.

If you were a friend of Driscoll’s, you were a friend for life, she said.

“He was the kind of guy you could run into five years later and start up a conversation and he’d remember everything about you and your family,” she said. “Greg was so supportive of other people when they were in need or felt isolated. He would be the one to keep in touch.”

Driscoll is survived by his wife, Barb, Maple Lake and East Grand Forks; daughter, Amy Driscoll, East Grand Forks; stepdaughters, Nicole Cormican, Austin, Texas; and Karri Kiyuna, San Francisco; father Keith Driscoll, East Grand Forks; sisters Linda Mahoney, Mesa, Ariz.; Dianne Phaneuf, Bend, Ore.; Rebecca Driscoll, Minneapolis; Nancy Green, Greenfield, Wis.; Margi Zavoral, East Grand Forks; and brothers Jeff Driscoll, Tucson, Ariz.; and Donovan Driscoll, Moorpark, Calif.

Visitation will be from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, with a 7:30 p.m. prayer service, in Sacred Heart Catholic Church in East Grand Forks. Visitation will continue an hour before the 10 a.m. funeral service in the church Saturday. Dahl Funeral Home in East Grand Forks is in charge of arrangements.