Central Baldwin mourns loss of young community leader


ROSINTON — The Central Baldwin Community is mourning the loss of a lifelong resident known as a passionate community leader, particularly for his church and the education of the community’s youth.

The family of Joseph Emory “Joe” Driver, who died Saturday, Sept. 25 at age 38, described him as a “loving husband and incredible father who left his mark on so many.”

“Joe had the incredible ability to bring the best out of anyone he met and would always expect the best out of those who were around him. Joe was forever known for his infectious personality as he never met a stranger and truly lit up every room he walked into. There aren’t enough words to describe the heartache our family feels without Joe in our life. He loved deep and was counted on in many ways,” the family said in a statement released in Driver’s obituary notice from Mack Funeral Home.

A graduate of Robertsdale High School, Driver received a scholarship to William Carey College where he received an accounting degree and worked for many years in the public accounting industry before taking over as chief financial officer for the City of Robertsdale June 28.

“He will certainly be missed,” said Mayor Charles Murphy. “In the short time he was here, he did an excellent job for us and was certainly going to be a valuable member of our team moving forward.”

The father of three young children with his wife Tiffany: Brooks, Trent and Teagan; Driver was an active member of the Rosinton and Central Baldwin communities, served on the board, most recently as treasurer, of the Central Baldwin Education Foundation, RHS booster clubs, and was an active supporter and coach in youth sports in the community.

“He was such a huge part of our community and will definitely be missed,” said Rosinton School Principal Andy Benton. “He was a coach, an awesome father and a great husband. He just knew everything that was going on in this community and he was the first person you would call if you needed to get something started.”

Benton called Driver a go-to person and was slated to be Rosinton’s representative on the nine-member Central Baldwin Tax Committee.

“I don’t think the tax would have passed without him, so that is one legacy he will leave, but there are so many others,” Benton said. “I already miss having him here. I just miss having someone to call and talk to about things.”

Robertsdale High School Principal Joe Sharp described Driver as “caring, inspiring, compassionate and a hard worker.”

“He enjoyed volunteering by coaching baseball, working to improve our schools and community,” Sharp said of his former student. “You could always find him at a ball park cheering on his children, his extended family and the Bears. He loved his family and his community.

“… We should all follow the example set by Joe Driver by investing in our community. We have lost a great man.”

Loxley businessman, fellow RHS graduate and member of the Central Baldwin Education Foundation Chris Kerby also said he felt the 3-mil tax for Central Baldwin Schools would not have passed without Driver’s support.

“He was a man of integrity and he inspired us all as someone who grew up here, stayed here in this community and fought hard for the future of this community,” Kerby said. “He was always a strong advocate for the community, particularly in providing education for our children. He really fought to improve education and make a better future for our kids. He was very passionate about everything he did.”

CBEF President Katina Hubbard said Driver joined the Foundation two years ago and jumped right in as treasurer.

“He had a heart of gold,” she said. “I could count on him to help me with anything that came up. He will be greatly missed.”

Driver was also a leader in his church, Rosinton United Methodist Church, serving on several committees and chairing many, said church pastor the Rev. Chad Johnson.

“He was always willing to serve his community and was always looking for ways to help serve,” Johnson said. “He was just one of those special people that everybody could turn to when something needed to be done.”

Driver was preceded in death by his mother, Barbara Boyington Driver. Along with his wife and three young children, he is survived by his father, Charles William Driver;  sister Holly (Jamie) Allen; two brothers, William (Karri) and Sam (Beth); as well as many other family members including many nephews and nieces. He is also survived by many members of the Ellison family, who welcomed him into their family as their own.
Visitation was held Friday, Oct. 1 at Mack Funeral Home in Robertsdale. Services were held Oct. 2 at Rosinton United Methodist Church with graveside services immediately following at Rosinton Cemetery.

The family requests donations be made to benefit their children. Contributions can be made to Rosinton United Methodist Church, 26011 Baldwin Beach Expressway, Robertsdale, AL 36567.