Pat Gustke Sustainer of the Year Award

Pat Gustke Sustainer of the Year award honors JLSJ Sustainers embodying League’s motto, “Women building better communities,” for their dedication to volunteer work and inspiring role models.


Congratulations to the 2022-2023 Pat Gustke Sustainer of the Year Award Winners!

Maureen Meehan Deal

Women Building Better Communities is the League’s motto, and Maureen Deal exemplifies it as a Sustainer. One of her Active Member service highlights was co-chairing the Next Door initiative for two years, during which time the committee’s efforts were honored with an AJLI award. She worked full-time and performed various Sustainer duties. Shortly after she retired, she and her husband relocated to Lincoln, California, where she is still making a difference.

Maureen’s educational background, according to Joanne Johnson Felt, “has made her acutely aware and empathetic with youth who may not fit the cookie-cutter mold and often feel left out or excluded in the traditional classroom.” Maureen asked the Principal of Phoenix High School, the local continuation school, whether there were any volunteer possibilities when she moved to her new town more than ten years ago. She started as a math tutor but quickly started a tutoring program as a trained Junior League volunteer, enlisting additional volunteers and planning their schedules to ensure the best possible student support. She engaged the neighborhood and started mentoring other retirees so that Phoenix teachers in various subject areas could access professional coaching. Many of these children have specifically mentioned their sense of success from their time with a tutor, and the instructors and counselors have seen the difference one person can make when they spend time with one student once a week.

Maureen noticed something else as she worked with students and fellow tutors at Phoenix.

Many students come from disadvantaged living situations, often impacting their learning ability. Displaying her enthusiastic spirit, she became one of the founders of The Phoenix Angels, which raises funds for supplies at the school. Through their efforts, the school expanded its arts program, a source of inspiration and motivation for the students. Maureen has helped build the program to provide gift cards for needed groceries, gas, general living expenses, and clothing. During the Christmas Holidays, she leads a team that purchases and wraps gifts for families the school has identified needing extra help. In addition, she implemented a scholarship from The Angels for graduating students. 

A high school senior who faced many challenges wrote a note expressing his gratitude for the school, staff, students, and especially The Phoenix Angels. They were “the biggest uplift for me;”  they “have helped me and shown me that there are good people in the world.” The Principal recognizes Maureen and writes her “dedication, compassion, and leadership have been an inspiration to everyone at Phoenix High School.”

In addition, Maureen volunteers weekly at Petal Connection in Roseville, California, where she creates colorful bedside bouquets for hospice patients and seniors in the community.


Kristie Driscoll

Kristie Driscoll joined the Junior League of San Jose in 1992 and served until her sudden passing in August 2022. For those who knew Kristie, her JLSJ years, whether as an Active or Sustainer, were always filled with passion, energy, and a creative spirit. She was a daughter, a wife, an aunt, a grandmother, a friend, and a mother to her pride and joys- her three daughters.
Kristie was a champion at supporting the Junior League as an Active Member and a Sustainer, working tirelessly for the many committees and roles where she was placed. She served JLSJ in numerous capacities and leadership roles, including support of The Georgia Travis Center, the JLSJ 50th Anniversary event, chair of several Sustainer holiday events, and passionate volunteer for the inaugural Derby Event in 2018.
Kristie also served in senior leadership roles with placements on the JLSJ BOD from 1999-2001 and continued as a Sustaining Advisor to the BOD from 2004 – 2005. However, she was best known for modeling involvement through the Junior League of San Jose or other organizations and schools, including Bellarmine College Prep, Sacred Heart, Saint Andrews, Saint Mary’s School, and the Harker School.   She loved to model and help guide others involved with the preparations needed for the countless fashion shows she was involved with. This led to several leadership roles within the modeling world, including co-chairing the 2002 Junior League Fashion Show. In 2016, she co-chaired women’s modeling and assisted in producing the League’s final fashion show. Like many Junior League Members, Kristie utilized skills obtained through various roles and development opportunities, including attendance at the Organizational Development Institute conference (ODI).   The training, confidence, and tools she gained through the Junior League propelled Kristie within and outside the League. She was a volunteer with the O’Connor Hospital Guild when her daughters were born, then quickly turned her attention to the San Jose Ballet and the Los Gatos Ballet Guild, where she volunteered for almost 30 years.
Kristie’s daughters were the light of her life, and she worked tirelessly and passionately at fundraising events for their schools, St. Mary’s School in Los Gatos and St. Francis High School in Mountain View. Kristie’s daughters participated outside the school in the National Charity League (NCL). This organization brings mothers and daughters together for community service, leadership development, cultural experiences, and to help mentor young women. Kristie chaired many NCL Heritage Oaks events without hesitation, making her mark in leadership roles or through hosting community outreach efforts. In 2019, Kristie accepted the invitation to join Summit League. Summit League is a women’s organization committed to fostering member education, enrichment, and, as a group, financially supporting community needs in education, health, welfare, and the arts in Santa Clara Valley. With the same enthusiasm and dedication Kristie had demonstrated in the Junior League and other parts of the community, Kristie directed that energy to support the Summit League. Despite only being a member for four years, Kristie twice served on the Summit League Board of Directors as Recording Secretary and Corresponding Secretary. Kristie’s energy at meetings was infectious. Her sincerity and graciousness quickly made her a cherished member. Whatever Kristie undertook in Summit League, she did with creativity and the leadership skills she had learned in the Junior League. Kristie’s passion for life was infectious for all those who knew her. She brought people together through her leadership and mentorship of others. She exuded compassion and kindness and always gave 100%. As a role model within the community, she had vivacious energy and brought life to any event she touched. Kristie will be missed, but the impact of her work at JLSJ and in the community leaves behind a legacy that will last forever.