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Col.(Ret.) John Casper Dodt Drolla, Jr

Obituary for Col.(Ret.) John Casper Dodt Drolla, Jr

September 29, 1940 - May 20, 2019
Austin, Texas | Age 78


Col. (Ret.) John Casper Dodt Drolla, Jr. was born on September 29, 1940, in New Orleans, Louisiana, to Florence Bauerfeind and John C. D. Drolla Sr. and passed away on May 20, 2019, in his beloved city of Austin, Texas. He was preceded in death by his parents, step-fathers W.E. Schley and Kenneth Dempsey and his sister Cathy Anne Drolla.

After graduating from R.L. Paschal High School in 1958 in Fort Worth, Texas, where he enjoyed playing baseball, he matriculated at Tarleton State College in Stephenville where he earned his Associate's degree in Science. He transferred to the University of Texas at Austin and began his military career in the Army R.O.T.C. He enrolled at the UT School of Law after earning his B.A.

While attending law school, he was called to active duty in January of 1964. He served his country from 1964 through 1970 in the United States Army, serving two tours in Vietnam, the first in country and the second at headquarters in Saigon, where he was awarded a silver star and a bronze star for his actions during the TET offensive. Upon his return from his second tour, he enjoyed competing in track and field internationally and playing football for the Army All-Star team in 1969. During this time he was stationed at Fort Knox and Fort Sam Houston. After retiring from active duty in the Army, he continued to serve with the Texas Army National Guard and retired from service in 1993. He continued to honor others who served by holding a seat on the Texas Military Forces Museum Foundation Board from 1996 until 2008. He actively supported the museum and visited even when he became wheelchair bound.

After his time on active duty John chose to return to UT Law School. His Army football experience served him well as a member of the Legal Eagles flag football team for which he was elected Team Captain in 1971. He continued his association with the Legal Eagles alumnae and always returned for the annual members vs. alumnae game to participate and later to watch. Following his graduation from law school at the University of Texas in May, 1972, John passed the Texas Bar Examination and served as the briefing attorney at the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for Judge Leon Douglas, who he said was "one of the finest and most intelligent people I have ever known". He continued with his enthusiasm for the law throughout his life as a practicing attorney and serving on the Standing Committee on Continuing Legal Education teaching numerous courses for the State Bar of Texas. In 2006 he was named a Fellow of the College of the State Bar of Texas for his service.

John was a devoted Longhorn fan his entire adult life. After earning his letter as part of Clyde Littlefield's last UT team, the 1961 SWC Championship Track and Field Team, John continued to support UT Athletics as a baseball season ticket holder and 50-year member of the University of Texas Track and Field Officials Association, serving as one of the first Presidents. In addition to serving as the director of the heptathlon/decathlon, John was a starter at the Texas Relays for over 40 years, 10 of which were with his daughter Jennifer, only the 2nd father and daughter to serve together as starters in the history of the Relays. He was honored by the UTTAFOA both as an honorary referee and for his distinguished service of over 50 years and proudly displayed his Longhorn awards. Additionally, countless afternoons were spent in the rows behind home plate at Disch-Falk field watching Texas baseball. As his mobility became more limited, John could be found mesmerized by the Longhorn channel watching football, baseball, track or any competition as long as he could cheer for burnt orange.

USA Track and Field also held a special significance for John as he served as a starter at numerous national and international level meets, including the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and the NCAA outdoor National Championships. In 2011 he was inducted into the USATF Officials Hall of Fame, an honor which he proudly accepted with his daughter and sister in attendance at the ceremony in St. Louis.

John joined the Board of the 100 Club of Central Texas in 1988 after co-founder Dr. James Moritz, requested his service. John was a life member and served as a board member for 31 years. While an active board member, John took his responsibilities seriously as the legal compass for the Club. He ensured meetings were run correctly and that all information was presented prior to making decisions. He devoted countless hours in preparation for and attending meetings. John was instrumental in getting approval for and raising funds to help build the Texas Peace Officers' Memorial, an outdoor monument on the Capitol grounds honoring peace officers who died in the line of duty. He was part of the Club's expansion to serve all first responders including two jurisdiction expansions. When necessary, John also helped to set up trust funds for the children of fallen first responders. A force to be reckoned with, John was steadfast and tenacious. When he was no longer able to drive, he secured rides to the meetings and major club events and his absences were only due to his illness. In August of 2016 he became an Emeritus member as he continued to support the Club's mission to serve Central Texas first responders despite his declining health.

John was honored to have been appointed as a Judge on the US Court of Military Appeals as the only non JAG officer ever so appointed. In September of 2018, John was selected by Honor Flight Austin to visit Washington D.C., with other veterans to tour the war memorials built in their honor. These were his last two military honors and a tribute to his life of service.

The family wishes to extend their thanks to Deborah and her caregivers from Texas Home Care Partners, especially caregivers Nieck, Sophia, Cholita, Steven and Gabe as well as everyone at Brookdale Northwest and Hospice Austin staff for helping him enjoy every moment as much as possible. Special thanks to Patsy, Brian, Gene, Greg and Claude who have been devoted friends for decades and ensured his life was enriched as much as possible during his final years.

He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law Jennifer and Jonathan Delmer of San Antonio, brother Christopher Lanus Drolla of Hammond, Louisiana and cousin F. Joseph Drolla, Jr. and wife Terry of New Orleans, Louisiana.

A Memorial Service will be held at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, 3201 Windsor Road, Austin, Texas, on Tuesday, June 4th at 11:00 a.m. Honorary pallbearers are James Barr, Jose Becerra, Greg Cervenka, Claude Ducloux, Dave Dunbar, John Patterson, Raymond Pierre, Owen G. Reischman, Brian Rider, F. Shelby Sharpe, and Randy Yarbrough. Interment will be on a later date at Arlington National Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to the 100 Club of Central Texas, 3200 Steck Ave, Suite 240, Austin, Texas 78757, or The Texas Military Forces Historical Foundation, Attention: Brooke Adams P.O. Box 5218 Austin Texas 78763, or to a charity of your choice.

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • the 100 Club of Central Texas, 3200 Steck Ave, Suite 240, Austin, Texas 78757, or The Texas Military Forces Historical Foundation, Attention: Brooke Adams P.O. Box 5218 Austin Texas 78763, or to a cha

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Porter Loring Mortuary

1101 McCullough Avenue
San Antonio, TX 78212
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