Born May 18, 1937, in Buffalo, NY, he was the eldest child of the late Raymond Theodore Cannon and Marian Laura Cannon Hodges (née Braman). David served in the United States Navy aboard the USS Valley Forge right after high school. He went on to college and graduated with his bachelor’s degree from Springfield College in 1961. Having received a calling to serve God and others, he furthered his education and graduated and received his master’s degree from Berkley Divinity School at Yale in 1964. In 1970, he completed his Certificate in Education, Guidance, and Counseling at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. Following Divinity School, he was ordained Deacon on June 11, 1964, by The Right Reverend Walter Gray, and Priest on Dec. 19, 1964, by The Right Reverend J. Warren Hutchens.
On Dec. 28, 1957, in Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Enfield, he was united in marriage to Ann-etta (née Newmarker). From that day on, they served the public, specifically the Town of Preston, as well as the broad educational community their entire lives.
Father Cannon will be remembered by so very many people whose lives were touched by his life-long work. He served as Vicar at St. James Episcopal Church in Poquetanuck for nearly fifty years. Weddings and baptisms brought him such joy. Funerals, although always hard on him, were where he shined. He always knew what to say and when to say it and brought such comfort to the people he loved as family.
Anyone who knew Father Cannon knew his passion for equal education for all. He was a champion for those who may not otherwise have educational opportunities available to them. One of his great sources of pride was his work on the State of Connecticut Board of Trustees of Regional Community Colleges. He took on everyone and anyone who tried to thwart the availability of education for all. Community College graduations were not a duty for he and his wife. He said, it was a privilege to be in the presence of each and every graduate.
Ecumenicalism was very important to Father Cannon. He was instrumental in ecumenical relationships between The Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich and served on the Ecumenical Commission and also as the United States Delegate at the Anglican- Roman Catholic Conference in Rome. The highlight of that work in Rome for him was meeting Pope John Paul II.
He was a member, and later a Paul Harris Fellow, with the Norwich Rotary Club. He served on the Board of Directors for New London County ARC, Martin House, Madonna Place, American Cancer Society, Norwich Area Voluntary Action Center, and William W. Backus Hospital. A “proud Irisher” he was a member of the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick. He served as a faithful Chaplain to the Poquetanuck Volunteer Fire Department, Norwich State Hospital, and New London Detectives Association. During his life in Preston, he was a member of the Preston Historical Society, Planning and Zoning Commission, Board of Finance, Commission on the Aging, and Clergy Association.
He is survived by his sister Marcia and husband Bob of Columbia, SC; his brother Raymond and wife Lynn of Concord, NC; daughter Ruth Friess, her husband Timothy, and son Samuel of Gales Ferry; daughter-in-law Jolea Cannon of Norwich; “adopted sons” Reverend Ron Kolanowski (Art) and Cliff Marks (Ray); grandchildren, Sarah and David Cannon, Megan and Molly Cannon, Stephen and Sydney Phelps; great-granddaughter Lillian Cannon; six nieces and nephews Jennifer, Heather, Susan, Krista, Shane, and Dustin; and very close family friend and caregiver Norma Courville.
He had survived many losses in his life but has endured due to his faith and optimism. He was predeceased by his parents; his wife Ann-etta Cannon; and his sons, David Lawrence and Andrew Robert Cannon.
Words allude the family in trying to show our appreciation for each and every staff member of Fairview. We fear we may leave someone out and know it would be impossible to name every person. But know that we will forever be grateful for the dignified and loving care you gave our Dad. You treated him and all his family as if we were your family. Every kind gesture or word was noticed and will be remembered. You are doing the work of angels and our appreciation runs deep.
If family and friends choose to honor his legacy of being a life-long and constant supporter of education, memorial contributions can be made to Fairview, 235 Lestertown Road, Groton, Connecticut 06340. Please indicate “In memory of Father David L. Cannon” . Memorial gifts will be used for scholarships for Fairview employees and their families to further their education and to show our huge gratitude for the compassionate care Fairview gave us.
The family will receive family and friends for a memorial visitation from 4 to 8 pm Wednesday, March 30, at St. James Episcopal Church, Route 2A, Preston. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 am Saturday, April 23, at St. James Episcopal Church.
Published by The Day on Mar. 25, 2022.