Remembering my cousin Mike Cannon: Air Force Academy graduate, drummer, engineer, blacksmith, volunteer firefighter, EMT, university dean, and one of the finest people I have ever known. I miss him.
Michael (Mike) Phillip Cannon, age 63, of Union, died February 26, 2012 of natural causes at his home. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 3, 2012 at the Union Fire Station at 1:00 p.m. Those who wish may make contributions in his memory to the Doernbecker Hospital in care of Daniels~Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center, 1502 7th Street in La Grande.
Michael was born on October 6, 1948, the son of Edward and Dorothy (Cameron) Cannon in Rochester, Olmsted, Minnesota. Mike graduated from high school in Chicago and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the Air Force Academy in Denver, Colorado. Following his honorable discharge Mike traveled and held various jobs which included small engine repair. Mike eventually settled in Weiser, Idaho for a time, where he served as the Director of Emergency Service for the County Health Department in Vale, Oregon. He then moved to Salem where he taught ParaMedicine at Chemeketa Community College while working as a Paramedic. In 1995 he married Sandra Morse in Salem. They moved to La Grande in 1998 where he worked at Eastern Oregon University in the Distance Education program until his retirement in April of 2011.
Beside his deep passion for his wife and life partner Sandy, Michael enjoyed forging (artistic welding and ironwork), woodworking, traveling on his Harley Davidson motorcycle, camping, and restoring classic cars. Mikes many talents also included being a musician having played drums both during and after his time in the Airforce with the band "31st Street Exit". Above all Mike loved spending time with his family which included his beloved boxer Briar.
Mike is survived by his wife of 17 years, Sandra Cannon of Union; two step-daughters and their husbands, Sandra Jo and Daniel Johnson of Union and Coral and Josh Fine of Reno, Nevada; a sister Lila and her husband David Tresemer of Australia and Boulder, Colorado; three grandchildren, Morgan and Hailey Johnson and Josephine Fine; nieces, Balina and Noel Cannon; nephew Gabriel Cannon; and numerous other relatives and friends. Mike was preceded in death by his father Edward Elija; his sister, Kay Cannon; brother, Stephen Cannon, mother Dorothy Harriet Bade and step-father, John Bade; and his nephew Xavier.
Mike in the center
It breaks my heart to announce that my beloved cousin Mike Cannon died of a heart attack on Sunday, February 26, in Union, Oregon. His wife found him sitting peacefully in his favorite chair by the fire, with a book in his lap.
Mike was older by 55 days, and our first pictures together show us in diapers on my grandmother's Chicago sofa in December 1948. He was, of course, the bigger and stronger one, and so he remained through the rest of our lives. We shared childhood birthday parties and family holiday dinners, and when we connected at Empehi after attending different grade schools, always maintained an easy friendship.
Mike graduated from the Air Force Academy with a degree in civil engineering and went on to be an Air Force officer, a drummer, a blacksmith, a volunteer firefighter, a paramedic, a pioneer in distance education and, finally, a dean at Eastern Oregon University with a doctorate in education. He was never in a rut. He rode Harleys and renovated cars, and retired to his forge from his last official career nearly a year ago, after quoting the Grateful Dead in an email to me: “Sometimes your cards ain’t worth a dime if you don’t lay ‘em down.”
An Air Force friend who saw him at Christmas described him as "his typical tall, handsome, broad shouldered, burly self" and that's how he was when I last saw him in October 2010. I spoke with him just two weeks ago and can still hear his voice, though I fear it will fade with time.
Mike is survived by his wife Sandy, his sister Lila Sophia, two stepdaughters and a daughter.
I loved him fiercely, and his passing tears a hole in my heart.
Taffy Cannon, June 1966