Lt. Commander William E. “Bill” Cannon passed away October 29, 2011.
A memorial service will be held in the Parlor at Park Place Towers, 1300 S. Harrison Amarillo, TX at 2:00 P.M. on Friday November 4th with Jerry Bell officiating.
Bill was born on April 17, 1916 in Topeka, Kansas to W.H. and Euphonia Smart Cannon. When he was 6 months old his family moved to Salt Lake City Utah where his father was in the wholesale lumber business. Bill graduated from East High School and attended the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Bill loved to fly airplanes, and received his pilot’s license when he was in high school. Bill and some friends soon bought their own plane. Bill worked for a short time for Westinghouse before joining the U. S. Navy and attending flight school. Bill completed flight school and flew sea planes during World War 2. Bill married Shirley Prey in 1942. He reported for duty in Pearl Harbor 10 days after their marriage.
Bill was personally engaged in all of the major battles of the Pacific including Midway and Saipan as a sea plane pilot. He eventually reported to Corpus Christi Texas where he was the commander of the Sea Plane Training squadron. Their children, Genelyn and “Bo” Cannon were both born when Bill and Shirley were stationed in Corpus Christi. Bill served seven years active duty in the Navy, and was in the Navy Reserve for another seven years. While serving in the Navy He was awarded the Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Bill, Shirley, and their two children moved to Amarillo in 1947. He owned and operated two Shamrock Service Stations for several years before selling out to Diamond Shamrock and going to work for them where he became Sales Manager. Bill worked for Diamond Shamrock for many years before retiring.
Bill and Shirley joined Polk Street United Methodist Church where they were active in the 50-50 Sunday School Class for many years. Shirley passed away in 1994. Bill moved to California to be near his sister. He met and married Margo Gillman. After her death in 2003, Bill moved back to Amarillo and into Park Place Towers. Bill made many friends at Park Place. He loved his friends and the wonderful staff there. Bill spent the last few months of his life at the Ware Care Center, which he was thankful for, and appreciated very much.
Bill loved to travel, including numerous cruises. He was an avid and talented golfer, once scoring a documented hole in one at the Amarillo Country Club. His family laughs about him only displaying his first place trophies.
When Bill returned to Amarillo from California, he went to The Polk Street United Methodist Church and joined the church the first Sunday he was back. Before he moved to Ware Care Center, he had been enjoying Barry Petersons Sunday School Class in the Parlor at Park Place.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, his wives Shirley and Margo, and his sister Maxine. His daughter Genelyn Ray passed away in October of 2006, and seven months later his son “Bo” Cannon passed away in May of 2007.
Bill is survived by five grandchildren, Jeff Ray of Denver, David Ray and wife Quinn and their son Rylan, twin grandsons Billy and Matt Cannon of Plano, granddaughter Elizabeth Powers and husband Will Powers of North Carolina. Bill is also survived by a niece, Pat Garland and her husband, and a nephew, Dr. Bill Burns and wife of California, Kathy Cannon (Bo’s widow) son-in-law Sam Ray and wife Sandy of Plano, and Special friend and sweetheart, Tiny Sturdevant of Park Place Towers.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests memorials to Hope Fund at Baptist Community Services.