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Jamie Cannon, A Life Well Lived

My friend, Jamie Cannon, passed away on Monday. He was a WWII veteran, husband, father, brother, architect, volunteer, friend and all around exceptional human being.

Visitation is Friday and the funeral for Jamie Cannon is Saturday. He was a WWII veteran, husband, father, brother, architect, volunteer, friend and all around exceptional human being.

On October 15th, Town & Country, St. Louis and the world lost Jamie Cannon, a kind, gentle soul. Jamie was a WWII veteran, accomplished architect, brother to Sally, William and the late Mary Helen, loving father and grandfather, devoted husband to his bride of 52 years, Mary Jo, and a brilliant, shining light to all who knew him. 

I met Jamie many years ago through my volunteering at Longview Farm Park.  Jamie and Mary Jo were lucky indeed- their contemporary house was right across the street from the park.  Mary Jo would walk out her front door, cross the street, and get some exercise walking the trail.  When Jamie was feeling well, he would join her.  I remember that he didn’t like it all that much; I think that Mary Jo told him walking was a good thing and he would indulge her- he just adored his Mary Jo.

Jamie was a big personality crammed into a small body.  You always knew how he felt about you- his smile broadened and his eyes danced brightly behind his tortoise-shell glasses. 

He volunteered his time to projects he felt passionate about.  He was a religious, spiritual soul, devoted to his church, Parkway United Church of Christ. 

He graduated from Washington University’s School of Architecture in 1960 and was an active alumna, receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award from the school of architecture in 2003.  He was a proud member of the Landmarks Association, serving 5 terms as its President.   He also served as President of the American Institute of Architecture (AIA) St. Louis, inducted as a fellow in 1998. 

Additionally, he served on many Boards and Commissions in Town & Country, even running for Alderman once.  The list is long and includes: Planning and Zoning, Strategic Planning, Municipal Center Renovation, Longview Farm House Renovation and founding member of the Town & Country Historical Society.  He was a busy guy in his retirement years.

A few years ago, Jamie was given an award by the Town & Country/Frontenac Chamber of Commerce- he was named “Citizen of the Year.”   All his family and friends came to celebrate with him at the award luncheon.  I remember Jamie being embarrassed when he had to accept his award, using a walker to get to the microphone. 

When Jamie began talking, the room was still and not a single person noticed that silly walker.  When he finished his speech, the entire room stood up, giving him a standing ovation and rounds of applause.  It was a memorable day for all of us.  Jamie’s health had been declining, but on that day, he was picture-perfect Jamie.

Over the past few years, he battled health issues- he even pulled himself out of a few near-death experiences.  He’d joke that he got to go to St. Lukes in an ambulance- he’d get better and got to go back home.  He told me, more than once, that he was in “the December of his life.”  It made me so sad, I told him not to say it like that.  But, he knew it was true, I just didn’t want to hear it. 

Each time I sent him an email, or saw him in person, I told him that he was one of my favorite people.  He is, was and will always be.

The world has lost a caring, devoted, brilliant and extraordinary man.  The accolades that were bestowed upon him during his life were merely a tangible way to describe him. The awards and accomplishments don’t do justice to the Jamie I know.  The man I will remember was full of love, spirit, compassion, integrity and commitment.  He impacted my life as well as everyone around him.  Jamie, with the smiling eyes, will be with me always.

Visitation is Friday at Schrader Funeral Home, 14960 Manchester Road from 4 to 8pm.  Funeral services will be on Saturday, at United Church of Christ on Ballas Road, just north of Clayton Road at 11:30 am.

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