Joseph “Joe” George Cannon, Jr. passed away on November 23, 2021 in his wonderful home with family. He fought a long battle against cancer with humor, grit and grace. Joe was born on November 2, 1934 in Jersey City, NJ to Joseph George Cannon, Sr. and Margaret Rother. He was an only child but had friends from grade school whom were his friends his entire life. Joe lived such a full life filled with love of his family, work, recreation and hobbies. He was the most wonderful husband to his surviving wife of 58 years, Karen Christiansen Cannon. It was love at first sight, they were instantly and always inseparable, and best friends. He was a devoted and hands-on father to his two daughters, Kathleen and Carrie Jean, and to his deceased son, Joey (02-05-66 to 05-12-79). But his pride and joy was his grandson, Cullen Welsh, whom he adored. Joe was the most fun, loving, goofy and completely engaged grandfather. His family was everything to him. He not only loved all of us unconditionally but he entertained us and made us laugh all the time.
Joe was in the Navy reserve first and then joined the Army. Although he had never skied before, he was the first to sign up for the Ski Patrol Unit in Japan. He was honorably discharged and proud of his service and of all who served. He loved being in the Army and serving his country.
Joe worked so hard his entire life to build a beautiful life for his family. He was a Stagehand and Props Manager on Broadway and a member of IATSE Local One in New York City for 50 years. He could build and fix anything and everything. He loved working with his hands. He built sets for such shows as Les Miserables and Miss Saigon, amongst hundreds of others. He worked in many theatres and on many shows spanning five decades.
He was also an incredible hobby guy. Always learning something new and trying everything, including painting, sketching, rollerblading, framing, photography, skiing, golfing, macramé, whittling, carving, Sudoku master, rock painting, and most recently wood turning. Joe even made the beautiful wooden urn in which his ashes will be buried. And this does not even come close to a complete list of his accomplishments and hobbies, they were varied with no particular themes, just new challenges to conquer. For example, he made a violin by hand with no power tools. None of his family played the violin but he read it was the hardest instrument to carve by hand so he decided he would try. It took him almost a year to complete. Another wonderful hobby accomplishment is that he learned to fly a Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee propeller plane culminating in his first solo flight in 1993. Once he mastered a craft or hobby, he moved on to his next exciting challenge. Our home is filled with so many handmade items from Joe that it is hard to describe how talented he truly was.
Joe loved to be of service and he loved to volunteer. Joe was a volunteer firefighter for years in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, where he raised his family and lived for 35 years before moving to Broward County, Florida in 1997, the year his grandson was born. He also volunteered for Imperial Point Hospital, Bonnet House, St. Gabriel Church and many, many more. No matter what he did or where he went, he made friends. He was interested in others and making people smile. He was a “glass is always half-full” kind of guy and shared that attitude with whomever he came into contact.
Joe was a “character” in all the best sense and made friends with everyone, including bank tellers, coffee shop employees, waiters, waitresses, valets, neighbors, strangers, kids, seniors, etc. He left a lasting impression with his quick wit and clever humor. He made everyone laugh, and his wife and family were his best audience.
Joe is being cared for by Baird-Case Funeral Home and in January the family will hold a Mass and a gathering to celebrate his life. He is resting in peace with the Lord and although his family misses him as no words could describe, we are comforted that he is at peace. In lieu of flowers, donations would be appreciated for Mission United, a veteran-serving program at United Way of Broward County. We thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, well wishes and love.
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