obituaries

James Cannon

East Alton |

James Harland Cannon liked to tell stories. A favorite was about the time he was six years old and very ill. His father gathered his siblings in the yard to say “your brother won’t live." That was a little hasty. Jim died Monday, May 6, 2024, at age 96. 

He was born on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 1928, in Coffeen, III. He was the last survivor of the 14 children of Roy and Grace (Donaldson) Cannon (two more sisters did not live to adulthood). The family moved during World War II to East Alton, where Jim met Ellen Agnes Reynolds. They married in 1950. He built their home, where they raised two daughters, who survive: Deborah Cannon (Myron Carbaugh) of Portland, Oregon, and Diana Federman (William) of Southampton, Massachusetts. They had two grandsons: Andrew Federman (Cory) of Whitefield, Maine; and Adam Federman (Kelly Gresalfi) of Playa Del Rey, Calif. Aggie, his wife of 59 years, died in 2010. 

Jim was a machinist at Owens-Illinois in Alton for 42 years. In his teens, he helped to build Route 66. He was a U.S. Navy World War II-era veteran. He fixed his own cars, studied the stock market, and researched his genealogy. As a widower, he learned to bake cakes. He was proud of his big family–40 nieces and nephews survive. Jim was fond of the horse races and cards, drawing house plans, and driving to Coffeen. He admired Robert Wadlow, the world’s tallest man, whom he saw in the 1930s. Jim was a lifelong Mason, Democrat, union man, and member of the VFW and the local American Legion, where he had good friends. 

Having left school early, he came to value education and insisted his daughters go to college. He was generous and quick to help others. True, he was set in his ways. But his strength saw him through the hard times. He touched many lives, and he will be missed. 

Another story he liked to tell was about VE-Day in 1945, when he rode on the bumper of a car with his brothers to celebrate in Alton. He remembered the honking and hollering like it was yesterday.

The family is grateful to friends Rick and Linda Strasen and the St. Louis VA. Gifts in Jim’s memory may be made to the American Legion,120 East Alton Ave., East Alton, IL 62024. 

Visitation will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 11, at ,Marks Mortuary in Wood River, with a service at 10:30 a.m. Burial with military rites by Alton VFW Post 1308 will follow at Valhalla Cemetery in Godfrey.


Obit Provided By:
Mark's Mortuary

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