Thomas Payne Cannon passed away on February 5, 2021 in Nashville TN. Tom was born in Guthrie KY on Dec. 29, 1938 to Cecil and Lily Cannon . He was preceded in death by a brother William Cecil Cannon. He is survived by his wife Angelia McAfee Cannon, a son Todd (Tammy) Cannon of Ringold GA, daughter April Golden, and son Jason Golden of Fayetteville, Grandchildren Nick Cannon (Tess) of Ooltewah TN, Chandler (Danielle) Gray and Coleman Gray both of Ringgold, GA, Maris Golden and Luke Golden of Fayetteville TN. He has a sister Ruth Sawyers (Bill) of Elkton KY, two brothers Charlie Cannon (Barbara) of Clarksville TN and Larry Cannon of Pasa Robles CA. He also has several nieces and nephews who survive. He leaves behind his friend and daily golf partner Rick Ables, On most any day you could find them on the course at Pebble Creek. Tom always won with daily efforts to shoot his age, which he always accomplished. His beloved dog, Ms. Le waits patiently in his chair still to see him come home from his game.
Tom attended Guthrie High School and went on to obtain a master’s degree in Education from Middle Tennessee State University. He served in the Tennessee Department of Education as Assistant Commissioner during the McWherter administration where he was respected and loved as a fair and capable leader.
While serving as President of the Tennessee Education Association he advocated for teacher and student rights. Following his career in education he worked for Baptist Hospital in talent recruitment. He served in the same capacity at Vanderbilt Hospital. Following ten years there, he worked for McGraw Hill publishing.
After retirement, he and the love of his life Angelia, (others know her as Angie, but Tom always called her Angelia) bought a farm at Flintville TN where he enjoyed gardening, fishing and sharing his beautiful lake with friends. It was common for Tom to show up at friend’ doors with large baskets of produce from his garden and fruit trees.
He could be found at every sports event his grandchildren participated in at South LIncoln Sports Complex. He was the “dugout grandpa” who always brought treats and bubble gum for the players. A former state champion in Tennis, Track , Racquetball and Golf, he remained an avid sports fan.
As a lifelong educator he taught many lessons, but none as important as the need for kindness. To know Tom, was to know his love and affection. Though his achievements and honors were many, his legacy is not only found in those but in the lives he touched as a teacher, education advocate, husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend. He taught by example what it meant to always share a generous and caring heart and a willing and capable hand to a person in need.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Pl., Memphis, TN 38105-9959, American Civil Liberties Union, 19700 The Exchange SE, Atlanta, GA 30339, Monroe Carell, Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, 2200 Children’s Way, Nashville, TN 37232, South Lincoln Sportsplex, 3042 Huntsville Highway, Fayetteville, TN 37334.