GEORGE J. CANNON - SOUTH BURLINGTON - George J. Cannon, 45, of South Burlington, beloved husband, father and science teacher at South Burlington High School, died of an apparent heart attack at his home on Monday morning. He leaves his wife, Michelle Bolduc Cannon, and three wonderful children: Griffin, age 15, Makenna, 7, and Grantham, 6. After receiving a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame in 1988, Cannon started his teaching career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco. He married Michelle Bolduc of South Burlington in 1991, and then moved to New York City where he earned his Master's and Ph.D. from Columbia University. His studies centered on the physiology of speech, and included research at the University of Tokyo. George was first and foremost a loving husband and father. Twenty-one years ago this week, he was married to Michelle, the love of his life, in the Chapel of Saint Michaels. Their three children, all in the South Burlington public schools, were the constant beneficiaries of his profound capacity to love. The eldest, Griffin, is now a sophomore at his father's school, and like his father, has an inquisitive mind with special enthusiasm for the sciences, politics and science fiction. After his family, George was passionately devoted to his students and they thrived under his guidance. George truly modeled what it meant to live his calling of "teaching as a vocation." His attention to each student - and to each detail of each student - was famous at the school. George had an extraordinary ability to learn and master intellectual challenges quickly - whether they be learning Arabic and Japanese, science fiction trivia or studying the shifting polling numbers of the presidential candidates in Ohio - and then he stored it all in his legendary encyclopedic memory. In spite of all these remarkable abilities, George's greatest teaching gift was his uncompromising dedication to teaching students at every level. According to one colleague, "George was a gentleman and a scholar. As one of the few National Board certified teachers in South Burlington, George was a mentor and role model to students and colleagues alike. His colorful personality, wit and integrity served as a constant reminder that intelligence and kindness are attributes we should all strive to possess. The loss of George Cannon in our schools and community is incalculable, but the legacy he leaves will last forever." Besides his family, his legacy of love and his passion for learning and teaching, George leaves behind his loving mother, Kathryn Cannon of North Carolina; as well as his brother and sister, Stephen Cannon and Laura Cannon of California. Also grieving at their loss is the family of Michelle, Vince and Allyson Bolduc, and their adult children, Christina Bolduc Cinti of California, and Andrew Bolduc of Burlington. George lived across the street from the Bolducs, where his devoted presence will shape the family for generations. The Funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at the Chapel of Saint Michael the Archangel on the campus of Saint Michael's College on Saturday at 11 a.m. It will be followed by a memorial celebration of his life at 12:15 p.m., in the McCarthy Art Center, also on campus. Arrangements are in care of the Ready Funeral Home and Cremation Service South Chapel, 261 Shelburne Road, Burlington. Online condolences may be sent to www.readyfuneral.com. Memorial contributions can be made to either of the organizations so close to George's heart: a South Burlington High School scholarship fund in his memory, the "Cannon Memorial Fund," 550 Dorset Street, or the Plateletpheresis Department of the American Red Cross, 32 North Prospect Street, Burlington.
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Published in The Burlington Free Press on Sept. 27, 2012