Elaine Anderson Cannon, 81, who served as the Young Women general president from 1978 to 1984, died May 19, 2003, in Salt Lake City.
Sister Cannon, who was described in a 1964 article in Listen magazine as "an old-fashioned leader in a modern young world," most recently served as a stake Relief Society president and a temple worker. She was a former member of the Young Women Mutual Improvement Association General Board, Youth Correlation Committee, Curriculum Planning and Writing Committee, Church Activities committee, Lambda Delta Sigma International, and the BYU-Church Educational System Faculty.
When called as Young Women general president in July 1978, she said during a news conference: "I've had the thrill of a long association with youth . . . and I've developed a love for everything young, alive and reaching out for life.
"We want to help young women understand who they are and what they can do to meet the challenges of the world. We want to help them understand their Father in Heaven." (Church News, July 15, 1978.)
Born in Salt Lake City on April 9, 1922, to Aldon Joseph and Minnie Egan Anderson, she married D. James Cannon in the Salt Lake Temple on March 25, 1943. They had six children, 25 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.
Sister Cannon, a popular teen columnist, as well as an author and TV and radio personality, joined the Deseret News/Salt Lake Telegram in 1943 as the society editor. She later worked as a correspondent for the Deseret News (which owns the Church News). She wrote the "Era of Youth" section for the Improvement Era for many years and was called as associate editor of the New Era in 1970.
A graduate of the University of Utah in 1943 with a sociology degree, Sister Cannon also served as a delegate to the White House Conference on Youth in 1959 and received an award from Seventeen magazine in 1955 for her support of worthwhile teen activities. She wrote freelance articles over the years for several national magazines, owned and operated three businesses and wrote more than 70 books. She was also a popular speaker.
Sister Cannon was also active in civic affairs, including the Utah Boys Ranch Advisory Board, the Third District Juvenile Court Board and the Utah State Adult Education Advisory Board. She performed volunteer work for the March of Dimes, Red Cross, American Cancer Society and other non-profit groups. She also served as vice president of the National Council of Women.