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Elder George Ivins Cannon: 'The rarest of men, as good as he seemed'

Elder George Ivins Cannon, former member of the First and Second Quorums of the Seventy, passed away at his home in Salt Lake City on Aug. 4, 2009. He was 89.

Elder Cannon served in many capacities in the Church beginning as a young deacon called to be the ward organist.

George Ivins Cannon
George Ivins Cannon

"He was the rarest of men, he was as good as he seemed," said Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve during Elder Cannon's funeral Aug. 10. "He personified every good thing a person should be."

Whether working for Beneficial Life Insurance Company, where he eventually was vice-president, or serving in a Church calling with his wife, Isabel Hales Cannon, Elder Cannon made everyone around him feel important, creating great associations and friendships.

"George and Isabel were magnificent examples and wonderful testifiers," said Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve during the funeral. "I always felt I was a better man after any association with him."

Elder Cannon served as a bishop, stake president, mission president to the Central British Mission from 1966-69, regional representative, Young Men general board member and general presidency counselor, patriarch and temple sealer.

He was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy in 1986 and served as Area President in the Philippines/Micronesia Area. He served in that capacity until he was sustained to the Second Quorum of the Seventy in 1989, where he served until 1991. After being released as a Seventy, Elder Cannon served as Salt Lake Temple president from 1993-96, during which time his wife was temple matron.

Known as a caring man who constantly reached out to all around him, Elder Cannon was remembered most for his love of family and the gospel. As a mission president, Elder Cannon decided to memorize and recite every day Doctrine and Covenants Section four, which he did. But he did more than recite it — he lived it, according to those who knew him well.

"His very life was one of serving with his heart, might, mind and strength," Elder W. Craig Zwick of the Seventy said during the funeral. "George Cannon was a builder. He built people, he strengthened all of us."

Elder Cannon was born on March 9, 1920, to George J. and Lucy Grant Cannon in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was a descendant of George Q. Cannon and a grandson to President Heber J. Grant, seventh president of the Church. He and his wife have seven children, 32 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.

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