It is with heavy hearts that the family of Jackie Cannon announce her passing at home on May 12th. Jackie was a beautiful woman inside and out, whose joie de vivre, radiant smile and positive outlook on life was obvious and infectious to all who met her. She left this world surrounded by family, just as her dear friend Joyce Lank finished playing the last notes of What a Wonderful World on the piano. She joined her beloved husband, Norman Cannon (dad/Tapa), with her tap shoes, pink feather boa and Blue Jays shirt. She was our mom, grandmother and great-grandmother, who we mostly called Bama. While we are sad to let her go, we are trying to do so joyfully and ready to celebrate what— in her words— was “the best life any person could ever have.”
Bam was predeceased by her husband Norm and her mother, father and brother. She is survived by her four children Greg(Tina), Nancy(Jake), Bruce(Debbie) and Susan(Lorne); 11 grandchildren Todd(Danielle), Ryan, Greg, Chris(Pavlina), Aaron, Kailey(Wade), Robbi(Kade), Tessa(Jordan), Christian(Courtney), Becky(Cody) and Noelle(Kris) and 20 great-grand-children.
Jackie was born on April 1st, 1928 in Kelvington Sk. to Hazel (née Taylor) and Jack Branscombe. Her brother Jack was born 1.5 years later, and they were lifelong friends. Jacqueline, as she was then known, was introduced by her parents to music through piano lessons when she was four years old. This was followed by singing and tap dance lessons. This set the foundation for much joy throughout her life, and she was always thankful for her great music teachers.
Jacqueline always said she had a very happy childhood in Kelvington, where she loved her school and teachers, practiced music and dance, rode her bike, ice skated and learned to swim. She watched many small town and amateur baseball games when she was young, and became a ball fan for life. Go Jays go!
When she was eleven, her parents took her to Winnipeg, where she spent the next two summers with friends, studied dance and performed in Vaudeville at the Beacon Theatre. It was a wonderful time for her. When she was fourteen, her parents arranged for her to live with an aunt in Regina, where she began high school and studied more classical signing. Singing has always been her passion, and she often said it is such a soul satisfying way to communicate with people. During her time in Regina, she was nicknamed Jackie, and lived through the Second World War years. She sang in many concerts for young soldiers in the Regina barracks, and was always touched by those memories.
At seventeen, her family moved to New Westminster, where she finished high school and became a dental assistant. She never stopped singing, and this led her to the love of her life, Norm Cannon. He was playing tenor saxophone and piano in a dance band when Jackie became lead vocalist. The rest, as they say, is history! They were married in 1949 and began a beautiful life together. Norm worked for Overwaitea Foods, and in 1951 they were transferred to Salmon Arm where Norm became store manager. They thought they had moved to a very dull small town, and hoped they wouldn’t be there long. However, after experiencing one Shuswap summer of swimming and picnicking at Sandy Point/Glen Echo, they realized how lucky they were and hoped to never move again.
Jackie and Norm were warmly welcomed by the people of Salmon Arm, where their music was always encouraged and loved. This was the beginning of many happy years of making music together with countless concerts, including many fun and hilarious times working with the local kinsmen and kinettes on musical shows and skits. Jackie joined the First United Church choir in 1951, and was a member for the next 68 years. Norm joined later on, and they had many happy times and much joy and comfort from belonging to both the choir and church. Bama also enjoyed playing the flute in the community band and continued to tap dance in her 90s.
The arrival of her four children brought many blessings over the years, and, in time, a parade of grandchildren and great-grandchildren followed. Her grands called her “Bama,” and she was adored by all of them.
Shuswap Lake was front and center in Jackie’s life. Her and Norm built a cabin with their dear friends Maggie and Mickey Morrice at Frasers’ Beach in 1960. Much “Can-Mors Chaos” ensued, and she spent every summer since at the beach. The cabin was and continues to be a hub for her huge family–a place of much love, laughter and merrymaking.
Jackie was a voracious reader and longtime lover of the library. She loved learning, and she had an adventurous spirit. She and Norm spent countless winters in Hawaii, and she had the opportunity to travel to Australia, New Zealand, Cuba, Europe and Mexico. For her 90th birthday, her friends and family fulfilled her lifelong dream of going on safari in Africa. She was sipping Mai-Tais on Waikiki Beach with her two daughters and son-in-law a month before she passed.
She often said how thankful she was for her husband and family, all the music in her life, living in this beautiful area surrounded by Mt. Ida, Bastion and Shuswap Lake, and all the glorious God-given gifts that were hers over the years. Her family would like to thank Dr. Louw, Robbi, Nancy and Susan for their excellent palliative care. Jackie told us she looked forward to her next wonderful adventure.
“Hold my drink and watch this!” Fly free mom/Bama, we love you beyond words.
A celebration of Jackie’s life will take place Saturday August 6th, 11am at the First United Church.