Pastors' Memoirs

Bishop William Ragsdale Cannon, Jr., 1916-1997

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  Bishop William R. Cannon was always on the move, traveling to world capitals on behalf of his faith and becoming close friends of such world leaders as Pope John Paul II and former President Jimmy Carter.

  Bishop Cannon, 81, died Sunday, May 11, 1997, after being in failing health for the past year. Funeral services were held Thursday, May 15, 1997, at the Northside United Methodist Church in Atlanta. Interment was at the Cannon lot, West Hill Cemetery, Dalton, Georgia.

  Born in Chattanooga and raised in Dalton, Bishop Cannon was no ordinary student. Elected to Phi Beta Kappa, he earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia and a doctorate from Yale University in 1942. He then spent a year as a Rhodes Scholar studying at Oxford University.

  An author of 13 books, which ranged from strictly theological to travel subjects, Bishop Cannon joined the faculty of Emory’s Candler School of Theology in 1943 and was its dean from 1953 to 1968. Cannon Chapel at Emory is named in his honor.

  At the 1968 session of the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference, he was elected a bishop of the United Methodist Church and assigned to the Raleigh area. From 1970 to 1972 the Virginia conference was added to his responsibility due to the disability retirement of the Virginia bishop. From 1972 to 1980 he served as the Resident Bishop of the Atlanta Area and then back to Raleigh for 1980 to 1984 when he retired.

  Bishop Cannon is remembered fondly in Virginia as a bishop with a brilliant mind and a warm heart and as a dear friend.

- Bishop Carl J. Sanders



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