Henry Brevoort Cannon III

CHERRY VALLEY – Henry Brevoort Cannon III died on March 21, 2020, at a Nashville, Tenn., hospital of delayed complications from a heart-valve replacement surgery on Jan. 30.

A funeral service at Grace Episcopal Church in Cherry Valley was envisioned for 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020, followed immediately by interment of ashes at the Cherry Valley Cemetery, in conjunction with an annual Labor Day family reunion weekend. But due to coronavirus-related difficulties, the service is now planned for one year later, on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. A June 13 funeral service at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Scottsboro, Ala., was webcast and is available on the church’s YouTube page.

Born April 20, 1938, in Boston, Henry, known to many as Harry, grew up in several locations in the Northeast, and spent much time with his beloved cousins at ancestral family homes in Cherry Valley and in Rochester, home of his maternal grandparents Harper Sibley and Georgiana Farr Sibley. The family home in Cherry Valley was a favorite haven his whole life, and he resided there every summer in recent decades.

He graduated from Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., and then from Yale University in 1960 with a B.A. in economics, and an interest in early computers. After college, he served in the Army Security Agency from 1960 to 1963.

Subsequently he lived in New York City where he met Kathleen Johnsen of Lincoln, Neb., who was living in the same apartment building in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. They were married on June 17, 1967, beginning a union of almost 53 years.

His career in computer programming, management and consulting spanned from the early 1960s birth of mainframe computers all the way to the current Windows era. Living in New York City, and then in Albany, he worked in sales and technical support for Citibank and Honeywell on early mainframe computers, from 1963 to 1972.

In 1972, he moved to Scottsboro, Ala., to be data processing manager at the Revere Copper &  Brass aluminum rolling plant, later owned by Norandal USA. He led a team of programmers to develop manufacturing process control software that proved to be so outstanding it was licensed and sold worldwide to major companies, including Martin Marietta, Alcan and Mobil.

After retiring from Norandal in 1987, he did consulting and custom software development for many regional businesses including Polymer Industries in Henagar, Alabama.

His sons John and Brevy were the highlights of his life. He always threw himself into supporting them, from coaching T-ball to learning to play the organ when his son John became a church organist. He was perhaps never prouder than when he joined John on organ recital tours to churches and cathedrals around the country and abroad.

From boyhood to old age, he always loved outdoor activity, from walking and hiking to biking, fishing, skiing and golf, all of which he did well into his 70s. After age 55 he got into the best shape of his life, rollerblading or bicycling for miles daily. He did several 100+ mile bike rides.

He loved to travel and explore, starting as a youth, and visited dozens of countries over his lifetime. When stationed in Turkey with the Army Security Agency in the early 1960s, every weekend he explored a region in his white Volkswagen Beetle, often finding unmarked ancient ruins. He and Kathy would alternate driving and navigation duties as they explored much of Europe and the U.S. on road trips. He led the family to explore hundreds of miles of hiking trails and four-wheel drive trails in the Rocky Mountains from a family home in Estes Park, Colorado. On hikes all over Otsego County, New York with cousins, he usually led a “hardy pioneers” group on a bushwhacking route, often retracing rugged walks from his boyhood.

He was known for his wisdom, as a peacemaker, and for his great sense of humor, gentle demeanor and quick smile. Open, loving and kind by nature, great friendship came naturally to him, and he kindled many lifelong friendships.

The credo “to whom much is given, much is expected” guided his life. He was involved in many causes including Rotary International and the Episcopal Church.  A lifelong Episcopalian whose father was an Episcopal priest, his Christian commitments took many forms over his lifetime, from missionary work in Japan during college to Kairos prison ministry for more than 20 years.

He was a parishioner at Grace Episcopal Church in Cherry Valley his entire life, continuing an unbroken family connection to the church going back to its founding in 1846. In 1972, he joined St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Scottsboro and served several terms as senior warden. He also supported many church efforts including Episcopal Relief and Development projects like building water wells in Africa.

Henry is survived by his wife, Kathleen Johnsen Cannon, his son Henry B. (Brevy) Cannon IV, and his sister Urling Kingery, four nieces and nephews, Caleb Wertenbaker, Liam Wertenbaker, Anne Kingery-Schwartz and Kate Kingery, and five grandnieces and grandnephews. He was predeceased by his youngest son, John Andrew Cannon, his sister Julia Cannon Wertenbaker, and his parents Anne Dunton Sibley and the Rev. Henry B. (Brevy) Cannon Jr.

Donations can be made in his memory to Episcopal Relief and Development or Rotary International. The family welcomes cards at 916 Dayton Dr., Scottsboro, AL 35768.