Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
George I. Cannon George I. (Ivins) Cannon

1920 - 2009
  • Born 1920 Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Baptized as a child; Aaronic Priesthood as a youth; Melchizedek Priesthood as a young man
  • Mission to Eastern States
  • Married Isabel Hales 1947; seven children
  • Bishop, Stake president, Patriarch, Regional Representative, Temple Sealer
  • President of Central British Mission
  • First Quorum of Seventy 1986-1989
  • Second Quorum of Seventy 1989-1991
  • Honorably released from Second Quorum 1991
  • President of Salt Lake Temple 1993-1996
  • Died 2009, Salt Lake City, Utah

The following biographical sketch is adapted from the "News of the Church: Elder George I. Cannon of the First Quorum of the Seventy" published in the Ensign for May 1986 on the occasion of Elder Cannon's call to the First Quorum of the Seventy.
Twenty years ago, as president of the Central British Mission, George I. Cannon accepted a challenge to memorize the fourth section of the Doctrine and Covenants and recite it each day. He did—and continues to do so.

“It helps me get up in the morning and get going in the right direction,” he says. As verse three of that section says, “If ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work.”

Throughout his life, ever since he was called as ward organist at age twelve, George Cannon has had a great desire to serve the Lord. On 31 March 1986, he received another call—this time to the First Quorum of the Seventy.

Born on 9 March 1920 to George Jenkins Cannon and Lucy Grant Cannon, George Ivins Cannon grew up in Salt Lake City in a family with a rich heritage of Church service. One of his great-grandfathers was President Heber J. Grant; another was President George Q. Cannon, who was a counselor in the First Presidency for many years.

Elder Cannon’s wife, Isabel, a daughter of Wayne B. and Belle Wilson Hales, also comes from a family that has always been active in the Church. Before she and George met, their families were already well acquainted; his mother was serving as general president of the Young Women while her father was on the Young Men General Board.

Young George Cannon completed a mission in the Eastern States and then served in the U.S. Air Force in World War II, where he was an LDS servicemen’s group leader in Italy. He returned to Utah in 1946 to attend Brigham Young University. There he met and dated Isabel, who had recently graduated. But she already had plans to move to Chicago and work on an advanced degree. Undaunted, George visited her in Chicago and persuaded her to return to Utah. They were married the following summer.

Elder Cannon graduated from Brigham Young University and worked for Beneficial Life Insurance Company—where he eventually served as a vice president. He also served as a board member of the Great Salt Lake Council of the Boy Scouts of America. In the Church, he has served as a bishop, as president of the Central British Mission, on the general board and in the general presidency of the YMMIA, as a regional representative, as a temple sealer, and as a patriarch. Five and a half years ago, he was called as president of the Salt Lake Parleys Stake, where he was serving when he received the call to the First Quorum of the Seventy.

Elder Cannon enjoys Church service. “In serving, you’re constantly experiencing the guidance and direction of the Spirit,” he says. “It’s important to follow those promptings. They come time and time again in your life as you’re trying to represent the Savior and do his work.”

He has had many spiritual experiences—many of them small, quiet assurances. “When you partake of the sacrament or listen to someone’s beautiful testimony, you are touched, and you know that it comes from the Spirit,” he says.

Sister Cannon calls him “a real people person” who motivates others—in his family and in the Church. The Cannons have seven children and sixteen grandchildren. They especially enjoy Sunday evenings, when family members drop in for ice cream and conversation.

Both he and Sister Cannon look forward to serving. “Our lives are so enriched by the opportunities we have have had to serve in the Church,” he says. “Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. It’s his work that we’re striving to do.”
Elder Cannon served but three years of his five-year call to the First Quorum of the Seventy before being called to the newly created Second Quorum of the Seventy on April 1, 1989. There he faithfully filled the reminder of his call with distinction, and was honorably released and given a vote of thanks by a grateful church in General Conference assembled October 5, 1991.
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.

"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.

""News of the Church: Elder George I. Cannon of the First Quorum of the Seventy," The Ensign, May 1986 (Primary source)
"Elder George Ivins Cannon: 'The rarest of men, as good as he seemed'," Church News, August 15, 2009

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