Martha Jean Faragher Cannon, 93, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, passed away peacefully on April 6, 2019, at Meth-Wick Community. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 13, 2019, at 10 a.m. at Christ Episcopal Church. Visitation will be held from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Friday, April 12, 2019, at Cedar Memorial Park Funeral Home. Entrusted with the arrangements is Cedar Memorial Park Funeral Home.
Martha is survived by her loving daughters, Mary Cannon of Marion, Iowa, and Elizabeth (Jay Tillottson) Cannon of Columbus, Wisconsin; three nieces, Abbie Faragher-Hirsch, Phoebe Faragher Clutter, and Audrey Faragher; two nephews, Michael Cannon and Tommy Cannon, and many loving extended family members.
Martha was born on September 15, 1925, in Oakmont, Pennsylvania, to Paul and Ida (Butler) Faragher. Valedictorian of her high school, Martha already excelled in French and playing the cello before earning her Bachelor’s Degree in French at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. While an undergraduate, Martha spent two summers studying languages at Middlebury Summer School in Vermont. Martha continued her education at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, where she earned her Master’s Degree in French before being accepted into the Ph.D. program in French at Yale University. For her second year of her Ph.D. program, Martha attended LaSorbonne University in Paris on a Fulbright Travel Grant, receiving a diploma from that institution. She returned to Yale to finish a Master’s degree in Teaching, and although she did not write her dissertation, she did complete her course work for a Ph.D. in French.
Martha met Charles K. Cannon at Yale where he was pursuing a Ph.D. in English Literature, and they were married on June 23, 1956, in Fairfield, Connecticut. These two were a strong and loving team until Charles’ death in 2015. Martha’s teaching career included teaching French at the high school in Fairfield, Connecticut; teaching French and Latin at Franklin High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and working in the language lab at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
During her early years in Cedar Rapids, Martha played cello in the Cedar Rapids Symphony, and in her years in Des Moines, she lobbied for Planned Parenthood and volunteered for their yearly book drive. She ended her career by teaching French at Coe College in Cedar Rapids from 1972 to 1990. After retiring, she assisted in an English as a Second Language program and, with her husband, drove for Meals on Wheels.
Martha was beloved by her students. She took a personal interest in them and gave them the support they needed to succeed. She never lost her love for travel, whether to France and Italy, England and Norway, or to the Cannon summer home in Maine. She also never lost her love for language and words and was a self-proclaimed addict of the New York Times crossword puzzle.
Anyone who knew Martha would tell you that she would give you the shirt off her back. Her major joy in life was connecting with people and making them feel included, whether they were her closest friends or the checker at the grocery store. She touched many hearts throughout her life and will be deeply missed.
She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Charles K. Cannon; her parents; and her brother Vance Faragher.
The family would like to express their deep gratitude for the kind and loving care Martha received at Meth-Wick Community: beginning with custom care at the Manor and followed by her care at the Nesitril and Stewart wings of the Woodlands. In addition, the family is very grateful for the care she received from Mercy Hospice during her final days.
Memorials may be directed to the Meth-Wick Endowment Fund or a charity of your choosing.