Virginia Jane Cannon, 86, died peacefully March 9 in the St. Charles home she had lived in and loved for more than 50 years, surrounded by her daughters. She had pancreatic cancer.
Jane had three clear priorities: her faith, family and friends. She adored her three daughters who survive her: Angie Cannon (Ed Hatcher), Carol Cannon and Erin Cannon Chave (Jean-Louis Chave). She was devoted to her husband of 58 years, Richard; to her two children, Cindy Cannon Brooks (John Brooks) and Robert Cannon and to her son-in-law Jay Gershen (Carol), all of whom predeceased her. She loved her grandchildren: Danny Goldstein, Mackenzie Chernushin, Carrie, Peter, Mark, and Robby Brooks, Louis and Emma Chave.
Jane lived her life with dignity, style, grace and kindness. She possessed a selfless humility, always putting others first.For 41 years, she worked at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles, where she wore many hats, including those of English and Latin teacher, kindergarten French teacher, administrator, development director, parent coordinator, alumni director, and hospitality doyenne. For Jane, the Academy was not a job; it was a calling. She deeply admired St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, the courageous French nun who founded the school in 1818. In turn, Jane was deeply admired by the Academy family and the global Sacred Heart community.During her Academy years, Jane authored three fundraising cookbooks with her favorite recipes, and her fans said her dishes earned them the most compliments. In 2017, two years after she retired at age 80, she published “Two Hundred Years: A Legacy of Love and Learning,” a history of the 200-year-old school which she spent 10 years researching and writing. Jane graduated in 1957 from Maryville College, then a Sacred Heart women’s institution where she majored in English and served as editor of the student newspaper and student body president. In 2013, Jane was honored with the Cor Unum award, a national recognition for Sacred Heart alums who have embraced the philosophy of the Sacred Heart into their everyday lives.Jane was born in St. Louis on Jan. 11, 1936, the second daughter of the late James Patrick and Virginia Krebs Shannon. At age 5, she moved to Carlyle, Ill., where she grew up with her parents and sister, Mary Shannon, who preceded her in death.Jane had a dry wit, a heart brimming with love for others and a strength born of her deep faith. She had an enormous circle of friends of all ages because she was such a good, generous friend to so many. She had many passions: cooking, sewing, jigsaw puzzles, the symphony and art museum, reading novels, quilting, knitting, family genealogy and travel domestically and internationally. Jane loved collecting recipes from newspapers, magazines, cookbooks, television shows, even scribbling notes on paper napkins in restaurants. She loved entertaining and effortlessly hosted everything from convivial happy hours with wicked margaritas to elegant dinner parties with fabulous wines. Christmas was her favorite holiday, and she elaborately decorated her house and prided herself on baking 17 different varieties of cookies, including her famous star cookies. Cooking is, she once wrote, “the joy we find in producing something good and sharing it with others.”
Jane was an outstanding writer who always found the right words to express beautiful messages in handwritten letters and cards. She was a firm believer in the lost art of the handwritten thank you note! She was a grammar maven with a sharp copyediting eye. Jane was diligent about remembering birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and other important milestones with cards and gifts. Shortly before her death, even when writing had become difficult for her, she insisted on sending written thank you notes and sympathy cards to others.
She was very active in her parish, St. Cletus, quietly attending daily Mass, making meals for funeral lunches, laundering and ironing altar cloths, sewing vestments for priests and engaging with fellow parishioners isolated during the pandemic. She very much enjoyed the weekly parish quilting group.
Above all, Jane was happiest spending time with her family.
A funeral Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. March 15th at St. Cletus. It also will be livestreamed at https://www.saintcletus.org/box-cast-live-stream/. It will be preceded by a 9:30 a.m. visitation at the church. Burial will follow Mass at St. Charles Memorial Gardens.
The family wishes to thank all of Jane’s extraordinary health professionals at Barnes Jewish Hospital and BJC Hospice, especially oncologist Dr. Olivia Aranha and her team at the Siteman Cancer Center for their top-flight care and positive attitudes; palliative care specialist Dr. Shannon Devlin for her compassion and responsiveness; and the incomparable hospice nurse Kimberly Roderique and all the other amazing hospice nurses and aides who provided so much comfort and held our hands. The family also is grateful for the outpouring of love, prayers and support from friends and relatives that carried Jane and all of us through the past six months. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Academy of the Sacred Heart, 619 N. Second St., St. Charles, MO 63301 or to the S
t. Vincent de Paul Society at St. Cletus Church, 2705 Zumbehl Road, St. Charles, MO 63301.