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Cannon Liberty Fund Dedicated

Cannon Liberty Fund Dedicated

Shelby Benton presides over dedication of the Thomas R. Cannon Liberty Fund.

The North Carolina Bar Association Foundation dedicated a new Liberty Fund honoring the late Thomas R. Cannon on Friday, Jan. 15, at the N.C. Bar Center. The esteemed family law practitioner died Nov. 28, 2015.

Fellow family lawyer and NCBA President Shelby Benton presided. Remarks were provided by longtime colleagues John Hill Parker and Gena Morris and Tom Cannon’s son, Rob.

Liberty Funds, commemorated through the glass etchings that adorn the Liberty Fund Wall of Honor, honor North Carolina attorneys whose careers demonstrate dedication to the pursuit of justice and outstanding service to the profession and the public.

Liberty Funds are established through gifts of $10,000 to the NCBA Foundation Endowment.

Tom Cannon was born in Raleigh on May 22, 1940, to Edward Lee Cannon and Elizabeth Hendren Roberts Cannon. He graduated from Needham Broughton High School in 1958 and from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill as a John Motley Morehead Scholar in 1962. While at UNC-Chapel Hill, he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, involved in student government, a member of the Order of the Old Well, and swam on the UNC varsity swim team for two years. Following graduation, he earned his law degree at the UNC School of Law in 1965.

After moving to Charlotte, he specialized in family law, first as a solo practitioner and later as a Partner with Helms, Cannon, Henderson & Porter and a Shareholder with Horack, Talley, Pharr & Lowndes. He tried cases in more than 30 counties throughout North Carolina and appeared before the North Carolina Court of Appeals and the North Carolina Supreme Court in more than 40 cases. In addition to his practice in Charlotte, he also served clients in the Raleigh area working with Cheshire, Parker, Schneider & Bryan.

He was named as "Lawyer of the Year," in 2013 by Charlotte Family Law (Woodward/White, Inc.); has been included in The Best Lawyers in America© for family law, 1995-2016; and appeared on the North Carolina Super Lawyers list for family law, 2006-2011 (Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters). For more than 30 years, he lectured at continuing legal education seminars sponsored by various providers, including the North Carolina Bar Association Foundation. He also served in the U.S. Naval Reserve for 20 years, the first six as an intelligence officer and the remainder in the Judge Advocate General's Corps.

He was passionate about family, sailing, and travel, but most of all, his favorite times were at the beach with his wife, children, grandchildren, and friends. His humor endeared him to many and he was never at a loss for words or witty repartee. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Stephenson; his sister, Mary C. Rhodes of Chicago, IL; his two children, Caroline Craig Cannon and her husband Whit Spaulding of Hanover, NH, and Thomas Roberts Cannon, Jr. and his wife Kimberly of Cary, NC; a stepson, John Thorne Stephenson of Raleigh, NC; four grandchildren, Bennett Cannon, Madeline Cannon, Knox Spaulding, and Craig Spaulding; nieces and nephews, and his dog Sadie Mae.