Walter Lane “Pete” Cannon, a retired chemical engineer and longtime resident of Lyon County, Kentucky, died December 7, 2022, in Tennessee. He was 84.
He was born in Lyon County on September 14, 1938. For his first few days of life, when his family couldn’t decide what to name him, they called him Pete. The nickname stuck, and Walter Lane was known as Pete for a lifetime.
At age 4, he talked his family into sending him to school with his older siblings. This early start meant he was only 20 when he became part of the University of Kentucky’s first graduating class of chemical engineers in 1959.
He worked for more than 40 years as a chemical engineer in Calvert City, Kentucky, at the Arkema plant, formerly known as Pennwalt. He retired in 2001 as manager of engineering.
Family and faith were the heart of his life. He was married for almost 60 years to the former Phyllis Ann Jones, until she died of pancreatic cancer in 2019. They built a life in Kuttawa, Kentucky, near his parents and countless other relatives, only a few miles from the home where he grew up.
He sang tenor in a southern gospel quartet, led congregational singing at church, and played mandolin when he got a chance, alongside his dad on the fiddle and his brother on the banjo. He also played bridge almost every day for many years, becoming a whiz at making three no-trump. He loved astronomy and was an early adopter of anything high-tech, proudly living by the engineer’s motto: “If it isn’t broken, take it apart and fix it.”
His favorite foods were bacon, candy, and ice cream, possibly in that order.
He was a 60-year Mason and a member of Kuttawa United Methodist Church. He lived in Lyon County for nearly 80 years until he and his wife moved to the Nashville area in 2017 for her medical treatment.
In 2013 he was diagnosed with large granular lymphocytic leukemia, a slow-growing cancer that eventually weakened him. After surviving almost 10 years with the disease, he died peacefully at Life Care Center of Old Hickory Village near Nashville, as his daughters held his hands and sang “Amazing Grace.”
Besides his wife, he was preceded in death by his parents, Hugh Hayden Cannon and Gladyse Wood Knoth Cannon of Kuttawa; his first child, Tressa Ann Cannon, who was stillborn; two brothers, Joseph Knoth Cannon of Griffith, Indiana, and Thomas Howard Cannon of Clearwater, Florida; and a sister, Willie Dean Faughn of Benton, Kentucky.
He is survived by two daughters and sons-in-law, Lisa Cannon Green and her husband, Bob, of Goodlettsville, Tennessee, and Veronica Cannon Hampton and her husband, Dana, of Greenbrier, Tennessee; four grandchildren and their partners, Emily Cannon Green and her fiancé Lee Holliman of Springfield, Tennessee, Ethan Cannon Green and his wife Sidney Overway of Kilauea, Hawaii, Matthew Neil Hampton of Greenbrier, Tennessee, and Morgan Lane Hampton and her fiancé Justin Smyth of Clearwater, Florida; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. His first great-grandchild, Aurora Smyth, is due to be born in March 2023.
Memorial visitation will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, December 17, at Lakeland Funeral Home in Eddyville, Kentucky. Burial will be at a later date in Macedonia Cemetery in Kuttawa.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his memory to Kuttawa United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 158, Kuttawa, Kentucky 42055.