Tree lighting will celebrate lives lost to cancer
by By Virginia Reed
November 16, 2013 10:13 PM | 2776 views | 0 0 comments | 43 43 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Love Lights a Tree will be lit the Friday after Thanksgiving at 5:30 p.m. downtown at the gazebo. This year, the tree will be lit in memory of David L. Cannon, Lowell Lawson, Neal Reece and Mike Kendrick who lost their battles with cancer in 2012.

The annual lighting will also celebrate the lives of all those who lost their battle with cancer last year. The ceremony will be sponsored by the city of Canton, The Triple “C” Team, Academy of Dance Arts, and Wadeken Industries, Inc. with proceeds going to the Cherokee County Unit of the American Cancer Society.

Residents who would like to remember or honor a loved one who has or is battling cancer can contribute $15 to help decorate the tree with ornaments designated as “In Honor Of” and “In Memory Of” a friend or loved one. The decoration will then be placed on the community tree.

“We are hoping to have a big turnout this year,” said Gayle Johnson, who is co-chair of the Love Lights a Tree Committee along with Donna Chandler.

Johnson is chair for the Cherokee Cancer Society chapter and has been involved in the cause for more than 30 years. “I’ve had a lot of family members that have cancer and it’s very personal event,” she said.

The donation levels include Archangels at $100, Angels at $75, Saints for $25 and the Love Lighters for $15. A program with the donors and honorees will be distributed at the ceremony. Those who wish to be in the program should contribute a donation by Nov 20. The donations will be accepted to place the ornaments on the tree until the end of December.

Donations can be made on behalf of any individuals whose lives have been touched by cancer.

“Every little bit helps in the fight against cancer. There is not a family that is not affected by it,” Johnson said. The American Cancer Society funds its life-saving programs of research, education and patient services with donations.

Additionally the tree lighting ceremony and festivities starting at 5:30 p.m. will include entertainment by the Academy of Dance Art dancers performing dances from “the Nutcracker.” Daily Bread, the gospel trio featuring Darrek Cornelison and daughter Bailey Cornelison and Melissa Gandy, will also perform.

Families can take advantage of the opportunity to visit and take pictures with Santa, who will be in attendance. Light refreshments of cookies and hot chocolate will be served.

Those who want to donate to the American Cancer Society or to a donation print form for the Love Lights A Tree ceremony may visit For more information on the event contact Gayle Johnson at (770) 479-5551.



Among those being honored this year is the late David L. Cannon, a prominent criminal defense and family law attorney, born Feb. 4, 1947, who died after battling cancer Nov. 18, 2012.

Cannon, a lawyer for 30 years, worked to establish the county’s indigent defense program and shaped the way the state handled defense cases for the less fortunate. He served as a member on the Georgia Indigent Defense Council and as the Holly Springs’ municipal court judge for 13 years.

Cannon is remembered by his family including wife Michelle Cannon, daughter Deanna Adkins of Canton, son Cherokee County Superior Court Judge David Cannon Jr., brother James E. Cannon of Flowery Branch, sisters Judy Bishop and Linda Bailey, both of Canton. He is also survived by four grandchildren.


Lowell Lawson was a member of the community who had a major role in starting the Cherokee County Sports Hall of Fame. Lawson was 78 when he died last September following a surgery.

He was the senior activities coordinator for the city of Canton until 2009, and helped created the Carter and Elizabeth Browning awards to honor the principal and his wife at Hickory Flat Elementary.

Lawson was in the U.S. Army and served active duty in Germany, after which he became a U.S. Army reservist.

He also wrote “Game Time: An Early History of Cherokee County Sports.”

Lawson is survived by his wife, Ann, children Kerry Lawson, Terry Lawson, Kent Lawson and Lynn Lawson and three grandchildren.


Michael Neal Kendrick was born in September 1949 and died last September. He attended the North Atlanta Church of Christ.

Kendrick started his working career with his family business, J. O. Kendrick & Associates in Rome. He later owned and operated the Bass Hawk Boat Company. He worked with his wife as CEO of Brenda Tustian Watercolors and was a founder of Corkscrews and Canvas in Marietta and Canton. 

Survivors include his wife, Brenda Harris Tustian; two daughters, Lori Culpepper and Jeannie King, son Michael Kendrick and three stepchildren, Robin Harris, Sheri Patten and Mark Harris.


Jesse Neal Reece of Canton was born in February 1935 and died Sept. 3, 2012.

A well-known local banker, he was the vice president of Etowah Bank in Canton for 26 years. He was later vice president and branch manager of Crescent Bank.

Reece was in the 1952 graduating class of Canton High School and completed the Georgia Banking School of the Georgia Bankers Association, the University of Georgia and other education in banking.

He was a 44-year member of Arbor Hill Baptist Church, and was active for many years in the Canton Jaycees, the Cherokee County Game and Fish Club and the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce. He was also president and lifetime member of the Canton Optimist Club.

Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Jo An Grizzle Reece; two sons, Anthony Neal Reece and David Alan Reece; four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

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