Lance Michael Fernandez Cannon
Lance Michael Cannon was born on June 2, 1966 to Elvira (Elena) Cannon and William Cannon II in Zaragoza, Spain.
His parents met in Spain while his father was in the military. The family moved to Wichita Falls, Texas, and soon Lance had a baby brother, Greg. They were two years apart and were close throughout their lives. Lance kept in touch with many of his childhood friends, who he was able to re-connect with while living in Nome through social media.
He graduated from G.H. Hershey H.S. in Wichita Falls, TX, where he played football, and then briefly attended Midwestern State University. He also lived in New Jersey, where he had an aunt Barb, who he was close with.
When his mother moved to Anchorage, soon Lance followed “Mama.” He again followed her and moved to Nome 28 years ago, even though he did not know a single person.
He befriended Richard Beneville, who would become a lifelong friend and shoulder to lean on until the end. Lance was a social butterfly and loved sporting events and he eventually became known not just in Nome, but throughout the region and across the state as a man who would bend over backwards to help anyone or any good cause, a person you could call a friend. He had the gift of being someone who was easy to talk to, would put you at ease, and who did his best to bring a smile to your face, even though he might have been struggling inside himself. He was also a firecracker and could push the buttons of his opponents, his own teammates, and even his closest friends. But, he was not one to hold a grudge, and he’d quickly make amends and would once again be ready to give you the shirt off of his back.
Lance married Melanie and in 1999, he became the father of the apple of his eye, Joshua Michael Cannon. Lance cherished Joshua, and would write him notes and letters even when he was an infant, typically ending with a stick figure drawing of them labeled “Dad and Son - Cool Dudes.” He took thousands of pictures of his son during his 18 years on earth with him.
Although Lance and Melanie divorced, they chose to always remain friends and to raise their son together. Being Joshua’s dad was his greatest source of joy and pride. He made sure to visit Josh to see his new apartment in Anchorage this winter where Josh attended his first semester of college at U.A.A.
Lance brought his love of the game to Nome when he moved here. He loved the camaraderie of being on the team with all of his buddies. When Lance got involved in something, he went 110 percent. He played the game, umpired it, groomed the fields, helped build the dug-outs, and organized tournaments, including fundraisers for good causes.
When his own son was old enough to play the game, he coached his team every year, umpired the children’s games, and taught young people how to umpire as well. He also enjoyed a good competitive game of racquetball, which he said was especially fun because it was one-on-one and you could “really talk some trash to each other in that little room without worrying about an audience.” But, no matter who won, he would exit patting his competitor in the back.
Being tall and athletic, he thought he could easily pick up basketball, but it turned out he was better suited as a referee. Again, Lance went 110 percent - becoming a certified referee and reffing all over the region and state. He took Josh along on all the trips that he could, and became a fixture in the ref community, whom he considered family. Although he refereed statewide championships, he also enjoyed working with the kids at the elementary school on weekends, even after his son was grown.
For a Texan with no experience hunting, Lance again excelled after learning the ropes from his first hunting partner, Mark Smith. He was especially proud last fall, when Josh bagged a moose while hunting with his dad. His last outing with his son was to take him on a peaceful boat ride on the Nome River, where they laughed and caught fish. It was a beautiful day.
Lance held many jobs, but once his son was born he obtained his certificate in Rural Human Services so that he could provide more for his son, and to also better serve his fellow man. His career was spent in the helping and protecting fields. He said he was growing weary though, and was happy to have accepted his last job working with his old pal Kenny Brunette at Northern Air Cargo, where he said it was going to be “just like old times.” Of all his titles though, he was always most proud to have been called “Dad.” Cool Dude, you are missed.