Cannon also managed the historic 1984 Olympic Torch Run from
Cannon's son Jeff, president of the Cannon Group, said that his father “definitely influenced PR as an industry all the way through his career, looking at bigger picture projects and not just press releases.”
Cannon, whose full name was Jeff Walton Cannon, began his career as a journalist at the Dallas Times-Herald, The Dallas Morning News, and the Associated Press before joining AT&T and working in advertising, marketing, and PR.
Cannon also served on the board of the Lincoln Center
Theater, the national Hispanic organization La Raza, and the Cuban-American
Telephone Co., and was chairman of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and
“An ongoing joke with him was, ‘My God, now they have classes that teach public relations. In the 1960s and 1970s, I think [PR] was more journalists and writers that thought this was more of a new and fun venture than an actual industry,” the younger Cannon said. “I think that his approach to communications overall was something that really led the field back then. With his civic activities from nonprofits to Planned Parenthood… there was a real commitment to the industry, rather than just to his career.”
Cannon and his wife, Weta, were married for 50 years. He is survived by two other sons in addition to Jeff - Marc and Jon - and a daughter from a previous marriage, Kathleen Rogers.