Funeral for LSU Football great Billy Cannon set for Wednesday

4 weeks ago WBRZ 0

BATON ROUGE – Funeral arrangements have been made for LSU Football great Billy Cannon.

Family says services for the former Tiger and LSU hall-of-famer will be held Wednesday, May 23, at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center at LSU. 

Visitation for Dr. Cannon will begin at noon on Wednesday at the Maravich Center and will continue until 2 p.m. The funeral will follow the visitation and run from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Maravich Center. Both events are open to the public.

A Baton Rouge native, Cannon was the winner of the 1959 Heisman Trophy as a halfback, and led the Tigers to the 1958 national championship.

He was inducted into the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1975 and into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008. He was named LSU Alumnus of the Year in 2010.

You can read Cannon’s full obituary below:

Dr. Billy A. Cannon, Sr. passed away at his farm in St. Francisville, La., Sunday morning May 20, 2018. Cannon was born in Neshoba County, Mississippi on August 2, 1937. His family moved to Baton Rouge, La in the 1940s. He attended Istrouma High School where he excelled in sports and met his high school sweetheart Dorothy “Dot” Dupuy. Cannon went on to LSU in the fall of 1956. He and Dot were married on November 23, that year. Billy Cannon was an athletic phenom at the time standing 6 ft. 1 in. and weighing almost 200 lbs. What set him apart was not only his size, but his speed and agility. He and his teammates were some of the first to begin weight training which added to his strength and made him unstoppable on the field. At LSU he ran track and played football. He was also an outstanding student maintaining a B+ average the entire way through. He is known for wearing No. 20 and the “Halloween Run,” a 89-yard punt return against Ole Miss in Tiger Stadium in 1958. That year he and his teammates who he adored went undefeated and won LSU’s first National Championship. He won the Heisman Trophy in 1959 and went on to play professional football for the Houston Oilers, Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs. He was the first player to garner all-pro honors in two different positions. Each Spring he attended the Dental School at Loyola of Chicago, and the University of Tennessee, earning both D.D.S and M.S degrees. While he garnered many accolades as an athlete, he was also a wonderful father. He and Dot had five children. To his family he was simply “Daddy.” He was a brilliant historian. He had a mind like a steel trap and a wicked sense of humor. He knew how to have a good time and could be a rascal a times, but more importantly, he had many, many friends and was extremely loyal to them. He also worked at Louisiana State Penitentiary as a dentist for 22 years, retiring in January 2018. While at Angola, he wasn’t blind to inmates’ crimes, but he believed everyone had worth and deserved kindness. He helped reform a failing medical and dental program at the prison. He believed in humanity and lobbied to get the pharmacy back at the prison when it was decentralized and took weeks to get the medications the inmates needed. Cannon had a love of thoroughbred horses and purchased his first one in California in the early 1960s. He had so many over the years and enjoyed raising them at his farm in St. Francisville. He would often sit in a lounge chair outside of the stall and help his mares have their foals. He was preceded in death by his parents, Harvey W. Cannon Sr, and Virgie Savell Cannon as well as his older brother Harvey W. Cannon, Jr. He is survived by his loving wife, Dorothy “Dot” Cannon, children Terri Cannon Byrd and husband Tim Byrd of Baton Rouge; Gina Cannon McWilliams and husband Jay McWilliams of Big Spring, Texas; Dara Cannon Kelsoe of Baton Rouge; Billy Cannon, Jr. and wife Rise Cannon of St Francisville; and Bunnie Cannon of Baton Rouge. He is also survived by eight grandchildren, Kimberly Kelsoe Becker, Cannon McWilliams, Laci McWilliams Gentry, Cassie Cannon Graham, Jessie Cannon Black, Abbie Cannon, Mandie Cannon and Billie Cannon. They also have eight great-grandchildren. The Funeral will be held on Wednesday, May 23, at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center at LSU. Time and further specifics will be sent later. Please check local media for specifics. LSU meant more to him than anyone could ever know. It wasn’t the awards or the acknowledgements on the football field. His life was intertwined with the purple and gold, and it is fitting that the memorial service will be held at LSU. Pallbearers are Tim Byrd, Robert Becker, Cannon McWilliams, Jay McWilliams, Chris Graham, and Brad Black. Honorary pallbearers are his teammates of the 1958 National Championship Team, John R. Termini, Jeff Termini, the dental staff of La. State Penitentiary and Department of Corrections,Greer Thomas, Hayes Thomas, Dave Gallant and Damon Casemore.

The family would also like to acknowledge his teammates from LSU, the Termini family whom he and Dot shared over 60 years of friendship, and special friends Gayle Anders, Elnora Hall, Karen A. Deville, and Charles DeGravelles.