Editor’s note: Tim Cannon left his home on the morning of July 8, 2018, telling his wife, Amy, he was heading into the mountains he loved for a day hike. When he failed to return, Amy called the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office, which sparked a massive, days-long search for the beloved husband, father, brother and a cherished member of the Telluride community. He was found dead on Ruffner Mountain on July 26, the apparent victim of a fall.
Sweet Timothy James, born on the shores of Lake Michigan in the gales of November, the 17th day, in 1962. It’s a month known for swings in temperatures, capacious cloudiness and long moods of autumn. Rains fall but the secret of Lake Michigan waters this month whisper warm and the cold arctic air brushes its ocean-like surface to yield occasional lake effect snow showers. This miraculous baby boy, born in a fierce Lake Michigan November, arrived braced to run with the wings of wind.
Muskegon captured his boyhood heart. With his big brother George, they sailed Butterfly and Hobie Cat boats over white caps on Mona Lake, where their family home hugged shores, through its west channel into the big lake. He and his sister Carolyn, just a couple of goobers, played on these shores. For Tim, the Earth started back then when like the dark lake itself, he was part of it, wore home the woodsy dirt on his pants earning “Black butt” as a second name. Tennis and golf occupied other dedicated hours with a natural’s mastery and elegant swings that made it look like the sports were made just for Tim.
Tim launched his tremendous running career at the fabulous Cranbrook Schools in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, won victories in both the mile and two-mile, competing as a freshman at the state level, breaking the mile record with a time of 4 minutes, 22.6 seconds as a sophomore, earning All-American status as a junior. In college, an impressive running career at University of Notre Dame, he was always one of the top performers all four years, earning letters in track and cross country. His senior year he led the cross country team to nationals for the first time in over 20 years. Teammates unanimously voted Tim Most Valuable Team Member.
His love of beauty and adventure, a study of the great books and a fresh degree from Notre Dame brought him to Telluride in 1985. Soon after he had children, left for three years, became a banker, returned to open Pitkin County Trust in the little train car on Main Street, cycling through five banks, serving as president of Bank of Telluride (aka U.S. Bank in Telluride, Mt. Village and Norwood), and accepting an opportunity as a mortgage loan officer to become the longest serving and most respected banker in Telluride’s history. Fourteen years after he first arrived in Telluride, he met and then married his wife Amy.
Tim and Amy joined their spirits in marriage on an icy cold bluebird day in February, outside, at Greyhead on Deep Creek Mesa, with the splendor of Wilson Peak clapping for them in its Colorado Rocky Mountain majesty. As Mr. and Mrs. Timothy J. Cannon, they rode away, on Roudy’s horses, while their children and friends witnessed and waved to them in their beautiful blue Scandinavian sweaters, Amy sidesaddle, wearing a long blue satin skirt with black cowboy boots, Tim in elegant black wool trousers, their huge smiles, the charmed nature of their continuum, their extraordinary love.
In the San Juans, Tim’s racing career kept blooming with victories and top finishes in races, including The Hardrock 100, Get High, Sneffles Highline, Ophir Hill Climb, Imogene Pass Run, Kendall Mountain Run and more, always with Amy, his very own cheerleader. Sometimes the two would run the same races. At the start of the Imogene, Tim ran to his rightful place at the lead heading toward Lower Camp Bird, yelling back over his shoulder, “Amy! I love you!!” winning his permanent place in her heart as crush, tough guy, her rock, flawless, even signed Amy up to pace him in his Hardrock 100s. On every level, Tim couldn’t be beat.
A member of Christ Presbyterian Church since the days of Reverend Bill Cox, Tim sang songs with his melodious tenor voice — the lyrics meant something to him in front of the open congregation.
Fascinated with rocks, Tim learned about the dramatic San Juans; knew his way in them, the demands, intricacies, dangers, trails, history. He collected 24 tons of rock himself (and one rattlesnake) to build their dream house. Their home with native materials, trails Tim built for Amy to ride and run is a lasting monument to Tim’s love of both his marriage, their very own home, seeped in nature. Tim spoiled and blessed Amy with love.
Tim was strong and handsome. He will be remembered for his warmth, pride, humility, his diplomacy and thoughtfulness with clients, associates and friends. He served this community with the ethics of being public spirited. He was eloquent, powerful and honest, an individual, intelligent, a very kind person. Tim always tried his best. He gave and earned respect, loved justice. Once Tim made his mind up, there was no challenging it. Tim’s smile, Tim’s laugh. Tim’s determination, his gift of humor, ready to turn a bite into the shape of a smile. (“Can we just talk about hair?”) He volunteered, cycled for charities, offered himself in service to many in recovery from addiction. If a person took Tim up as a sponsor, his life had a chance to become a moving success, too. Tim was fun-loving, yet he was his own fiercest competitor, in the zone, challenging himself to his maximum. He’d achieved many dreams and personal desires, was a faithful, devoted, loving and desired husband and father. He worked daily in ways large and small to care for his wife, their family and animals. He made everything special for them, felt deep gratitude for his beautiful life of recovery, secured in love of unbounded proportions from his intimate family with their wild adventures. Tim was in his prime.
Tim is survived by his family, the love of his life, his wife, Amy Cannon; and his steadfast children, Morgan and Erin Pihl whom he loved deeply and who miss Tim immeasurably, and John and Lindsey Cannon whom he loved and wished to have happy, healthy lives. He’s missed by their sweet Rhodesian ridgeback dog, KoKo, who rises to the sounds of someone approaching with high hopes of Tim coming home. Their cat, Carmelo, aka Baby Kitty, misses him and loved best to curl up on Tim’s lap, like no other, digging her nails into his thin khaki pants, as he shrieked, testing his love tolerance. Their magnificent horses, Lad and Katie, miss their kind friend but seem to understand Tim has flown, like Pegasus, the mythical winged divine stallion, to the great beyond.
Friends around Telluride and scattered over the United States miss Tim.
His proud parents, whom he honored, Mr. and Mrs. George W. and Mary Ellen Cannon Jr., of Muskegon and Ocean Ridge, Florida, predeceased Tim.
In addition to Amy, Morgan, Erin, John and Lindsey, he had five siblings, including his brother George and sister Carolyn who remained close and respectful to Tim his whole life.
The ceremony to honor Tim will take place Saturday at 2 p.m. at El Prado Ranch on Wilson Mesa. For directions or questions, contact Amy Cannon at
Donations are encouraged to San Miguel County Colorado, SAR, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Wild Earth Guardians, Just For Kids Foundation, and The Humane Society of the United States, earmarked for protection of wolves in Michigan.