Obituaries – 12-19-2018

Thelma L. Clark

Thelma L Clark, died Dec. 5.

She was born July 12, 1930, in Tampa and was a graduate from Hillsborough High School.

A graveside service was held Dec. 11 at Myrtle Hill Memorial Park in Tampa. Blount & Curry Funeral Home at Garden of Memories was in charge of arrangements.

She is survived by her daughters, Linda Scott and husband Larry of Anna Maria and Susan; grandchildren Amy Stickler and husband Eric and Shawn Duytschaver and wife Julia; great-grandchildren Cory, Tyler, Bradley, Lola, Marlin, Finn, and Bosun; and great-great grandchild Rylee.


Geraldine Grace Cannon

Geraldine Grace Cannon (Gentle), 84, of Holmes Beach, died Dec. 17. She was born Dec. 11, 1934, in Chicago, the only child of Robert and Louise Gentle.

She was a graduate of Chicago’s University of St. Francis Leach College of Nursing and dedicated her life to helping others. Her passions included the church, travel, gardening and animals.

She had many friends and was a visible volunteer for island events too numerous to list, but including the Roser Thrift Store, Wildlife Inc., ushering at concerts and plays, and portraying Annie Silver in island celebrations.

Few people realize that she was a major, though largely unsung figure in U.S. jurisprudence during her extensive career in nursing. Her career began with graduation from nursing school, including work as a surgical nurse and culminating in a 20-year career as a visiting community nurse in South Chicago. All this was done while raising her five children and two grandchildren.

An early “mommy-track” professional, her ultimate career goal was to become a doctor. When her children were older, she returned to college and took the MCATS, performing well enough to apply to the prestigious University of Chicago Medical School at age of 39. Her application was rejected.

Research showed that she had performed well above many male counterparts that were accepted that year, but there was no federal protection against age discrimination.

However, her attorney-husband John Cannon understood that her denial had a disparate impact on women who wanted to attend medical school and raise a family, so he filed suit on his wife’s behalf under Title IX on the basis of sex discrimination. The case of Geraldine Cannon v. The University of Chicago School of Medicine advanced to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1979, the court decided the narrow issue of whether or not Geraldine Cannon had the right as an individual to sue under Title IX. She won.

Her win did not result in the realization of her personal goals, as she was later denied admission once again based on her age. However, Geraldine Cannon’s legal win paved the way for all subsequent individual causes under Title IX.

She didn’t realize the importance of the case until in April, when she was awarded the Legacy Award by SurvJustice in Washington, D.C., a nonprofit devoted to providing legal support to Campus Victims of Sexual Assault.

A gathering of more than 200 people, largely attorneys and national women’s rights advocates, gave her and John Cannon, in absentia, a standing ovation. In her acceptance speech, she gave credit to her husband, who had worked so hard on her behalf and all who were under represented in the law.

The Cannons did not realize in the late 1970s that the case would become a landmark victory in the cause of women’s rights and of critical importance in the 21st  century. That April night, national figures met and congratulated Geri Cannon for her efforts. The highest compliment came from an attorney who, surveyed the packed conference hall and stated that everyone in that room had a job because of her. Gracious, gentle Geri Cannon was a roaring legal cannon.

Services will be held at St. Bernard Catholic Church, 248 S. Harbor Drive, Holmes Beach, at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 22. Lunch will be served following services.

Memorial donations may be made to Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Center, 2207 Ave. B, Bradenton Beach FL 34217.

She was preceded in death by her first husband, John M. Cannon, and her daughter Jeanne L. Lipsky. She was fortunate enough to find love again in her partner of 25 years, Dale Romesburg, moving from Chicago to Homes Beach in 1998. She was blessed with five children John, Hugh, Mary Gold, Joseph and Jeanne, 10 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.


Shirley M. Zemmer

Shirley M. Zemmer, 88, of Bradenton, died Dec. 8. She was born in Detroit Oct. 14, 1930, and was the only child of the late George and Theresa (Rosenboom) Madison.

She graduated from Eastern Michigan University and married her best friend, Richard “Dick” Zemmer, a pharmacist, in 1951. They began their life together choosing to raise their four children in Lapeer, Michigan, and spent many years in business giving back to their community

She began her career as a teacher and went on to own four Hallmark card and gift stores. Her commitment to community was reflected by her involvement in many organizations, including as a founding member and president of The Nursery School.

She and her husband were accomplished travelers and enjoyed all that life had to offer.

The past several years, she made Bradenton her home, where she loved the beach, entertaining friends, playing golf and bridge, attending the theater and spending time with family.

She was an active member of AAUW, PEO, Roser Church, Sigma, Sigma, Sigma and a past member of the Bradenton Country Club.

Mrs. Zemmer touched the lives of many with her smile, indomitable spirit and true appreciation of the little things in life that she never took for granted.

Of all her accomplishments, she was most proud of, and deeply loved, her family.

Her devotion to her family and her firm belief in God ultimately gave her peace.

A graveside service will be held in Michigan. Memorial donations may be made to Tidewell Hospice, Philanthropy Department, 5955 Rand Blvd., Sarasota FL 34238.

Mrs. Zemmer is survived by children, Rick and wife Nancy of Metamora, Michigan, Ron and wife Susan of White Lake, Michigan, Lynn and husband Paul of Bradenton, and John and wife Debbie of Lake Orion, Michigan; grandchildren Ericka, Ryan and wife Danielle, Skylar, Andrew and wife Kathleen, Adam, Jonathan and wife Kylie and Haley and husband Nick; great-grandchildren Mackenzie, Zoey, Madeline and Abigail.

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