Cannon talks retirement after decades-long career

By: Nick Powers | Fraser-Clinton Chronicle | Published April 11, 2024

 Clinton Township Supervisor Bob Cannon is not seeking reelection this fall. Cannon holds the record for longest serving member on the board of trustees at 40 years.

Clinton Township Supervisor Bob Cannon is not seeking reelection this fall. Cannon holds the record for longest serving member on the board of trustees at 40 years.

Photo provided by Clinton Township


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Township Supervisor Bob Cannon, who has served on the Clinton Township Board of Trustees for 40 years, is not seeking reelection this fall.

Cannon was first elected to the board in 1984 as a Democrat. He switched his party affiliation to Republican when he ran for supervisor in 2000.

“Party politics then and now are not my concern,” Cannon is quoted as saying in a press release. “I just want to do what’s best for the community and the people of Clinton Township. I was a trustee for 16 years and the supervisor for 24, both records in terms of time, but I’ll be 76 years old at the time of the next election, and it’s time for me to spend more time with my family.”

Cannon holds the record for longest-serving member on the Clinton Township Board of Trustees. He beat out Otto Duckwitz, who was on the board from 1898 to 1917.

“I think my success in being here so long is the fact that I’ve had a good staff working with me,” Cannon said in an interview following the announcement.

One of five children, he grew up in St. Clair Shores and graduated from Lakeview High School. A four-sport athlete, he was on the track, baseball, basketball and football teams for the Huskies. He went on to earn a master’s degree in business administration from Wayne State University where he also played baseball.

While playing baseball at Wayne State, he shattered his left arm. Repairing it took several surgeries over a 13-month span. This sidelined him from serving in Vietnam, but it didn’t prevent him from being an advocate for veterans.

“I see friends from high school and new friends from the VVA 154 (Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 154) struggling with issues because of their time in the service, so I have a big soft spot in my heart for them, which has influenced my enthusiasm to help retired veterans wherever I can,” Cannon said in a press release.

When Nick and Karen Straffon advocated to have a memorial for Gold Star families, Cannon jumped at the opportunity. The memorial honoring families who have lost a loved one serving on active duty in the United States military is one of two in Michigan. The issue was personal for him.

“I grew up in a Gold Star family,” Cannon said. “My uncle, who I was named after, was killed. He was (in) a bomber over Germany and was shot down. I know what it’s like to have the pain of losing someone and having the families grieve.”

It’s difficult to sum up 40 years, but Cannon highlighted bringing Partridge Creek Mall to Clinton Township, forming the Clinton-Macomb Public Library and the widening of Cass Avenue from Groesbeck Highway to Hall Road.

“That was a project I was told would never be accomplished,” Cannon said of the widening. “Thanks to Sandy Levin and many others, that was accomplished.”

One accomplishment in particular Cannon highlighted, which took over 24 years, was making sure sewer water was not discharged into the Clinton River and Lake St. Clair. This led to a state-issued administrative consent order to end the discharges during heavy rains.

“(Public Services Director) Mary Bednar was the architect behind that,” Cannon said. “After $33 million plus, we now have a system that is in compliance with the state. We are very proud of it.”

In addition to his work in government, Cannon was a teacher for 25 years for Utica Community Schools.

Since 1988, he’s been married to Cheryl (Vecchio). The two have four children and four grandchildren.

In retirement, Cannon plans to spend time with his grandchildren. He intends to travel with his wife, but still wants to be involved in Clinton Township. This includes continuing to serve on several other boards and through volunteer work.

“This is a community I worked hard in, that many people have worked hard to help me in,” Cannon said. “I will continue to make sure we do the best we possibly can with our limited resources. I am not going away.”