SOUTH BRUNSWICK – The South Brunswick High School community is mourning the loss of one of its teachers.
Sean Padraic Cannon passed away on March 18 at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick after a brief illness. He was 52.
After graduating South River High School, Cannon attended Rutgers University and was a member of the Scarlet Knights Marching Band and Mu Upsilon Alpha, the band fraternity, according to his obituary from Carmen F. Spezzi & Maliszewski Funeral Homes.
He continued his education, obtaining his Master’s in Education, also from Rutgers University.
Cannon spent most of his 25-year teaching career as a history teacher at South Brunswick High School (SBHS). He shared his love of history to classes of freshmen learning about civics, juniors and seniors taking AP History and AP Government classes, and fellow teachers through impromptu rounds of trivia at lunchtime, according to the obituary.
“I am just so heartbroken. I really can’t find the right words to express how much this hurts. Cannon was my first government and politics teacher and one of my biggest cheerleaders in the pursuit of my legal career. His class left a huge impact on me. Twelve years later, I still have the textbook sitting on my bookshelf,” one former student wrote on the funeral home’s website.
“Mr. Cannon was one of my favorite teachers at SBHS. I always looked forward to his classes. He always made learning fun and memorable. I will miss his kindness and his great sense of humor. When I was inducted into National Honor Society, Mr. Cannon gave me a book ‘The Essential Writings of Machiavelli’. This book means a lot to me and always has a place on my bookshelf. Whenever I skim the bookshelf and see the book, I think of Mr. Cannon. He truly had an enormous impact on his students and will be sorely missed,” another student wrote.
“Mr. Cannon was such an icon of SBHS. Anyone in my twenties that I meet who was raised in South Brunswick always asks, “But did you have Mr. Cannon??” I’ll never forget the way he explained war tactics or just told us hilarious anecdotes of daily life. Other teachers were always focused on grades and performance, but Mr. Cannon was only focused on intellectual development and learning. He brought quiet self-conscious kids out of their shells, humbled the loud prideful ones, and created a platform where students and teachers were on the same playing field without having a superiority complex. I still cherish my class memories with him today. The world lost a spectacular, humorous genius today,” another student wrote.
An amateur chef, Cannon would offer cooking lessons to whomever needed and would share his creations at staff potlucks and after school events, according to the obituary.
Superintendent of Schools Scott Feder offered a comment to the Sentinel, saying, “We were very saddened to learn of the passing of this beloved member of our faculty. Sean was a member of our high school staff for over 20 years and he made such a lasting impression on every life that he touched. He was so loved by his students and staff alike. He taught with such a passion that students so desired to be in his classes every year. He will be so missed by everyone and he leaves us with heavy hearts.”
Calling hours at the Maliszewski Funeral Home, 218 Whitehead Ave., South River, will be Sunday, March 21, from 2-6 p.m. Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, a maximum of 50 visitors will be allowed in the funeral home at once and masks must be worn at all times.
Funeral services will be Monday, March 22, at 9:30 a.m. from the funeral home, with a 10 a.m. Mass at Corpus Christi RC Church in South River.
Burial will follow at New Calvary Cemetery in Parlin.
Complete funeral arrangements, letters of condolence and directions are available at www.maliszewskifuneralhome.com.