Francis Xavier Gannon, “Frank,” 69, of Demorest, GA, passed away peacefully in his home on December 20, 2019. Frank was born in Camden, NJ and along with his brother Bud and sister Mary, was raised by his loving parents, Bernie and Anne, in Pennsauken, NJ. He attended Camden Catholic High School before enrolling at Belmont Abbey College. It was here that he met his beloved wife, Paulette. They transferred together to the University of Georgia, where Frank earned a B.A. and a M.A. in English Literature.
In 1979 they moved to Tallulah Falls, GA where Frank taught English at the Tallulah Falls School for 18 years. They had two daughters, Aimee and Annie, before moving to Demorest, GA and having a son, Francis Xavier.
In addition to teaching many high school students Shakespeare, Keats, and Joyce, Frank also coached basketball and directed the One Act Play competition at the school. Frank also taught at Piedmont College and edited the Habersham Review. While Frank was a gifted and very popular teacher, his first love was the written word and Frank had an exceptional career as a writer. He published four books. The first three, “Yo,Poe,” “Vanna Karenina,” and “All About Man,” are collections of humorous and satirical essays about life including a comparison between “Hamlet” and South Jersey, the Southern mind and our love of tangled symbols in the wood, and the ironies of the Big Chill generation. His fourth book, “Midlife Irish, Discovering My Family and Myself,” brought Frank back to his Irish essence and a journey to the home of his parents, Bernie and Anne, in County Mayo.
He was also a frequent contributor to The New Yorker, Harpers, the New York Times Magazine, National Review, Vogue, The Atlantic, and GQ. He loved writing pieces about boxers for GQ. He captured such personas as Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield with humor and astuteness. He dedicated each of his four books to his wife, his children, and his siblings, and they are forever grateful to have this eternal gift of his words.
Frank was diagnosed with MDS in July of 2018. He is survived by his wife, Paulette, his daughter, Aimee, his daughter, Annie, and son-in-law, Aaron. Also his grandchildren, Jude and August, his sister, Mary, his half sister, Chris, his nephews Dennis, Jr, and Buddy, his nieces Heather and Melanie, and many loving in-laws. He is predeceased by his brother, Bud, and his precious son, Francis Xavier.
His family and friends miss him immensely but feel grateful for the memories in Wildwood, NJ, Saint Simons Island, St. Augustine, FL and many dinner parties with friends full of laughter and fun. In addition to his published words, they will always carry his sense of humor, his wit, his story-telling, his boundless intellect, and his devotion to his family in their hearts. His family will hold a private memorial.
Arrangements by Hillside Memorial Chapel & Gardens, Clarkesville, Georgia. 706-754-6256
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