James Gannon MD, 97, of Rogers, Arkansas passed away March 18, 2020, at Circle of Life Hospice in Bentonville, Arkansas. He was born August 17, 1922 in Arnolds Park, Iowa to Leo and Helen Schmitz Gannon.
He served in the Navy as a co-pilot and navigator on a B-24 Liberator bomber based on Iwo Jima. He flew 17 missions along coastal Japan destroying 4 heavily armed boats and 3 picket boats with low level bombing. Additionally, he flew several missions flying 50-100 feet above the ocean into the eye of typhoons to chart their location for the fleet. He won 3 distinguished flying medals.
In his youth, he was at best a casual student. In flight training, he realized that he was as smart (or smarter) than the college kids he was in flight school with. After WW2, he decided to study medicine with the GI Bill. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Iowa, then completed medical school there in 1953.
After completing his internship at Kansas City General Hospital on June 30, 1954, he married Shirley Anne Jose July 1, 1954. They opened his family practice clinic in Laurens, Iowa where he practiced until June 1989. He took care of people at all hours, on call 365 days a year. He saw patients, many without means to pay. No child was ever sent away untreated. He received the Iowa High School Athletic Association Doctor of the year award in 1984 for his work as team doctor for the Laurens-Marathon school.
He was an avid fisherman enjoying many fishing trips to Canada with his friends and family. He loved horses. He was a president of the Iowa Saddle Horse association. He was active in community service as a member of the lions club. He was on the state board of nursing home examiners for 8 years.
In later life, he enjoyed exercising (and chatting) with his friends at the Wellness Center well past his 97th birthday.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Shirley and his children, Kathy, Michael (and wife Gayle), and Patrick (and wife, Linda). Additionally, he is survived by his brother, Harold Gannon. He was preceded in death by his parents; 3 brothers and 3 sisters. He valued family above everything else. We will always remember his quick wit, his lively expression, his warmth, and tenacious work ethic. He was a great guy to have on your side in any endeavor.
His family wants to thank the many people who continued to support him and Shirley after he began to lose his fight with Alzheimer’s disease. The family plans a memorial service at Central United Methodist Church in Rogers after the coronavirus restrictions are lifted. Additionally, a celebration of life is planned for this summer at Lake Okiboji, Iowa.
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