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Becker Funeral Home

OBITUARY

John P. Gannon

November 5, 1940October 4, 2021
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John P. Gannon, devoted husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, prominent business executive, and mentor died Monday, October 4, 2021 in Westwood, New Jersey, he was 80 years old. John, or “Jack” as known to many friends and colleagues, was born in Chicago, IL in 1940 as the first child of Marcella and John F. Gannon. At an early age, working odd jobs, delivering newspapers and bagging groceries at the local market, John displayed a motivation to succeed and a work ethic that would remain a constant hallmark of a successful and rewarding career in business.

When John was 25 years old his father, a Chicago Fireman, succumbed to illness, leaving John as the patriarch and father figure for 3 younger siblings.

It was these two elements, the internal drive and motivation to succeed coupled with the circumstance of becoming a de-facto father of 3 young children at an early age, that shaped a very young man into a highly motivated and family oriented person. If you are family or friend, John Gannon will defend and protect you at any and all cost. He was a fiercely loyal and devoted man.

Following High School at St. Ignatius, John married his high school sweetheart, Rita Kirkwood. In the four years that followed John and Rita welcomed two children, Mary Kay and Timothy, and moved from their apartment in Chicago to the suburb of Schaumburg.

During the early 1960’s John saw the advent and opportunity of computers in business and started his career as a computer programmer. Excelling in automating accounting, manufacturing and inventory processes, John rose into the ranks of management. In 1974 he moved his family from suburban Chicago to Northern New Jersey where he became the global head of information systems for a major semi-conductor manufacturer. In this capacity he was in the vanguard of globalization; forging business relationships in Europe and the Far East and going on to establish technology centers of excellence and state of the art manufacturing capabilities in places such as Taiwan, the Philippines and Western Europe. His successes did not go unnoticed and he was recruited to be the Leader of Management Information Systems for a major U.S. based oil company. In this role John continued to deliver innovations to drive business efficiency and value. John pushed the limits of the technology of the day to streamline and improve all aspects of the business. He was responsible for the successful deployment of super-computing technology for oil exploration and the introduction computerized gas pumps for inventory management and financial control.

In the early 1980’s John decided to realize his true dream and passion and established his own business. The Gannon Group, Inc. was originally established as a senior management consultancy and expanded over time to deliver business management software for middle-market manufacturing, distribution and advertising companies. John ultimately handed off the day to day operation of the business to his son, which freed his time to concentrate on his passion for consulting and focusing on turning around businesses in distress.

In 1989 John suffered the loss of his wife Rita. Shortly thereafter he divested himself from the Gannon Group and focused entirely on long term consulting engagements.

In 1995 John was blessed to marry Joanne Fitzpatrick in a moving ceremony witnessed by his children, grandchildren, and friends and family of his beautiful bride. John and Joanne went on to have almost 26 years together in a loving relationship surrounded with friends, family and grandchildren and a cat named Boxer. John was allergic to cats but, somehow, not this one and he loved Boxer.

Continuing his career, John focused his energy in mid-range manufacturing where he had grown to be an expert in the valve and fitting industry which landed him a leadership role with a top manufacturer. John and Joanne moved to Boxford, MA which afforded John a short commute to his Andover office. The couple built a beautiful home and enjoyed new friends, many trips to Boston and exploration of the quaint towns of New England. In his role there, John focused on mergers and acquisitions. Yet another example of how John continued to grow, learn and apply his experience to drive efficiency and business value.

In 2002, John and Joanne decided to return to New Jersey to be closer to friends and family. Taking up residence in Randolph, NJ, John reduced his workload to spend more time with Joanne and to attend the too numerous to mention school, extra-curricular, and sporting events that his six active grandchildren were constantly in engaged in. John and Joanne became fixtures at the grandchildren’s events and John (aka “Papa”) became well known for his healthy encouragement and vocal support of the kids and their teams.

A few years later John and Joanne decided to enter full retirement and opted for a lower maintenance lifestyle in moving to a managed community in Princeton. There, John took an active role in the homeowners association and ended up as its elected President. John and Joanne continued the relaxed life of retirement making new friends in the community, traveling, and attending events with the grandchildren. John was especially happy to have the opportunity to travel to Germany with Joanne to meet Joanne’s relatives and forge new long lasting relationships. John had traveled extensively throughout his business and personal life and he would love to talk about having new family in Germany. Throughout his life John was voracious reader: novels, history, and politics were his favorites. He loved sports - as a younger man he was a big baseball fan, witnessing a Chicago Cubs no-hitter by Kenny Holtzman in 1969. Later on you could find him at an occasional Jets or Giants game, and football was always on the TV on Sundays. The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame football games were never missed; either on TV or on an AM radio on the front porch while raking leaves in the front yard. Go Irish! John was on again and off again with his golf game, more off but he was always a gracious and fun playing partner. Several trips to France and California led to an interest in wine and the establishment of a small wine collection; just enough so that there was always an appropriate variety and vintage for a special occasion or holiday.

Time spent with friends could be playing pinochle, cribbage or nickel poker, dinner out, or a casual barbecue picnic in the backyard. If it was Friday evening, one might expect the chicken to be a little on the crispy side. Away from the grill his culinary skills were limited to the fried egg, the family famous ‘cheese a-la-Gannon’, and his much publicized (by himself) Cesar salad, which amazingly required Beefeaters gin (for the chef, not as an ingredient). He loved taco night, enough said on that one!

In business and in his personal life John was always generous with his time; to listen, to learn, to offer guidance, to help solve problems, to mentor for growth. He was an honest man, a friend to be trusted, a hand to hold, a shoulder to lean on, and great guy to have a beer with and chat. John loved his country, did complain about taxes a bit, but who doesn’t. He supported our military and provided support for veteran’s organizations. He was a patriot.

Following their time in the Princeton area John and Joanne decided to return to North Jersey, Woodcliff Lake, to be closer to family in the area. It’s in the nearby town of Westwood where John died peacefully, in the hospital, surrounded by Joanne and loving family members.

John is predeceased by his first wife, Rita Kirkwood, his sister, Marilou Dowd, and his brother, Kevin Gannon. He was the devoted father of Mary Kay Brezinsky and her husband, Tim; and Tim Gannon and his wife, Marybeth. Dear brother of Michael Gannon and his wife, Laurie. Loving grandfather of Lori, Bonnie, Julie, Maggie, Meghan and Patrick. Cherished great grandfather of Natalie, Mackenzie, Bria, Victoria and Levi. Beloved son-in-law Anne Quirsfeld (deceased), and beloved brother-in-law of Vaughn and Nancy Flower (deceased), their son Matthew, Don and Diane Mone, and Dawn and Al Kranzo.

Services

  • Visitation

    Sunday, October 10, 2021

  • Funeral Mass

    Monday, October 11, 2021

  • Committal Service

    Monday, October 11, 2021

Memories

John P. Gannon

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Frank Maniaci

October 12, 2021

So sorry for your loss.
Sincerely,
Frank E.Maniaci

SYLVIA FREDERICK

October 8, 2021

My prayers go out to the entire family. All the B's May you find peace and comfort in all the memories you hold dear to your heart. xoxo

Mary and Kevin Fitzpatrick

October 8, 2021

Our hearts go out to Joanne, John’s son and daughter Tim and Mary Kay, and the entire Gannon family. We fondly remember our warm weather dinners on the patio, John ‘s love of blue-cheese stuffed olives and Beefeater’s gin, his enthusiasm for the “greatest movie ever made” The Quiet Man, his eternal optimism, and the love and pride he had in his grandchildren who he never failed to mention! You will be greatly missed, John. God bless!

Maggie Brezinsky

October 7, 2021

I have so many happy memories of Papa. He was crazy to sit through endless hours of swim meets, braved us wild children sleeping over, and would drive hours to visit us in college just to take us to lunch. I will remember him with a big smile on his face, a cold beefeaters in his hand, and big stain from dip on his button down shirt. Love you Papa.

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