CHARLA GATES CANNON
Charla Gates Cannon died peacefully at her home in Denver, CO on June 6, 2013 at the age of 93. Born in Denver on October 19, 1919, “Sparkie” (as she was known to her friends and family) was the daughter of Charles C. Gates, founder of the Gates Rubber Company and Denver native Hazel Rhoads Gates. She attended grammar and high school at Graland Country Day, Kent School for Girls in Colorado and Punahou School in Honolulu. Charla attended Bennett College in Millbrook, NY. Sparkie was an outdoor enthusiast who loved to travel and tend to her gardens in Denver and Evergreen. The Gates Family spent many years in Honolulu, and it was there that Sparkie acquired a deep love for the beauty of the islands’ flowers and appreciation for Asian art and culture. Along with a number of her siblings in the Gates family who became pilots, Sparkie obtained her pilot license and helicopter rating. She was the 110th woman helicopter pilot in the nation and a member of the Whirly-Girls, an organization for female pilots that was formed in 1955. Sparkie had the honor of flying Arnold Palmer, the winner of the U.S. Open at Cherry Hills, from Stapleton Airport to PGA headquarters in Cherry Creek. Sparkie married Brown Woodburn Cannon in 1941 and the two enjoyed a wonderful life that included raising their three sons. Sparkie had a variety of business interests including the first spa in Denver, aviation and agricultural pursuits in Wyoming, and gold mining. She was a supporter of the Denver Botanic Gardens, served as the first decorations chairwoman for the Denver Debutante Ball, and participated in a number of Denver’s notable civic organizations. The role she esteemed most, however, was that of wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Sparkie Cannon is survived by her sister LeBurta Gates Atherton of Honolulu, HI, sons Brown Woodburn Cannon, Charles Gates Cannon and Reynolds Gates Cannon, daughter-in-laws Mardi Cannon and Maureen Cannon, five granddaughters, two grandsons, a step-granddaughter, a step-grandson, four great-granddaughters and three great-grandsons. A Private Memorial Service is planned by her family. In lieu of flowers, the family would like contributions be given in the memory of Charla Gates Cannon to any of the following charities: The Denver Botanic Gardens; Colorado Talking Book Library; The Denver Museum of Nature and Science; and The Kempe Foundation for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse.