May 16, 1916 – Dec. 25, 2009
Planes flown: PT-17, BT-13, AT-6, B-24, B-26
Training Location: Avenger Field (Sweetwater, Tex.)
Assigned bases: Luke Field (Goodyear, Ariz.)
Helen was born May 16, 1916, in Cameron, Wis., to Helena Reich Case and Walter Case. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Helen taught school and financially helped her sisters complete their education and saved the rest for flying lessons. To get more flying time, she went to work at an airport in Huron, S.D., as the chief mechanic’s right-hand dope applier. In 1944, she joined the Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP). Helen was stationed at Luke Field, Ariz., where she met her husband, Robert O. “Bob” Cannon Jr. She was a test pilot for the AT-6s and ferried PT 17s. After the WASP disbanded, she taught flying at Stephens College in Columbia, Mo. She and Bob were married in Los Angeles in 1946 and moved to Las Vegas where Bob resumed his career in the hotel industry. A resident of Las Vegas for 63 years, Helen became involved in community and volunteer work. She was past president of Junior League, an active member of United Fund, Family Counseling Agency, past council safety chairman for the P.T.A., and a former member of Valley Hospital Board of Governors. In 1961, she flew in the Powder Puff Derby, a coast-to-coast women’s air race. She served 20 years on the Clark County School Board, holding positions of clerk, vice president and president. In 1976 the Helen C. Cannon Middle School (Las Vegas) dedicated in her honor. She said, “The only reason the School Board exists is to serve the children.” She was past president of the Nevada State School Board Association, inducted into the Nevada Interscholastic Athletic Activities Hall of Fame, past member of the Nevada Educational Communications Commission, an honorary member of Delta Kappa Gamma, and an adult literacy tutor. Helen taught swimming lessons for the Red Cross, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. In 1976, the Helen C. Cannon Middle School was dedicated in her honor. She was active at the school, enjoyed their concerts and once taught a course in principles of flight to students there. She was a dedicated golfer; winning many tournaments and was Southern Nevada Women’s Golf champion and Nevada State Women’s Golf champion. She was the first president of the Nevada State Women’s Golf Association. In 2004, the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame inducted her as a member. Helen was an avid woodworker, and even made her own bows and arrows when she was a camp counselor during and after college. She enjoyed the company and the mind stimulation of playing bridge. She was a member of the Methodist Church and taught Sunday school.