GANNON, JOHN A. (September 16, 1923 - May 31, 1997) was a Cleveland firefighter and union leader who, in 1985, spearheaded the creation of the John A. Gannon Trauma Center as part of the Comprehensive Burn Care Center at METROHEALTH.
Born to Patrick and Mary (Johnson) Gannon, Gannon was raised by his mother’s family after his mother’s early death. Gannon’s father, who immigrated to Cleveland with his parents at the age of 2, became a GARFIELD HEIGHTS police chief and lived to the age of 103. John Gannon earned an undergraduate degree at Miami University of Ohio, with additional studies at the University of Glasgow, CLEVELAND STATE UNIVERSITY, and BALDWIN-WALLACE UNIVERSITY. He also served three years in a Navy intelligence unit in Europe during WWII.
In 1949, Gannon followed his father into the safety forces. For ten of his thirty years as a Cleveland firefighter, he served as president of Local 93 of the AFL-CIO-affiliated International Association of Firefighters (IAFF). He was elected to the Executive Council of the AFL-CIO and served as Vice President. As national IAFF President from 1980 to 1988, representing firefighters across the United States and Canada, Gannon expanded the IAFF’s policy and research roles in occupational safety and advanced the development of the IAFF Burn Foundation. He went on to serve as chairman of the National Joint Council of Fire Service Organizations. He was recognized by the Irish American Archives Society as a 1997 WALKS OF LIFE Honoree for his advocacy for burn care medicine at Metrohealth, which helped establish the hospital as a regional, state, and national leader in trauma care.
Service on the board of the Muscular Dystrophy Association led to Gannon’s appointment to the National Council on Disability by President Ronald Reagan in 1989. He was later reappointed by President George H.W. Bush and named acting chairman of the council by President Bill Clinton.
John A. Gannon had four children with his first wife, Nora McNeela; Patrick, Michael, Ann Gannon Brutvan, and Maureen Gannon Hennessy. After the death of his first wife in 1984, Gannon married Dorothy Wilbur. For many years he divided his time between Northeast Ohio and Washington, D.C. John A Gannon passed away in 1997 at the age of 83 and is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in BROOK PARK, OH.
Daniel Brennan and David Patrick Ryan