David J. Cannon, a well-known figure in Milwaukee’s legal community, died Tuesday after a lengthy illness.
Cannon was a partner at Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, Milwaukee, and previously served as Milwaukee County district attorney and U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
“He was a great mentor to me,” said Josh Gimbel, a partner at Michael Best. “He always said it like it is, and never took himself too seriously. And he cared about his clients. He was a good, honest lawyer with the highest integrity.”
A 1960 graduate of Marquette University Law School, Cannon practiced with his two brothers at Cannon & Cannon for six years before joining the district attorney’s office. Two years later, he was appointed district attorney by then-Gov. Warren Knowles, but lost the position to E. Michael McCann in an election later that year.
The following year, Cannon was appointed U.S. Attorney by then-President Richard Nixon.
In 1973, he joined Michael Best to organize its litigation practice area. He was awarded lifetime achievement awards by the Milwaukee Bar Association in 2000 and Marquette University Law School earlier this year.
Chuck Graupner, a partner at Michael Best, praised Cannon as a great mentor to him and many people at the firm.
“He taught us a lot, more by example than by edict. He taught us to shut up and listen — a rule I’ve tried to follow,” Graupner said.
Gimbel said Cannon was known at the firm as “the Enola Gay of Name Droppers” due to his wide circle of friends.
“He knew every lawyer in town, or their parents,” Gimbel said.
Visitation will be held Monday at Gesu Catholic Church, 1145 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, from 3 p.m. until the Mass of Christian Burial at 5:30 p.m.. A reception will follow at Marquette University Law School, Ray and Kay Eckstein Hall.