Remembering LSU Great Billy Cannon on the sixth anniversary of his passing

LSU Great Billy Cannon. Photo by LSU Athletics

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Six years ago today, one of the greatest football players ever, LSU’s own Billy Cannon, passed away. Cannon’s daughter, Bunnie, remembered her Dad today with a post on her personal Facebook page. Because we are “friends,” – Bunnie and I, I asked her for permission to publish her note. I wanted every reader and every football fan everywhere to be able to see Bunnie’s thoughts. Thank you, Bunnie. Rest assured, no one will ever forget No. 20, not today. Not ever.)

On this day six years ago, my dad passed away at his farm in St. Francisville.  He was with those he held closest…my mom, his horses, and what he called “God’s Country”, his farm. 

Not a day goes by without me smiling and laughing when thinking about him.  Of course, we butted heads most of our lives, but in the last 20 years of his life, I realized we were more alike than different.

Genetics is a crazy thing.  And the older I get, the more I am like him.  And I find myself saying things he would have said. 

Most people thought they knew him.  They assumed he was cocky, competitive, and even an asshole.  Can’t tell you how many times I heard that through the years.

He was wickedly funny, could zing you with a one-liner faster than anyone.  He was smart.  Not just smart.  But crazy smart.  He was both left brain and right brain.  He could quote dates and times of any figure in history and tell you the significance of the person and the date.  He could also be very scientific as he was a dentist, orthodontist, and oral surgeon.

He was quirky too.  He wouldn’t pay .75 cents for a bag of ice – but would pay $75,000 for a tractor.  He always needed three different things on his plate.  Maybe that stemmed from growing up during the depression.  He didn’t care what it was — as long as it was three different things. 

We shared a love of Baskin Robbins Ice Cream.  He loved Cherry Burgandy and Black Walnut.  We should have purchased stock in that company for sure.

He was one of the most generous and caring people you would have ever met.  While it seemed he had a rough exterior – his inside was mushy.  I can’t tell you the number of patients he treated for free.  How many scholarships he paid for – for LSU Football before there were priority points and TAF.  He would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it and often he did.  Even when he was struggling and didn’t have anything back In the late 80’s – he would travel to do benefits, sign autographs, or go see a sick kid in the hospital. 

No, he wasn’t a saint – but it has become my life’s mission to let the world know who he really was, what he really stood for and for those who thought they knew him… you really didn’t.

I am working on a movie, a documentary, a trophy in his name and looking for a place to permanently display his football collection.  Why? Because he loved the people of Louisiana, Baton Rouge and LSU.  And everything we do will benefit those three things.

Before I die all those things will be done.  And maybe you all will have a better idea of who Billy Cannon was and what he really stood for. 

So today on May 20, 2024.  I refuse to be sad. I will celebrate him.  I will celebrate ‘the him’ I have in me (which is more than I am still willing to acknowledge).

I love you.  I know you are with your mom, dad, brother and many, many friends.  Save a spot for me, not anytime soon though!

Everyone have a wonderful day and when you see the date today…May 20…Remember #20! – Bunnie

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Todd Horne

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