Joann E. Canning, 46: Compassionate caregiver

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FREEPORT — Joann Elizabeth Canning, 46, died suddenly Jan. 14, at her home. Canning was born March 11, 1969, to James Kinsey Jackson and Carol Elizabeth Hudgins Jackson in Falls Church, Virginia. Her family moved to Rockville, Maryland, when she was a baby.

Throughout her childhood, Canning spent many summers at her beloved aunt’s horse ranch in Aubrey, Texas, where she developed a deep and long lasting passion for horses and became an expert equestrian. Canning was also a talented athlete who enjoyed skiing, sailing, swimming, tennis, basketball, and soccer. She was a goalie and although she was petite, Canning was feisty, and her size never hindered her ability to compete with the best.

She graduated in 1992 from West Virginia Wesleyan with a bachelor’s degree in political science. Canning earned a master’s degree in recreation therapy in 1994 from the University of Utah, where she met Michael Canning. The couple married in Nags Head, North Carolina in June 1997 and made their home in Freeport and Sugar Loaf. Canning worked to help brain-injured clients at acute brain injury rehabilitation centers, where she helped many clients learn how to embrace their new reality and find joy.

Canning was then hired at Bowdoin College in Brunswick as the assistant dean of accommodations, but when her daughter was a toddler, she decided to stay at home and nurture her family. Canning was described as compassionate, charismatic, brilliant, beautiful and talented.

Canning is survived by her husband, Michael Canning; her daughters, Clare and Fiona; her parents, James and Carol Jackson; a sister, Janet Lee Jackson Ranheim; a niece, Kirsten and a nephew, Jackson, along with several aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.

There was a celebration of life Jan. 21 at Stetson’s Funeral Home, 12 Federal St., Brunswick, followed by a reception at The Brunswick Hotel. Memorial donations may be made to the Fiona and Clare Canning Education Fund, c/o Jennifer Libby, TD Bank, 10 Tibbetts Dr., Suite 100, Brunswick, ME 04011.