Cover photo for Carolyn Hayes McCannon's Obituary
Carolyn Hayes McCannon Profile Photo

Carolyn Hayes McCannon

August 16, 1925 — March 13, 2024

Smyrna, Georgia

Carolyn Hayes McCannon stepped peacefully through the gates of heaven in the early morning hours of March 13, 2024. 


Dedicated wife, devoted mother of three, adored grandmother of five, and effervescent great-grandmother, she leaves behind a legacy of love, devotion, strength, wisdom, and humor for all who knew and loved her. A woman of deep faith, Carolyn gave her life to Christ at the age of twelve in a tent revival. It was the beginning of a long love affair with Christ that held her securely throughout her long life.  She was often sought out for her spiritual advice and wisdom by friends, nieces, sisters, her children, and her grandchildren.  A woman of spiritual sight, she strived to always be loving, fair, and balanced. Forgiveness and reconciliation were core tenants of her sage advice. This is how she walked through the world and stepped into the next.   


Carolyn’s remarkable life spanned nearly 100 years of American and World events. Born on August 16, 1925, in Miami, Florida, she was the second of seven children, and the oldest daughter of Jennings Hayes of Camilla and Lucile Cochran Hayes of Cochran, Georgia. Carolyn achieved success early, graduating from Hillsboro high school in Tampa, Florida at the age of 16, two years ahead of her peers. Relocating to Atlanta, Georgia at seventeen, she lived in with her grandmother, Victoria Beulah Hayes in a twelve-bedroom home on Juniper Street with aunts, uncles, cousins, and other family members for eight years while working full-time and attending Georgia State University. During those years, her busy life included membership in Kappa Theta and Phi Chi Theta sororities and the Crimson Key Society. Additionally, she served as makeup artist for the Atlanta Theater Company for five years.A decerning and gifted “people person”, Carolyn’s early career in human resources included employment supervisor at Cluett, Peabody, and Co., Inc. and chief employment officer for Arrow Shirt company.  


Carolyn married Atlanta attorney, John Ralph McCannon in 1950. The pair settled in Ansley Park where they lived for several years. Carolyn’s husband, a retired WWII Naval Pilot and Jag officer, had remained on reserve after WWII, was called up during the Korean War. As an officer’s wife she was active in NWCA, hosting many dinners, dances, and events for the officer corps. 


During the Korean War Carolyn and John served in Michigan and Hawaii, before returning to the Atlanta metro area in 1959, where her husband resumed his law career after a catastrophic war injury. Carolyn, a dedicated wife, who had helped bring her husband back to life again, was now the mother of three small girls. Despite her domestic responsibilities, Carolyn, an artist at heart, raised funds for the High Museum of Art to enable its construction at Peachtree and 14th Street. She was actively involved in local and state politics and attended the inauguration of President Jimmy Carter as Georgia Governor in 1971. She served in various Garden and Women’s clubs, wrote commentaries for a wide variety of civic organizations, as well as for Rich’s Downtown Atlanta Store, Runway Fashion Shows. A gifted writer, her family and friends took joy in her humorous, heartwarming family stories and poetry.  No biography of Carolyn Hayes McCannon would be complete without mention of her remarkable interior design skills. Sought after by friends and family alike, Carolyn derived much joy from helping others create beauty in their homes. She was a livelong devotee to Architectural Digest.


In 1973 she began a real estate career. Within a few short years, Carolyn opened her own brokerage firm in Jonesboro, GA, the country seat where her husband served as Clayton County attorney for nearly 30 years. She retired her real estate license at the age of 80, after decades of success.


Carolyn’s diversity of spirit was seen in her spiritual life as well. Raised Methodist, she became a member of the First Baptist Church with her husband in 1959. In 1968 she moved her letter of membership to St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, under the Diocese of St. Phillips Cathedral of Atlanta, where her letter has remained for the past 57 years. An avid reader, Carolyn spent much time pursuing the deep spiritual mysteries of life through a variety of literature that extended to many disciplines and beliefs. As a Christ centered person, she sought to understand before being understood. And she always extended the olive branch first. 


Carolyn’s later years were spent, as all her years were, in devotion to family and friends, always lending a listening ear and a caring heart. Her wit and warmth were with her till the end. She will be deeply missed and always remembered as a rare and beautiful soul.


Carolyn is survived by her sisters Dorothy Chamberlain and Eleanor Philips, and her three daughters Nancy Schillo, Tricia and Beverly McCannon; grandchildren David Joseph McCannon, Elizabeth Schillo Plough, Jonathan Schillo, Carrie Schillo O’Brien, and Catherine Schillo Johnson; by great grandchildren Samantha and Madelyn Schillo, Aria and Logan Plough, and Elliott O’Brien; as well as by numerous nieces and nephews across the USA and Europe.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Carolyn Hayes McCannon, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Friday, April 5, 2024

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

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The Cathedral of St. Philip

2744 Peachtree Rd
Atlanta, GA 30305

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Saturday, April 6, 2024

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

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