Verna Mae Cann, social services worker

Verna Mae Peacock Cann, a retired social worker and church musician, died of congestive heart failure Aug. 27 at Sinai Hospital. The Parkton resident was 81.

Born Verna Mae Peacock in Durham, N.C., she was the daughter of James Otis Peacock and Christine Smith Peacock. She attended Durham public schools and the Mary Potter Academy, a boarding school, before she moved to Baltimore at age 16.

She completed adult evening school at City College. She also had an associate of arts degree from Baltimore City Community College. At 62, she enrolled at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and studied fine arts.

Mrs. Cann worked at the YMCA on Franklin Street and the city's Department of Housing and Community Development before becoming a supervisor at the Maryland State Department of Social Services, where she retired nearly 20 years ago.

In 1952, she met and married Raymond Freeman Cann, a stevedore. They resided on Payson Street in West Baltimore.

A church musician and choir director who also played the piano, she performed at Pentecostal churches in Baltimore and other cities.

"Her singing was powerful and she was well-known for her contralto voice that needed no microphone," said her granddaughter, Dr. Joy Gorham Hervey of Jacksonville, Fla.

Mrs. Cann also enjoyed quilting, sewing, pottery and drawing.

Services will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the St. John Alpha and Omega Pentecostal Church, 1950 W. North Ave., where she had been a member since 1956.

In addition to her granddaughter, survivors include a daughter, Linda Frances Gorham of Parkton; three brothers, James Bobby Peacock of Upper Marlboro, Randolph Peacock of Charlotte, N.C., and Richard Peacock of Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; two sisters, Anita Peacock and Phyllis Perry, both of Raleigh-Durham; two other grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Her husband died in 1994. A son, Johnny Lee Bryant, died in 1964.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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