John Joseph Canning Sr., a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and pilot, died Thursday of cancer at North Arundel Health and Rehabilitation Center in Glen Burnie. The Odenton resident was 77.
Born in Midland, Allegany County, he was a graduate of Calvert Hall College High School, attended Loyola College and graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy.
He served in the Air Force during the Korean and Vietnam wars, retiring in 1971 after 22 years of active duty. He also served for five years in the Air Force Reserve.
During his military career, he was a pilot, navigator and bombardier, flying throughout Southeast Asia for the Strategic Air Command, Tactical Air Command and Military Airlift Command. He was awarded a Purple Heart.
He enjoyed gardening, cooking and thoroughbred racing, and became a pari-mutuel clerk at the Bowie, Laurel and Pimlico racetracks before retiring a second time in 1989.
A funeral Mass will be offered at 9 a.m. today at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, 1283 Odenton Road in Odenton, where he was a member.
Surviving are his wife of 53 years, the former Rita Margaret Tine; two sons, John Joseph Canning Jr. of Edgewater and Stephen F. Canning of Glyndon; a daughter, Christina Maria Gutosky of Richmond, Va.; five sisters, Margaret Mary Geckle, Pauline Eckenrode, Rita Brulinski, Patricia Tracey and Angela Canning, all of Baltimore; and six grandchildren.