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Larkin Mortuary

Philippine Happach Cannefax

01/24/1924 - 09/13/2019

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Philippine Happach Cannefax, age 95, passed away on September 13, 2019, after an extended battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She was born on January 24, 1924, to August and Maria Happach in Landsberg am Lech, Bavaria, Germany. She married an American soldier, Melvin Lee “Pete” Cannefax. In 1951 after being stationed in Orleans France, she immigrated to the United States and she and her husband settled in El Paso, TX, then to San Francisco, CA, back to Germany in 1956, and Castroville, CA, in 1959. After Pete retired from the Army in 1962, they moved to Hunter (West Valley City), UT. They lived there until 1967, then moved again, this time to Davenport, IA. When her husband retired from Rock Island Arsenal in 1971, they moved one final time, settling back into their home in Hunter, UT.

Philippine enjoyed being a military wife, especially all the traveling that came with it, and she loved living in Utah – the mountains reminded her of Baveria, her homeland.

When she came to the United States, she was determined to become an American citizen (or “sit-a-some” as she would pronounce it). All her hard work studying paid off and she received her citizenship in 1955; this was a great accomplishment and source of pride for her. Mom loved to learn and attended cosmetology school as young girl. She worked hard and didn’t let pride get in the way: she worked as a housekeeper, organizer, child care provider, and sales clerk. She volunteered at Thomas Jefferson Jr. High School as a hall monitor, and at the Salt Lake Juvenile Detention Center. At 72 years old, she applied for and was hired at the Salt Lake City Airport kitchen – after all, somebody had to teach them how to make potato salad! Philippine was happiest being busy and driving her car. She was an expert at knitting and needlework and she never used a pattern. She was a great cook and could make a meal out of nothing. She loved gardening and all her “little mans” (gnomes), which she placed all around her yard – and that was way before yard gnomes were a thing! Neighbors were amused and loved her quirky personality. Her greatest love was dancing – anywhere, anytime – but especially the Oktoberfest at Snowbird, UT. She truly thought it was her duty to teach everyone to dance, whether they wanted to or not. Really, no one could turn her down – she wouldn’t have any of that (and damnit, pay attention or she may just kick your shins)! Phili was known by many and she would make sure that she knew you. Her famous friend pick-up line to get to know you was, “I know you from somewhere, what is your name?” That would start the conversation, and to make sure you didn’t forget her, she would rip out a deposit slip and give it to you. She would tell you to come and visit anytime, and now you had her name, address, and phone number – so no excuses! And when you did go visit her, you didn’t even try to leave without eating.

She had many titles: Mom, Oma, Mrs. C, Phili, Filamina. She didn’t care which one you used, she loved them all. Although she had many hard times growing up in Germany during World War II and sad memories of those days, she always seemed to remember and share her happier times. She brought lasting memories to many, and we hope you enjoy remembering our mother.

Special thanks to all the caretakers at Legacy Village Memory Care in Taylorsville for their kind and thoughtful care.

Philippine is survived by her children, Raymond, Maria, and Paul; her grandchildren, Amy, Klinton, Elizabeth, and Alexandria; and her great- grandchildren, Issac, Lilly, Shevaughn, Lucas, Noah, Easton, Kingston, and a baby grand daughter on the way.

Latin Mass will be held Saturday September 28, 2019 9:00am at St Martin De Porres Catholic Church, 4914 S. 2200 W.,Taylorsville, Utah .

Philippine will be interred with her husband Pete at Fort Douglas Cemetery, Salt Lake City, UT.

And last but not least, to all her dear friends who continued to call and visit my mom, even as her mind and memory were failing her, I would like to say thank you from the bottom on my heart.

Sincerely, Maria

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  • She was a force to be reckoned with! My sincere condolences to her family, especially my dear friend Maria and her brother, Paul. Thank you, Phili, for introducing me to all things German and for teaching me how to make spaetzle, sauerkraut, and blaukraut. Say hi to Pete for me, as the two of you dance away into the great beyond. Schlaf gut.

    — Jeanine Couser

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