Lois Driggs Cannon Aldrin died on July 17, 2018, of natural causes in Salt Lake City, Utah. She was 88.
From day one, Lois had an exuberance that could fill a room. At North Phoenix High School, her outgoing personality and zeal for making friends earned this petite firecracker the nickname “Mighty Mouse.”
In the days that filled her 88 years, she was a Stanford graduate (class of ’51), teacher, philanthropist, public relations engager, avid skier and tennis player, wisdom giver, resident of 18 cities, world traveler to 40-plus countries and loyal friend. She was an outstanding mother of three and devoted wife to Bry Cannon (married 1955-1982) and a loving and uplifting influence in her marriage to Apollo XI astronaut Buzz Aldrin (m. 1988-2012).
In the final days, she continued to express her love to the friends and family who were there at her side. Her brightly lit candle of enthusiasm will always burn in our hearts.
Lois Adele was born on Nov. 2, 1929, in Miami, Ariz., to Effie and Douglas H. Driggs just days into the first shockwave of the Great Depression. She was the second of four children in a faithful Mormon family hewn from pioneers two generations earlier. Douglas, along with his father and brothers, had started a savings and loan in Phoenix only months before the crash. They persevered and Western Savings survived. In the grand tradition of finance, they helped people build things. They helped Arizona grow.
Lois took after her father’s “can do” spirit. She played boogie-woogie piano, acted in plays, danced the jitterbug and was often featured in newspaper layouts from her youth onward. She started college at the University of Utah and went on to Stanford to earn her B.A. in education. After getting her teaching certificate at UCLA, Lois taught at the Hawthorne School in Beverly Hills and the Walter Hayes Elementary School in Palo Alto.
In 1955, Lois married Bryant W. Cannon in the LDS temple in Mesa, Ariz. They spent much of the first decade in Germany, England and Belgium for Bry’s pioneering work in computer data processing at IBM and ITT. Lois gave birth to two daughters and was integral to the direction and dynamics of the family. In the summer of 1962, the young family navigated the locks of the Rhine and the Rhone rivers from the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean on a 24-foot cabin cruiser. Returning stateside to live in Scottsdale, Ariz., Lois gave birth to a son and Bry consulted Western Savings. Then it was on to their beloved home in Emerald Bay, Laguna Beach, Calif. Sadly, the marriage ended after 27 years.
Lois’ next chapter was a 24-year marriage in which she demonstrated, once again, her devotion and mastery of empowering her husband. Lois met Buzz Aldrin in 1985 at the Bel-Air Bay Club beach party of a mutual friend. A romance ensued and the two married on Valentine’s Day in 1988. One year into their marriage, Lois lost nearly everything as the Driggs family business ended with the demise of the savings and loan industry. She rose to the occasion and applied her knack for public relations to work together with Buzz to build up a business based on his historic Apollo XI moonwalk. They made a good team. Lois was the organizer, the perennial booster. Buzz dreamt of the stars and preached the gospel of space. Together, the sky held no limits.
Though the marriage ended in 2012, Lois set about at the age of 83 to create yet another chapter in her life. She was well acquainted with the reality that life doesn’t always give you what you want. Yet she believed, “The key is making the most of what you get. Every day when you wake up you can choose to be happy.”
She skied into her 80s, mostly traveling to Sun Valley, Idaho, where she had maintained a home for many years. She supported charitable organizations, including The Blue Ribbon, ARCS, Library Foundation of Los Angeles, World Affairs Council, The Thalians and the American Film Institute.
As Lois reminisced on her amazing life, she said with a wistful hint of a smile, “It’s had its ups and its downs.” Yet her enthusiasm and humor have always rebounded.
In her last months, Lois shared from memory a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay: “My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends — It gives a lovely light!”
Lois is survived by her three children, Lisa Cannon of Salt Lake City, Brynn Cannon of Los Angeles and Bryant Cannon, and her siblings, Gary Driggs and Anne Driggs Christensen of Paradise Valley, Ariz. A private memorial celebration will be held this fall in Arizona. To send condolences: InMemoryOfLois@gmail.com