A Tribute Upon the Passing of Frank Cann, Family Man, Philanthropist, Mentor

TMF founder Michael Gorman (left) with Frank Cann

By: Michael Gorman

The following eulogy was delivered last month at the funeral of local philanthropist Frank Cann by TMF founder Michael Gorman. TMF is a group of local volunteers who feeds the homeless in Lawrence.  

My Name is Michael Gorman and I am the Founder of the non-profit organization – The Movement Family, which is designed for anyone looking for a second family in life. One that may be seeking love, guidance, and support or really just looking to give back to the community and make a difference in the world.

I’m honored to speak about someone that means so much.
It all started on September 23, 2020, when FH Cann Associates sponsored the TMF Dinner when it was at the vacant lot on 2 South Broadway in Lawrence, MA.

I didn’t know Frank personally at this time. He was actually following Tom Duggan’s posts on Facebook. He became very inspired by TMF’s work in the community and wanted his company FH Cann to sponsor a dinner.

On January 26, 2021, I was honored to be asked to be the guest speaker at the Exchange Club Meeting and with COVID at this time, the meeting was through zoom.

So, I spoke to the Exchange Club, from 6-7pm.

Once the zoom call ended, at 7:01pm my phone starts ringing, I look at the phone, and it’s Frank Cann. He and I haven’t had too many personal conversations at this point, but he shared how inspired he became by this talk.

He then shared, “I had all my family members in the living room listening to you speak.”

He asked me one specific question.

“What’s your goal and vision from here?”

I told Frank, “I don’t think we can become anymore of a grassroots program than we are.”

Now, if anyone has done non-profit paperwork before, I had no idea where to begin. I was naive. Frank took me under his wing and helped me with the entire 501(c)3 paperwork, where it finally became a non-profit organization. I was so happy and grateful that I asked Frank to be a board member and Treasurer of TMF.

A few things that stick out to me about Frank.

His heart, kindness, determination. He is 100% a go getter. If he wants something, he is going to do all he can to make it happen. But most importantly, what sticks out to me most about Frank has been his guidance. His teaching moments are ones I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Just to share a few things that Frank did for TMF; Frank helped us obtain our first website to help make us more professional. Frank helped TMF get its first PO box and helped create the idea of having a 10-year anniversary event for TMF to show all the hard work that we have done throughout the years where we had 250 people show up at the Claddagh function room. Frank sponsored the IT gentleman and DJ for the evening.

Or was it Frank taking time out of his day to take me out to eat at the Fireside Restaurant, or breakfast at Ellie’s to talk about life?

He would always reiterate to me, “I’ll always be here for you Michael.

I really believe in your vision and care about you as a person.”

One of his proudest achievements was the partnership between the Boston Celtics, FH Cann, and TMF. We call it “The Big 3” It was so special that Frank was able to give these young TMF members who have never been to a game in their life, to not only watch the game, but Frank got us a suite so TMF members could watch the game from a unique part of the arena.

Frank was also a season ticket holder for the New England Patriots and got TMF Members to their first NFL football game in their life.

Ironically, Frank and I were both inducted into the Methuen High School Hall of Fame Alumni on March 24, 2023 (See photo page one) and I can’t express to you how special it was to have someone I look up to – a role model who has taken me under his wing – on that stage with me getting inducted into the Methuen High School Hall of Fame on the same night.

My Dad always told me, “appreciate the people that help pave the way.” That phrase means more to me right now because Frank helped pave the way.

My Mom used to always have this quote on the fridge that said, “People may forget what you said, and forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

When Frank was in that room or when Frank took me out to eat to talk about life, he made me feel so comfortable, he gave me nothing but confidence, and always believed in me.

I am very thankful to have gotten to know Frank, his wife Sheri, his daughter Kara, his son Justin, and his son-in-law Ernesto.

Rest in Peace my friend Frank Cann.

You will be missed. ◊