Mar­cia Joan Can­ning

April 18, 1948 – Jan­uary 4, 2018

San Francisco Chronicle - - LIFE TRIBUTES -

On the morn­ing of Thurs­day, Jan­uary 4th, Mar­cia Joan Can­ning passed away in her sleep at her home, with her hus­band and best friend Jay at her side. She is sur­vived by her daugh­ter, Leah Pol­lack, and her beloved grand­chil­dren, Dar­i­jah and Dar­ryl. She also leaves be­hind three sis­ters who adored and ad­mired her: Sis­ter Cyn­thia Can­ning, SNJM; Mary P. Can­ning (Peter Wohlfeiler); and Claire Con­way (Ter­rence Con­way), her “adopted” sis­ter, Sis­ter Donna May­nard as well as her ador­ing neph­ews, Dou­glas and Thomas Wat­son and Stephen Lazaro.

Mar­cia was born in Oak­land on April 18, 1948 to Marie J. O’Sul­li­van and Lawrence A. Can­ning. She grad­u­ated from Holy Names High School and went on to Holy Names Uni­ver­sity, where she ma­jored in so­ci­ol­ogy and French. Shortly af­ter her col­lege grad­u­a­tion, she mar­ried Den­nis Hedge­cock, and moved to Davis, while Den­nis com­pleted his doc­toral stud­ies. They di­vorced in 1981. While work­ing briefly as a sec­re­tary at UC Davis Med­i­cal School, she de­cided to take a pre-law class. Her in­ter­est piqued and her abil­ity con­firmed, she en­rolled at Hast­ings Col­lege of the Law, where she grad­u­ated in 1976. Once Mar­cia dis­cov­ered law, it never lost its ap­peal. She said of it, “I liked the way I learned to think.”

It was dur­ing her five years as a trial lawyer at the Na­tional La­bor Re­la­tions Board in San Fran­cisco and Oak­land that she made many life­long friends and met Jay Pol­lack, who would be­come her hus­band, best friend, and com­pan­ion through many life chal­lenges, in­clud­ing the Ju­ve­nile Diabetes that she bat­tled with­out com­plaint for 53 years. Mar­cia and Jay were mar­ried in 1982 and wel­comed their daugh­ter Leah into their fam­ily in 1983.

Mar­cia’s next ca­reer step was a move to the UC Of­fice of the Gen­eral Coun­sel, where for 17 years she worked on ev­ery cam­pus and the Na­tional Lab­o­ra­to­ries on a va­ri­ety of le­gal projects. In 1998 she was ap­pointed Gen­eral Coun­sel at Hast­ings Col­lege of the Law, and in 2001 she ac­cepted the crit­i­cal role as Chief Cam­pus Coun­sel for the UCSF Cam­pus, pro­vid­ing le­gal ad­vice to both the cam­pus and the Med­i­cal Cen­ter on a range of is­sues, in­clud­ing aca­demic af­fairs, re­search mis­con­duct, com­pli­ance and reg­u­la­tory mat­ters, em­ploy­ment is­sues, whistle­blower com­plaints, busi­ness trans­ac­tions, af­fil­i­a­tion agree­ments, and Med­i­cal Cen­ter mat­ters. At the time of her re­tire­ment in 2013, she was cred­ited with in­creas­ing the le­gal ser­vices ca­pac­ity for UCSF, train­ing and nur­tur­ing at­tor­neys and staff who are ser­vice­ori­ented, and lead­ing the Of­fice in process im­prove­ments and ad­min­is­tra­tive mod­ern­iza­tion that re­sulted in in­creased ef­fec­tive­ness in re­spond­ing to the needs of the cam­pus and Med­i­cal Cen­ter. She put in long hours and of­ten worked six days a week, some­times as early as 6:30 in the morn­ing in or­der to ad­vise a sur­geon or anes­the­si­ol­o­gist.

Mar­cia was a pro­fes­sional of the high­est or­der with her in­ci­sive le­gal mind bal­anced by her re­spect for each per­son. She was known for her won­der­ful com­bi­na­tion of in­tel­lect, warmth, wit and hu­mor. As one friend and for­mer col­league said in learn­ing of her death, “Mar­cia was an incredible per­son – hon­est, com­pas­sion­ate, res­o­lute, coura­geous, and some­one who al­ways did the right thing.”

Among Mar­cia’s great­est joys was watch­ing her two grand­chil­dren grow, and shar­ing ad­ven­tures with them, such as week­end trips to the Cal­i­for­nia Academy of Sciences and the Ran­dall Mu­seum. She en­joyed go­ing to the San Fran­cisco Opera and Amer­i­can Con­ser­va­tory The­ater, as well as tak­ing walks or oth­er­wise vis­it­ing with spe­cial friends and fam­ily mem­bers.

Though small in stature, Mar­cia leaves a very large hole in the lives of her fam­ily, friends, col­leagues, and all who were blessed to have her cross their paths.

A cel­e­bra­tion of Mar­cia’s life will be held on Satur­day Jan­uary 27th at 3 p.m. in the chapel at Holy Names Uni­ver­sity, 3500 Moun­tain Blvd. Oak­land. A re­cep­tion will fol­low. In lieu of flow­ers, the fam­ily sug­gests a memo­rial con­tri­bu­tion in Mar­cia’s name to the Diabetes Cen­ter at UCSF, 513 Par­nas­sus Av­enue, Room 1116, San Fran­cisco, CA 94143. Grant Miller-John Cox

Mor­tu­ary FD171 grant­miller­


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