Robert Lynn Canady


Robert Lynn Canady, 91, of Charlottesville, Virginia, died Thursday, January 11, 2024.  During his final days, he was surrounded by his children, grandchildren, and several close family friends.

Lynn, as affectionately called by close friends, was born on Christmas Day in 1932, in Kingston Springs, TN.  He was raised primarily in small town Dickson, TN, in relative poverty during the Great Depression. He often told stories to children and grandchildren about growing up without central heating or plumbing and going outside to use the “one-holer.” This simple upbringing undoubtedly shaped his character and, in spite of his many great accomplishments, he remained the humble “boy from Dickson, Tennessee,” his entire life.

Raised in a Christian home, Lynn was baptized in Mill Creek in the summer of 1946.  After high school, Lynn earned a Bachelor of Science from Austin Peay State University, followed by a Masters of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from Peabody-Vanderbilt University.

He also honorably served his country in the Navy for several years during the Korean War.  Upon return, he eventually went back to school, earning his doctorate degree from the University of Tennessee, where he majored in administration and supervision with collateral studies in educational psychology and industrial and personnel management.

Lynn served tirelessly in numerous educational roles.  He taught in grades 4 through 12, and served as principal of elementary, middle and junior high schools in Tennessee and Kentucky.  In the 1960s, he held positions in school district central offices and was instrumental in the desegregation of the public schools in Chattanooga, TN.  In 1970, he joined the faculty at the University of Virginia, eventually serving in the position of full professor and also chair of the Department of Leadership, Foundations and Policy Studies. Upon retirement, he received the title of Professor Emeritus.

Lynn consulted with school districts in 45 states including schools in the Virgin Islands and Dependent Schools in Germany.  Major presentations focused primarily on grading practices, active teaching strategies, implementing programs for at-risk students, and restructuring schools by using a variety of administrative and instructional strategies.  Lynn had a passion for developing school policy and practices to enhance the success of all students.  He received numerous awards for outstanding teaching and service, including the Phi Delta Kappa Distinguished Service Award, the Outstanding Professor Award in the University of Virginia’s School of Education, and two university-wide awards for distinguished teaching and service.

Furthermore, he published over 50 articles in educational journals, served as general co-editor of seven books on teaching strategies designed for block schedules, and co-authored another five books on school policy. As recently as 2021, he and his daughter, Carol, co-authored a leader’s guide to accelerating early literacy achievement, a topic of passion in later years.

As educators in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Lynn and his wife, Marjorie, met on a blind date, and were married in 1962. They resided in Albemarle County, Virginia, for the last 50 years, where they raised their four children in a loving, Christian home. They also had 14 grandchildren, and Lynn enjoyed defeating them in his favorite games, Mexican Dominoes and Rook.

Lynn was an avid reader, and also enjoyed discussing current events and politics with friends and family.  He and his wife enjoyed traveling, taking many trips with friends and family to the beach in Nags Head and Myrtle Beach, and several cruises to Europe.  

For multiple years, he taught Sunday school for the college and adult classes.  He was a loyal and committed husband, father, and friend, with an easy-going nature, quick wit, and self-deprecating humor. He modeled humility, focusing on others’ needs above his own and touched many students’ lives as a teacher and mentor over decades while professor at the University of Virginia School of Education. He nurtured relationships with students and mentees long after graduation.  Beloved by students, he received countless visits, letters, and gifts from them over the course of his lifetime, even until his final days.

Lynn is the son of the late James Clinton Canady and Mary Agnes Hunter.  He is preceded in death by his parents, as well as by his wife of 60 years, Marjorie Elise Grayson Canady, his brother, Raymond Hunter Canady, and his step-grandson Abraham Albert Granger.  Lynn is survived by his four children, Carol Elise Canady, Donna Canady Sylvester (Caleb), Robert Grayson Canady (Sita), and Sarah Emily Canady (Douglas).  Lynn is also survived by his grandchildren Lauren Elise Payne; Thomas Grayson, James Nathan, Michael Hunter, Luke Augustine, Andrew Gregory, and Stephen Joseph Canady; Anna Katharine, Elizabeth Colette, and Alden Carter Canady Schultz; and Annabel Patricia, Alan Benjamin (Oak), and Abigail LeClerc Granger.  He also is survived by his niece, Susan Johnson (David) and his nephew, Raymond Canady (Cindy).

The family of Robert Lynn is being cared for by Anderson Funeral Services, Crozet.

Per Lynn’s request, his family held a private memorial service and burial on January 15, to be followed by a larger “celebration of life” at a time to be announced soon.

Robert Lynn Canady was quite a storyteller! In lieu of flowers, please honor him by signing his online guestbook at and by sharing stories toward his last publication!

You also can honor him by making a memorial contribution in his name to: University of Virginia Department of Education and Human Development at the following website:, and designate contributions to the Robert Lynn Canady Fellowship Fund.


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