Dr. Ralph Allan Cain, an educational innovator respected for his leadership, community volunteerism and church service, entered into his Heavenly home on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012. He was 65.
Visitation will be at New Hope Funeral Home in New Hope, Alabama, from 3 - 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 7. A special visitation for out of town guests will be from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8. The funeral service will be at First Baptist Church of New Hope on Thursday, Nov. 8, at 1 p.m. with burial following at Hayden Cemetery in New Hope. Ralph’s children will serve as pallbearers.
Ralph was born Aug. 17, 1947, in Sheffield, Ala., but grew up in Belmont, Mississippi. While a student at Belmont High School, he played basketball, football, baseball and ran track. He graduated in 1965, and four years later earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Mississippi State University. Ralph’s first job was as a teacher and coach in the Mississippi Delta. In 1970, he moved to Alabama and spent the next 24 years working as a coach, teacher, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent. During that time, he earned a Doctor of Education degree from The University of Alabama. He retired from education in 1994.
Though he was retiring in Alabama, Ralph accepted a new job as superintendent of the Kershaw County School District in South Carolina. In a speech that was printed in the local paper, he told everyone gathered at his introduction that there were "five things you can expect from Ralph Cain": honesty, fair play, listening, communication, and hard work. Ralph’s peers across South Carolina also recognized him for his educational leadership. One year he was named first runner up for Superintendent of the Year honors. Another year he was chosen as the South Carolina Career and Technology Education Administrators Superintendent of the Year.
Ralph retired from education for the final time in 2003 after spending nine years in Kershaw County. He and his wife, Rhonda, returned to New Hope, Ala., that same year. Soon afterward, Ralph began serving as a volunteer coach for the New Hope High School football team. He and Rhonda also rejoined First Baptist Church of New Hope, where he taught Sunday school and served as a deacon.
Ralph was preceded in death by his parents, Lester and Lalla Mae Cain, and a brother, Tavy Cain. Survivors include his wife Rhonda of New Hope, Ala.; four children, Butler Cain of Canyon, Texas.; Justin Cain and wife Megan of Duluth, Ga.; Kendra Cain Harper and husband Patrick of Meridianville, Ala.; and Kipp Cain and wife Katie of Owens Cross Roads, Ala.; one sister, Joyce Murley and husband Harold of Baldwyn, Miss.; three brothers, James Cain and wife Teresa of Maryland, Harold Segars of Belmont, Miss., and Ray Cain and wife Michelle, also of Belmont; and he was the favorite son-in-law of Billy and Archie Mae Butler of New Hope.
The family welcomes flowers or donations to either Amedisys Hospice Care, 250 Chateau Drive, Suite 112, Huntsville, AL 35801 or First Baptist Church of New Hope, 247 Church Avenue, New Hope, AL 35760.