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 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.
The Madison County (Ala.) School District hired him as a teacher and coach at New Hope High School in 1970. Ralph moved across the county to Buckhorn High School in 1972 to become the school’s head football coach, a position he held for three years. During that time he earned Madison County Coach of the Year honors. In 1975, Ralph earned a Master’s degree in Counseling from The University of Alabama and returned to New Hope High as assistant principal.
Ralph was named principal of Buckhorn High in 1977 and served until 1982. In addition to his professional advancement, he achieved other significant personal accomplishments during his tenure at Buckhorn. Ralph was ordained as a deacon at Locust Grove Baptist Church and joined The Gideons International. Ralph continued his graduate studies and received his Doctor of Education degree from The University of Alabama in 1983.
Ralph served as a high school principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent in three other Alabama school systems before retiring in 1994. He then accepted a new job as superintendent of the Kershaw County School District in South Carolina. After nine more years, Ralph formally retired from public education in 2003.
He and Rhonda returned to New Hope, Ala., that same year. They rejoined First Baptist Church of New Hope, where Ralph taught Sunday school and served as a deacon. He also served as a volunteer coach for the New Hope High School football team.
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.