Richard Austin Cain, MD, 89, of Bayville, Boothbay Harbor, Maine died peacefully at home after a valiant struggle against squamous cell skin cancer. He went to be with his Lord the morning of December 9, 2019. Family and friends will miss his generosity, love, faith, wit, thrift, and inventive spirit. Born in Gardner, Massachusetts on December 15, 1929, Dr. Cain was the first of three sons of George A. Cain and Elizabeth (Frazer) Cain.
His paternal grandfather, Austin Hunter Cain, had emigrated from Nova Scotia and his maternal grandfather, Richard Frazer was an emigrant from Ireland. The family moved to Marlboro, Massachusetts when Richard was three years old. He grew up on the family chicken hatchery owned by his grandfather Cain. Life on the farm was typical of that on most farms, with daily chores for all members of the family. Because of after school work on the farm extracurricular activities were limited to the Boy Scouts, from which he derived much enjoyment and knowledge.
Richard attended Marlboro schools through 11th grade when, because of chronic lung infections, he was sent to live with friends in Tujunga, California for his last year of high school. He graduated in 1948 from Verdugo Hills High School, just north of Los Angeles, where he also worked each day after school as a custodian.
While living in California he heard the Good News about God’s love and forgiveness in Jesus Christ for the first time and he prayed to Jesus to come into his life and God gave him peace and grace with purpose to live. Dr. Cain was a person of deep, authentic faith which he lived out every day; caring more about God and others than himself.
He returned home to Massachusetts after graduating in order to attend college, his father’s goal for all his sons. In September 1948, he began his pre-med coursework at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts and worked at Worcester City Hospital as night lab technician while in school. In the summers he also worked at Memorial, Doctors, the Tuberculosis, and Hahnemann Hospitals in Worcester. He received his BS Degree from Clark in June 1952 and in September Richard started at Boston University School of Medicine. While a medical student he worked nights at New England Baptist Hospital where he met the love of his life, Joanne Penniman of Framingham, Massachusetts. Being on a student's budget, but eager to not let her slip away, their first date involved sharing a 5-cent, twin-stick popsicle. They were married June 2, 1956, the day before he received his MD degree, graduating in the top third of his class. After a honeymoon trip across the country to California, Richard did his internship and surgery residency at San Bernardino County Hospital, San Bernardino.
He enlisted in the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) in 1958 and spent one year as a surgeon at their hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. He did a six-month residency in pediatric anesthesia at Albert Einstein Hospital in the Bronx, NY and then a two-year residency in anesthesiology followed by two years as an instructor at the USPHS hospital on Staten Island, NY. He was then appointed Chief of Anesthesia at the USPHS. hospital in San Francisco, California.
He left the USPHS in 1964 to start private practice and was on staff at the former Lutheran Hospital which later became Victor Valley Community Hospital, Victorville, California, and St. Mary’s Hospital, Apple Valley, CA, where he was the first anesthesiologist in the Victor Valley, joining one nurse anesthetist. He was board certified in anesthesia in 1965 and was a member of the San Bernardino County Medical Association, the American Medical Association and the American Board of Anesthesiology. He served as Chief of Anesthesia for 32 years before retiring in June of 1996. By this time the staff of anesthesiologists at St Mary’s Hospital had increased to seven doctors who constituted the High Desert Anesthesia Medical Group. He prayed with every one of his patients as he prepared them for surgery, often noting that he had a captive audience with whom to share the gospel.
He and Joanne raised their three children, Carolyn, Joyce, and David, in Apple Valley, California. Dr. Cain’s hobbies included raising farm animals and growing a most substantial and productive garden in the desert. He was a fervent reader and student of the Bible and an active member of the former Apple Valley Baptist Church, serving as deacon, a long time Sunday school teacher and on the Apple Valley Christian School Board. Having a passion for medical missions, he helped in the support of several missionaries as well as spending the summers of 1968 and 1970 filling in for the anesthesiologist at Hospital Vozandes Oriente, in Shell, Ecuador. Following his retirement, he and Joanne spent six months working at this same hospital.
Having grown up in New England and returning there most every summer to relax at the family cottage on Southport Island, Maine, he and Joanne decided to buy a house of their own for their summers in retirement years, still expecting to winter in California. They found their dream house in the beautiful coastal summer village of Bayville, in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. One fall they decided to stay through the winter just for fun. A mild winter that year resulted in their becoming Maine residents in 1997 and selling their California property to their son. Dr. Cain and his wife, Joanne, made 45 wonderful round trips by car across the USA before their children requested that they begin to fly. The highlight of each year was having his three children and five grandchildren visiting and enjoying the coast of Maine.
He was a member of Sonlife Community Church, Apple Valley, California and a member of Boothbay Region Fellowship and Boothbay Baptist Church, where he served as a deacon, Sunday school teacher and member of the missions committee. He enjoyed being a volunteer driver for FISH (Friends in Service Helping) for many years, helping to provide transportation for local residents in need of medical care. He has also been a proud second-generation participant in the Framingham Heart Study, a project of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and Boston University.
He is survived by his devoted wife of 63 years, Joanne (Penniman) Cain, and three children: daughter Carolyn Cain (husband Jonathan Kannair) of Boston, Massachusetts, daughter Joyce Roberts of Barnardsville, North Carolina, and son David (wife Leah) of Apple Valley, California. He leaves five grandchildren: Carson Kannair, Noah, Ella, Austin and Oliver Cain. He also leaves behind his two brothers, Robert (wife Nancy) of Holden, Massachusetts and David of Daytona Beach, Florida. He also leaves behind many beloved nieces and nephews. Dr. Cain was predeceased by his parents, son-in-law C. Tom Roberts, nephew Bruce Cain, niece Lisa Cain, sister-in-law Anita Cain, and granddaughter Grace Cain.
A memorial service will take place Sunday, December 29 at 1:30 pm at Boothbay Baptist Church. Interment will be in Edgell Grove Cemetery, Framingham, MA in the spring. Arrangements are under the care of Hall's Funeral Home Boothbay, Maine. You are invited to share your condolences and memories with the Cain family by visiting their book of memories at www.hallfuneralhomes.com.
Contributions may be made to Hope Haitian Ministries or to the charity of your choice.