Dr. Mary Alexander Cain, retired Professor Emeritus of Education at Western Michigan University, passed away peacefully on Saturday, October 1, 2016 at Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan, with family present. She was 91 years old. Mary was born December 15, 1924 in Lansing, Michigan, the only daughter of Ethel Rogers Alexander and Rutgers Alexander. Raised in Grand Ledge, Michigan, she was valedictorian of the Grand Ledge High School class of 1942. She graduated cum laude with a Bachelor's degree in education from the University of Michigan in 1946, with Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Lambda Theta & Alpha Lambda Delta awards, and went on to earn her Master's degree in Teaching in the Elementary School from Western Michigan University in 1961, and her Ph.D. in Education Psychology and Child Development from Michigan State University in 1970. Mary retired in 1992 as Professor of Education and Professional Development after a 31 year teaching career. She taught on many areas of education including human development, learning, child-rearing, gender roles, parent education, social and political influences on the family, early childhood education, field supervision, classroom organization and management, and systems for developing pro-social behavior. She was also active in the faculty senate and chaired the committee for the development of undergraduate education. Over her career, she received a number of awards including the Woman of the Year Award (1978 & 1986), the Distinguished Service Award (1991), the Preeminent Pioneers Award (1991), from Western Michigan University; the Distinguished Faculty Award from the Michigan Association of Governing Boards (1985); the President's Award - Michigan Conference, from the American Association of University Professors (1988); and the Distinguished Teaching Award from the Michigan State Legislature (1991). Following her retirement from WMU, Mary served for over a decade as an evaluator for federally funded literacy programs. Mary spent her adult life working for justice and equal rights for all people. She was active in Action Now, chairing the committee working towards improvements in Kalamazoo public education to provide equal educational opportunity for all. A champion of equal rights for women, she developed the non-sexist education curriculum at Western Michigan University, and published the book Boys and Girls Together in 1981. She was an active member of the American Association of University Professors, serving as President 1983 through 1986, and earning the AAUP Presidential Award for outstanding service. After retirement, Mary worked with others to form the Western Association of Retired Faculty (WARF) to ensure that retired WMU faculty have a voice in decisions regarding their retirement benefits. Mary was an accomplished quilter, a member of the Log Cabin Quilters, and often presented personalized gifts of her work to family and friends. She was also interested in music and theater, frequently attending local theatrical events as well as making yearly visits to Stratford, Ontario to enjoy Shakespeare with friends. Mary is survived by her daughter, Rachel Cain of White Bear Lake, MN; her daughter Hester Klinesteker and son-in-law Mark Klinesteker of Fair Oaks, CA; her son Gregory Cain of West Sacramento, CA; her granddaughter Sarah Davidson and grandson-in-law Alexander Baugh of Philadelphia, PA; her grandson Edward Folly of St. Paul MN; her grandson Christopher Bryant of Tallahassee, FL; her grandson Benjamin Bryant of Seattle, WA.; and her great grandson Jasper Roux Baugh of Philadelphia PA. She was predeceased by grandson Alexander Bryant of Tallahassee, FL. A visitation will be held at Langeland Memorial Chapel, 622 S. Burdick St., Kalamazoo, Michigan, on Thursday, October 6, 2016 from 3:00 to 5:00pm. Burial will be at Oakwood Cemetery, 301 Oakwood St, Grand Ledge, MI 48837, Friday, October 7 2016 at 1:00 pm. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the Farmer's Alley Theatre, Kalamazoo, Michigan or the Department of Theater, College of Fine Arts, Western Michigan University. For obituary and condolences, please see Mary's personalized page at www.langelands.com.
A memorial service will be held for Dr. Mary Cain on Saturday, December 17th, 2016, 2:00 PM at Kanley Chapel on the WMU campus.