John Cain, 82, owner of Cain Gallery in Oak Park

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A private service was held for John Cain, 82, a top public relations executive and art dealer in the Chicago area, who died Oct. 15, 2011 in Baraboo, Wis.

Born in Green Bay, Wis., and reared in Whitefish Bay, Mr. Cain studied at DePauw University and earned a master's degree in English at the University of Michigan. After teaching high school English for a year in East Grand Rapids, Mich., he won a Fulbright fellowship and traveled to Kirkuk, Iraq, to teach English for a year.

Returning to Oak Park, he taught for 12 years at Oak Park and River Forest High School before embarking on a career in public relations.

Mr. Cain directed communications at West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park, New Community Enterprises and the National Institute of Real Estate before joining the Public Relations Board in 1972 as vice president. The firm later became Needham Porter Novelli Company, where he became executive vice president, with major clients that included the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Neurology and Miles Laboratories.

Passionate about the arts, he opened the Cain Gallery in Douglas, Mich., in 1976 and soon after opened a second Cain Gallery in Oak Park, which closed in 2000 when he moved to Michigan for his retirement.

"There was a lovely balance to John," said Carolyn Poplett of Oak Park, a longtime friend. "He was very talented and serious when it came to his work and the arts — but he could also be witty and wonderfully fun to be with at the same time."

While he was an Oak Park resident, he served as a co-director of the Oak Park Exchange Congress, through which the village shared information with municipalities around the nation on efforts to successfully achieve stable racial diversity.

A past director of the Executives Club of Chicago, he was the recipient of the Golden Trumpet and Quality of Life awards from the Publicity Club of Chicago.

Mr. Cain, who was married to the late Priscilla Cain for 59 years, is survived by four children, Chris, Julia, Ceci and Mary; and five grandchildren.

Interment took place at Plummerville Cemetery in Fennville, Mich.

Reader Comments

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marcy formigoni from forest park  

Posted: November 18th, 2011 7:29 PM

We only knew John towards the end of his life but we were fortunate to have the time we had. John was smart, funny, cultured and a friend to many. We will always remember him fondly and with love.

Mary G. Cain from Buffalo Grove  

Posted: November 16th, 2011 12:25 PM

Thank you for remembering our dad, John Cain: A wonderful father and provider; a really witty and great friend; a creative and inspirational man; a true Oak Parker!

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