A LIFE OF INTEGRITY AND ACCOMPLISHMENT
ARBUTHNOT CAIN died
October 22, 2002 in Houston of heart failure. The son of Gordon
Dunn Cain and Ola Arbuthnot, he was born in Baton Rouge on
May 31, 1912, and grew up in Baton Rouge, Calhoun, and Rayville,
is survived by his wife, Mary Hancock Cain; two step-children,
Margaret (Peggy) Weaver Oehmig and her husband William C.
Oehmig, and James Weaver and his wife Sharyn A. Weaver; three
grandchildren, Gordon Oehmig, Alyson Weaver, and Kyle Weaver,
all of Houston; two brothers, Dr. Frank Cain of Lake Providence,
Louisiana and Edward Cain of San Clemente, California; and
one sister, Ruth Upton of Rayville, Louisiana. He is preceded
in death by his first wife, Lucía La Madrid Cain.
sisters, Pola Falge of Appleton, Wisconsin and Billie Mix
of Monroe, Louisiana, preceded him in death. Mr. Cain was
graduated from Louisiana State University with a degree in
Chemical Engineering in 1933, and until World War II, worked
as a chemical engineer at Freeport Sulphur and Merck. In World
War II, he served as a commander of a heavy mortar battalion,
landing on Leyte and Okinawa.
received two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart. He was wounded
on Okinawa. After the war, he worked for Freeport Sulphur
Company, Standard Perlite Company, and FMC Corporation. He
came to Houston in 1955 to help start Petro-Tex Chemical,
a joint venture of FMC and Tenneco. In 1964, he became a vice
president of Conoco in charge of their chemical operations,
where he built the business from $25 million in sales to $600
1970, he resigned from Conoco and spent the next twelve years
as a manager of various troubled companies. These included
a synthetic rubber company in Argentina (PASA - Petroquimicas
Argentina Sudamericana), an oil refinery in Alaska, a chemical
company in Houston, and electronic companies in Houston and
Boston. In 1984, he completed his first leveraged buyout.
He bought a fertilizer business and established the Arcadian
Corporation, which became a $2 billion company before it was
sold in 1996.
also bought Conoco's chemical business from Du Pont and established
Vista Chemical. He formed The Sterling Group, which continued
to do leveraged buyouts, buying Monsanto's Texas City plant
to form Sterling Chemicals; buying six ethylene-related plants
from six different companies to form Cain Chemical; buying
six ethylene-related plants from six different companies to
form Cain Chemical, run by his close friend and business associate
Bill McMinn; and buying the Celanese polyster fibers business
to form Fiber Industries.
1992, Mr. Cain participated in other Sterling Group investments
including Mail-Well, Purina Mills, Sterling Diagnotic Imaging
and Texas Petrochemicals. He helped start Atlantic Coast Airlines,
helped found Lexicon Genetics and also started two other biotechnology
companies still in developmental stages, Agennix and ADViSYS,
Cain was one of the pioneers in the movement to involve employees
in the direction of the company. He was strongly committed
to having all employees own an interest in the companies where
they worked. In 1997, his book, Everybody Wins! was published.
It is both an autobiography for his grandchildren and a treatise
on his business philosophy.
In 1988, he
and his wife Mary established the Gordon and Mary Cain Foundation,
which supports local education, social, and health projects,
as well as public policy groups with limited-government, free
was a member of River Oaks Country Club and The Bayou Club
in Houston, TX, Grandfather Golf & Country Club and Linville
Country Club in Linville, NC, and Mountain Lake Country Club
in Lake Wales, FL. Deepest thanks to his office staff and
Doris Hollins, Sharon Baker, Bell Bennett and Eloise Green.
Memorial service was held on Friday October 25, 2002 at 2
o'clock in the afternoon at St. John the Divine Episcopal
Church, 2450 River Oaks Boulevard in Houston, with The Rev.
Laurens A. Hall officiating.
lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Avery
Health Care System, 434 Hospital Drive, Houston, Linville,
NC 28646 or Lake Wales Art Center, P.O. Box 608, Lake Wales,