A.J. Cain, 84, of Midland, died peacefully at his home on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013. A graveside service with military honors will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013, at Resthaven Memorial Park in Midland, followed by the memorial service at 3 p.m. at Grace Presbyterian Church, 2801 N. Garfield in Midland. The Rev. Cheryl Homsher, pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church, will lead the celebration of life service assisted by the Rev. Walter Thompson, First Presbyterian Church.
A.J. was born in Big Spring, Texas on Aug. 31, 1928, to Alice Haynes Cain and Andrew Jackson Cain. He graduated from Big Spring High School and then enlisted in the U.S. Army at the ripe old age of 17. After his honorable discharge in 1948, he attended Howard County Junior College. During A.J.’s high school and junior college years, he played baseball and football and ran track. After completing junior college, A.J. transferred to the University of North Texas where he graduated with a degree in marketing. On Sept. 8, 1951, he married Bonnie Dempsey in Big Spring.
Following college graduation, A.J. went to work for Hughes Tool Company selling drill bits in Odessa. He was transferred several times by Hughes during the early years of his marriage to Bonnie, living in Levelland, Brownfield, and Andrews. In 1956, A.J. accepted a job with Mustang Mud and began a life-long career in the drilling mud business. He was transferred to Midland in 1963 and moved his family to the home they would occupy for almost five decades. During his years with Mustang, A.J. could often be spotted around Midland in his field car with the aptly named “Mud Man” license plates.
A.J. was a member of Trinity Presbyterian church for 49 years, serving as a ruling elder, deacon, and trustee at various times during those years. He helped Bonnie with the youth fellowship group at Trinity for many years and accompanied them on mission trips and fellowship excursions. He recently joined Grace Presbyterian Church where he was able to worship with his family as his health allowed.
A.J.’s sales work with Mustang enabled him to meet many people and, more often than not, those clients became dear friends. He thoroughly enjoyed people and loved visiting with them and discussing the oil business or sports. The downtown morning coffee group to which he belonged usually started his work day off with much laughter and good-natured ribbing.
In addition to his career in the mud business, A.J. stayed active in the community and supported many charitable organizations, non-profits, and his favorite political party. He also valued education and helped many young people and family members obtain a higher education by providing them encouragement and financial assistance.
A.J.’s generosity was legendary — his grandchildren and other folks would often come away from a handshake with A.J. to find a Benjamin Franklin staring back at them. Not only will A.J. be remembered for his generous nature, but also for his loyalty, integrity, strong work ethic, kindness, great sense of humor, positive attitude and gentle way with people.
He loved sports and spent many an hour watching football, baseball, tennis and golf. He was a very loyal fan of the Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Rangers. In addition to sports, A.J. also loved beautiful art, great music and theater, fascinating books, and excellent food.
In their middle years, A.J. and Bonnie enjoyed traveling throughout the United States and around the world. Wherever their daughters moved after starting families of their own — whether it was Jakarta or Jacksonville, Aberdeen or Albany — A.J. and Bonnie made it a point to visit and spoil the grandchildren. A.J. learned how to fly an airplane when he was in his 40s and used that mode of transportation often to go and visit those precious grandchildren.
The family cabin in Ruidoso, N.M. was a favorite destination for A.J. and Bonnie. They spent many happy hours hiking in the woods, skiing, entertaining friends, and spending time on the deck watching the blue jays and hummingbirds. A.J. loved his birds and made sure they were well fed.
A.J. was preceded in death by his parents, his wife of 58 years, and his sister, Mary Alice Christensen.
He is survived by two daughters, Chris Cain Laufer and husband Jeff of Midland; and Diane Cain Warner and husband Tom of Decatur, Ill. A. J. is survived by five grandchildren and one great-grandchild, Shannon Laufer Mann and husband John of Argyll, Texas; Elyse Laufer Starr and husband Ryan and their 2-month-old daughter Hayley, all of Midland; Jake Laufer and wife Courtney of Midland; Thomas Michael Warner of Charleston, S.C.; and Luke Warner of West Lafayette, Ind.
He is also survived by his sisters Billie Carr of Big Spring and Betty Lively of Odessa, as well as his nieces and nephews: Lynn Christensen McDowell and husband Jerry of Horseshoe Bay, Texas; Barbara Carlos of Boston, Mass.; Ben Carr of Albuquerque, N.M.; Brad Carr and wife Dorthe of Albuquerque, N.M.; Eddye Elmore of Kingsland, Texas; Everett Elmore and wife Sofie of Odessa; and Beth Smith and husband Andy of Odessa.
A.J. is also survived by his sister-in-law and dear friend, Jerry Dempsey; nieces Shelley Rash and Susan Hendricks and husband Jay, all of Odessa. In addition to these, A.J. leaves a host of extended family and dear friends to celebrate his life.
The family would like to thank the staff at Helen Greathouse Manor, Manor Park, and Home Hospice for their devotion to and tender care of A.J. as his health declined.
Memorials may be directed to the Community Children’s Clinic, 1101 E. Front Ave., Midland, TX 7970; Grace Presbyterian Church, 2801 N. Garfield, Midland, TX 79705; Home Hospice, 901 W. Missouri, Midland, TX 79701; or the charity of your choice.
Arrangements are under the direction of Nalley-Pickle and Welch Funeral Home & Crematory of Midland. Online condolences can be made at: www.npwelch.com .