Alvin Grier Cain ’52

Alvin Grier Cain ’52, 82, of Gastonia, N.C., died May 30, 2012, at Covenant Village. He was born Feb. 21, 1930, in Gastonia, a son of the late Samuel Augustus Cain and Mary Virginia Grier Cain. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, Phillip Augustus Cain. Cain was a lifelong member of First Associated Reformed Presbyterian Church in Gastonia. He served the church in many ways, including as a deacon and elder. Cain graduated from Davidson in 1952 with a B.S. in business and economics. After a brief career in banking, he joined his father-in-law’s company, Spencer Lumber Company, the largest and oldest lumber/construction company in Gastonia. He designed, built, and remodeled some of the city’s most beautiful homes. While working at Spencer Lumber Company, Cain founded the Cain Collection, a company selling period cabinet and door hardware. He then co-founded the retail business Luxury Crafts in Gastonia. In 1973, Cain purchased an art firm, The Orleans Company, and moved its headquarters from New York City to Gastonia. From that foundation, he created Chelsea House, known today as one of the premier home furnishings companies selling a wide range of furniture and home furnishings items both domestically and internationally. Chelsea House became the leader in the industry for its commitment to sophistication and style. Cain traveled the world to bring the best designs and craftsmanship to Chelsea House. Cain served as founder and chief executive officer of the company until 2009. In addition to his work with First ARP Church, Cain was involved with, and on the board of, many civic and professional organizations. He served as the director of the Gastonia Chamber of Commerce, director of the Gastonia Merchants’ Association, president of the Gaston Crippled Children’s Society, president of the Jaycees, and director of the Civitan Club. In 1982, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Award as Gastonia’s Man of the Year. He also served as a lifetime trustee of Limestone College. Cain is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Ann Spencer Cain, 1351 Robinwood Rd., Gastonia, NC 28054-1693; daughter, Ginny Cain Ratchford (Bill); son, William Spencer Cain (Monica); five grandchildren, William Daniel Ratchford, Laura Ratchford Hanf (Jason), Elizabeth Cain Williams (Coleman), Mary Spencer Cain, and Samuel Augustus Cain II; and great-granddaughter, Madison Grace Hanf. In addition to his great love of his family, Cain had a lifelong passion for history, architecture, and the decorative arts. He worked with many great museums and historical societies. He was a most gracious gentleman, known for his warm hospitality, quick wit, and entertaining stories.