Jean Ann (Davis) Cain, 70, died Friday, June 7, at Harney District Hospital, surrounded by family and many friends.
She began her earthly adventure on January 8, 1943, born to Warren L. and Olive Davis in Stockton, Calif.
In her youth, she was active in 4-H, holding many offices, and played the trombone in the high school band, which allowed her to be a participant in the opening ceremonies of the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, Calif. She graduated from high school at Sonora Union High School, Sonora, Calif., in 1960.
She attended University of California-Davis, a 1965 graduate with a bachelor of science degree in general home economics. She became a home economist for the Extension Service in Nevada. Between college graduation and the start of her career, she spent two and a half years in the Peace Corps in northern India where she became fluent in both of the dialects spoken in that region. She also had the experience of being face-to-face with an upright cobra in her bungalow one evening. She stared him down, and he chose to leave her living quarters.
Upon her return to the United States, she settled in Ely, Nev., and took her first job as a home economist. She married Don Cain and bore three children. She did not work out of the home until the children were older. Instead, she was very active in all the communities in which she lived. In Ely, she served several years as Chairman of the White Pine County Cowbells Association and was very active in the 4-H program. One of her accomplishments was to secure a rural electric grant for the Mt. Wheeler Power Cooperative to install electrical service to the Duckwater Shoshone Indian Reservation 75 miles from Ely in the early 1970s. She lived in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Springfield, Va. While living in the Washington, D.C. area, she was awarded the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area Volunteer Award in 1986 for her work with the District of Columbia Public Library. She settled permanently in Burns in the early 1980s.
In Harney County, she has left her footprint. She was a successful grant writer and secured more than $1 million in grants for 21 organization in Harney County between 1989 and 2005.
In 1990-91, she served as EOU/TVCC Center Director at the Harney County Outreach Center during the regular director’s sabbatical. Her accomplishments there included moving the center to larger facilities, establishment of ED-Net, and doubling the number of students enrolled.
She and others spearheaded the establishment of the grass roots community improvement group, PRIDE (Positive Results from Innovation, Determination and Energy). Grants from the U.S. Forest Service funded a program to encourage local contracting, and she worked with displaced timber industry workers to enable them in bidding for contract work. She was also funded for a two-year position as PRIDE coordinator, which allowed her to coordinate activities and projects for PRIDE, generating thousands of hours of volunteer time and effort. Local contracting work resulted in a nearly 700 percent increase in local contracts with the USFS and BLM.
She served as a gaming commissioner for the Old Camp Casino and was interim general manager of the casino for a time. She continued to serve on the gaming commission until November 2001, and then worked as a management consultant until June of 2002.
She researched and wrote, “Housing Study for Harney County,” “Build-able Lands Inventory for Harney County,” and “Training Needs Survey for Current and Emerging Workforce in Harney County.” She facilitated management alternatives for the Emigrant Ranger District US Forest Service.
She served as Harney County Fair Parade Director for 13 years, was a member of the Community Response Team, Fridays Teen Center board, and served on the Regional Alliance and Regional Strategies boards, Oregon Youth Conservation Corps Advisory board, Oregon Youth Conservation Corps Foundation board, Training and Employment Consortium budget board, and was a VISTA volunteer in Harney County where her mission was facilitating volunteer efforts. She had been a member of the Kiwanis Club of Burns-Hines for many years and served as president and board director. Her most recent county involvement was as a member of the Harney County budget board until her illness required her to retire.
She was Oregon Vista Volunteer of the Year in 1989, Harney Partners for Kids & Families Outstanding Volunteer in 1991, and Harney County Woman of the Year in 1997. She owned and operated her own nursery in Burns for many years, and many of the yards in Burns can boast of plants that were purchased from Jean. Before her illness slowed her down, she worked for the Diamond Hotel for several seasons and truly enjoyed working with the Thompson family.
Jean is survived by her mother, Olive Davis; sisters, Patricia Knight of Ely, Nev. and Bonnie Davis of Stockton, Calif.; brothers, Allan Davis of Anaheim Hills, Calif. and Larry Davis of Lovelock, Nev.; children, Cindy Cain of Winnemucca, Nev., Melissa Cain of Burns and Davis R. Cain of Portland; granddaughter, Mazie Pruitt, of Winnemucca, Nev.; as well as many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews, with whom she spent many of her holidays.
She will be missed by all, especially for her pies, flower arrangements, sense of humor and her competitiveness playing card and board games.
She was preceded in death by her father, Warren Davis.
A celebration of life will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 13, at the Harney County Fairgrounds Memorial Building and will be followed by a potluck dinner.
Donations may be sent to her benefit account at the Bank of Eastern Oregon in Burns to help defray medical expenses, or memorial contributions may be made to the Harney County Senior and Community Services Center or the Kiwanis of Burns-Hines.