Benton Warren Cain was born February 3, 1926, to Arthur and Lucy Cain of Yoakum, Texas. He graduated from Yoakum High School and got his Bachelor’s degree from Rice University, the alma mater of his parents, daughter, and grandson.
As a student at Rice, Benton believed God wanted him to be a lawyer, but that idea changed. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree from Rice, he attended Southwestern Baptist Seminary where he earned his Master’s of Religious Studies. He then went to Jonesboro, Arkansas where he served as Minister of Music and Education at Walnut Street Baptist Church. He was drafted into the Army where he served as Chaplain’s Assistant. He returned to the Seminary to get his Bachelor’s of Divinity degree so he could go back into the army to fill the need for chaplains; however, in the meantime, the war ended, large numbers of chaplains were no longer needed, and so he returned to seminary to earn his Bachelor’s of Divinity. While there, he served as Minister of Music and Education for Davis Street and Beckley Baptist churches in Dallas.
Benton then moved to First Baptist, Colorado City, TX. While serving there, he married Wanda Schwartz of Palmer, TX. in 1956. After serving Coggin Avenue Baptist Church in Brownwood, Benton entered the teaching ministry in Melvin, TX. He was the pastor for Doole Baptist Church in Doole, Texas, while teaching middle school language arts and history and coaching sports in Melvin.
He and Wanda came to Waxahachie in 1967 where Benton taught language arts at Waxahachie Junior High School while he finished his library certification at UT Austin.
Benton then became a librarian in WHS, where he fulfilled his dreams of helping students learn. He believed that the library is the center of learning and should have every tool possible to meet this goal. He installed computers for student use and directed the monumental task of putting the card catalog on the computer. He soon added two computer labs so teachers could help students even more on individual tasks.
Benton believed that every student should know how to use computers and all other discovery tools to research and learn. The TEA director of libraries commended him for his work and sent others to see what he had done.
Benton’s favorite school activity was the club Junior Historians. He led students to research local history publishing their results locally and in state magazines.
Benton’s church, First Baptist, Waxahachie, has always been his priority. He taught classes, planned programs, visited, and worked as a leader or a follower, whichever was needed. Benton served as a deacon and as chairman of the deacons. In addition, he always sang in the choir and received a special award for 40 years of service in the First Baptist choir. He was a charter member of the Ellis County Singers and gave the name to the organization.
Benton was forever “versifying” or writing poetry about his wife, people he admired, and his religious beliefs. His love of yard and gardens brought many to see him about what to plant, and visitors always took away starter plants to begin in their own homes!
Another activity that he enjoyed was helping Mothers’ Club with their Santa Claus project to raise money for their reading program. Many adults remember sitting in his lap when they were children either at events or in their homes as they shared with “Santa” what they wanted for Christmas.
One of his ultimate joys came when the Waxahachie ISD School Board announced that the library in the new high school would be named “The Benton and Wanda Cain Learning Center.”
His family was always his pride and joy. These survive him: Wanda Cain, wife; daughter Candace Ahlfinger and son-in-love, Randy of Waxahachie; granddaughter Moriah Ahlfinger and daughter Viola of McKinney; grandson Robert Ahlfinger and wife Chamica and daughter Gioia of Rowlett; brother-in-law Bennett Willis and wife Judy of Lake Jackson, TX; nieces, Emily Willis and her family of Upland, Indiana, Anita Hartsook and her family of Washington, DC; cousins Elna Cain of Denver, Colorado, and Beverly Thomason of Corpus Christi; two sons-in-love, Dennis Owens and his family of New York, and Kimbell Smith and his family of Garland.
In lieu of flowers, friends wanting to honor Benton are asked to make memorials to First Baptist Church Waxahachie for the fund to move the organ to the new church building or missions, the Waxahachie High School Library, or a charity of your choice.
Visitation will be held at Wayne Boze Funeral Home, 1826 W. Highway 287 Business, Waxahachie on Saturday, February 25, 2017, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. The memorial service will be held at First Baptist Church, 315 N. Rogers, Waxahachie, on Sunday, February 26, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. following a family graveside service.
Wayne Boze Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.