Madison - Glen G. Cain, aged 81, Madison resident since 1963, passed away suddenly on Monday, November 24, 2014.
Glen was born November 24, 1933 in Chicago to John and Anna Cain and grew up in Gary, Indiana. Glen's father died when he was just two years old; Glen was raised by his mother and step-father, Dan Beader, who he always knew as "dad." The family struggled through the Depression, but always valued hard work and education.
Glen was a particularly bright and devoted student, skipping two grades and graduating from high school at the age of 16. To supplement the family income and save for college, Glen worked as a house painter for his beloved uncles. Even after becoming a tenured Professor of Economics at the University of Wisconsin, Glen would never forget his humble upbringing or this useful skill, doing much of the painting in the house he built with his wife Ria on Madison's near West Side in 1967, and a house he helped his daughter Paula buy many years later.
But Glen's incredible intellect and dedication to scholarly pursuits foretold a different career path than house painter. He attended Lake Forest College, playing on the basketball team and graduating second in his class and Phi Beta Kappa in 1955. It was also at Lake Forest that he met his future wife and the great love of his life, Ria Castellanet. Glen and Ria were married in February 1958 and would have celebrated their 57th anniversary in 2015.
After graduating from Lake Forest, Glen went to the University of California - Berkeley where he earned a Master's Degree in Industrial Relations in 1957. Then it was back to the Midwest where Glen and Ria got married and Glen began working at the Federal Reserve in downtown Chicago. But Glen decided he wanted a bigger challenge. He applied and was accepted to the University of Chicago where he earned his Ph.D. in Economics in 1963, studying under Milton Friedman and other notable economists, some of whom became Nobel Prize winners. Upon graduation, Glen was offered a tenure-track position at the University of Wisconsin and moved to Madison with his wife and young son. The family would grow to three children with the addition of two daughters.
Glen left an important legacy in his chosen field. His dissertation, published in 1966, was titled Married Women in the Labor Force and described one of the most important trends in the U.S. economy in the post-World War II period. Glen worked closely with the U.W.'s Institute for Research on Poverty and was a prolific writer, authoring articles, papers and chapters in books on labor economics. Some of his professional and volunteer affiliations included service on the National Commission on Employment and Unemployment Statistics; the Advisory Panel to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission; the Board of Directors of the National Bureau of Economic Research; and on Lake Forest College's Board of Trustees. Glen was also editor of the Journal of Human Resources. Glen retired from the U.W. in 1995, although he remained active in his research and continued to work closely with the U.W. graduate students he mentored and cared so much about in the economics program.
In recent years, Glen enjoyed a full life filled with the many friends cultivated over his years in Madison, and close relationships with his wife, three children and seven grandchildren in Madison and Chicago. Glen loved to read, talk baseball, listen to jazz, and work on crossword puzzles with his wife Ria. Glen always made time for the people he cared about. He had a big heart, a gracious and loving spirit, great compassion for humanity, and a strong sense of social justice. He was extremely generous, giving freely and frequently to a wide range of organizations, charities and friends he held dear. He left a deep impact on his family, friends and many students. He will be greatly missed.
Glen is survived by his wife, Ria Cain; three children - Steven Cain, Paula Cain, and Leah (Paul) Thenstedt; seven grandchildren - Crystal, Cameron Glen, Alexander, Maria, Tyler, John and Tony; a sister, Peggy Jancovich, in Crown Point, Indiana; and nieces, nephews and cousins. Glen was preceded in death by his parents, Anna, John (Cain) and Dan (Beader); and by his older brother, John Cain.
A Celebration of Glen's loving and productive life will be held at Cress Funeral Home on Madison's West Side, 3610 Speedway Road, on Sunday, November 30, 2014. Visitation with the family will be held from 11 a.m. to noon, and a service will follow.
In lieu of flowers, an act of kindness to others or donation to a charity of your choice would best honor Glen's spirit and memory.
Cress Funeral Service
3610 Speedway Rd
Madison, WI 53705
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A good man. Much love and respect!
Glen served on my dissertation committee in the late 1970's and early 1980's. He was a thoughtful and supportive committee member who guided the econometric analysis in my dissertation research.
A disproportionate fraction of the female PhD students in economics at UW-Madison at that time chose Glen for their dissertation committees. My sense was that this was not only because of his research interest in labor force participation by married women, but also because Glen was committed to gender equality. Some of the female UW-Madison grad students in economics referred to him as "sugar Cain" because he was sweet.
Although the University of Chicago Department of Economics, where Glen got his PhD, was a bastion of free-market economics, Glen was an open-minded scholar who was willing to take seriously a wide array of ideas. I really liked his 1975 paper, "The Challenge of Dual and Radical Theories of the Labor Market to Orthodox Theory." Glen also made a substantial intellectual contribution to the theory of statistical discrimination, a theory that made some ideas from the political left about race and sex discrimination persuasive even to many labor economists on the political right.
About a decade after I defended my dissertation, I heard that Glen was giving a research talk about a two-hour drive away from where I lived. I made the trip just for the chance to see a former mentor again.
Glen Cain was not only a good scholar, but also a very fine human being.
I got to know Glen as a student and research assistant, and later as an nth year student looking for a substitute reader for the dissertation committee. My lasting impression of him is an ever young and gracious professor who valued his students, and looked for ways of improving his outlook on life as an economist through every opportunity he had, be it an odd question asked by an inattentive student, a claim by a colleague in the seminar room, or an article from New Yorker worthy of a heated debate. To me Glen, together with late Art Goldberger, was a great example of the liberal tradition that set UW Madison apart from Chicago and Minnesota, which helped to shape up the professional values of generations of students. I am grateful I was there then. I am sending my heartfelt condolences to Ria, and the rest of the family.
Glen was my dissertation adviser and a co-author on a later paper. I'm very grateful for all he taught me. I gave in his honor to Wikipedia as that seemed fitting.
Paula, so very sorry to hear of your cherished father's death. I know you will miss him terribly. You and yours are in my prayers. My love Carvell
I took Glen's graduate labor course in 1978 and he was a reader at my dissertation defense. He was very helpful and insightful, and of course a really nice guy. I saw him many times on subsequent visits to Madison for IRP conferences, and he was always cheerful, interested, and involved in the proceedings, even well into retirement.
During his retirement years Glen was an invaluable member of Wisconsin Cares, Inc., an advocacy organization for children and families. His wisdom and low-keyed manner will long be remembered.
I was one of Glen's teaching assistants for several semesters and one of his last dissertation advisees (1995). Glen was truly a kind soul whose integrity was paramount in all he did. He was a dedicated teacher who valued not just what he was teaching but who he was teaching. Whether inviting students to his home to discuss economics or giving his TA's a little extra holiday spending money, he touched so many in such profound ways. He will be greatly missed and always admired. Thanks Glen!
I was a graduate student taking Glen's labor economics class on campus and remember going in to ask questions. Nervous to speak to a man whose work I had admired, I left his office more impressed with his kindness and humility than his work. The world has lost a wonderful professor and great human being.
Glen was smart but even more outstanding was how nice he was. He was always gracious and receptive to me. I think of him frequently as I still have the washer and dryer he bought Duane and I as a house gift in the late 1980's. It is still working well some 25 years later. Thank you Glen.
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