reporter, AP bureau editor, mentor
In his 34-year career at the Detroit bureau of the Associated Press, Charles C. Cain III made quite a name for himself: “Mr. Michigan AP.” Noted not only for his resourceful and accurate reporting, Cain was also a mentor to numerous rising stars in his field-even those who worked for competing news agencies. His encouraging manner and gentle guidance were instructive to the many young reporters who adopted him as their journalistic steward.
Cain began his career in 1936 as a reporter for the Attleboro (Mass.) Sun. After a stint at the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger, he was hired by AP in 1941 to work in the Boston bureau. He served in the Army during World War II and in 1945 joined the AP Detroit bureau. In more than three decades there, Cain served as news editor, sports editor, automotive writer and night editor.
A founding member of the Detroit Press Club in 1957, Cain won the AP Page One Award for best wire service story in 1951. He covered Detroit during a tumultuous time, filing stories on the attempted assassinations of Walter and Victor Reuther, the 1967 Detroit riots and Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance. A second-generation newsman, Cain and his wife Ruth-a fellow AP staffer when they met-raised seven children, six of whom now work in communications. But his fatherly advice didn’t stop with blood relations. Detroit Free Press staff writer Marty Hair wrote in support of his nomination, “Charlie treated us as equals in the office, but he also became a father figure to us, kidding us and encouraging us, rejoicing at our successes and offering an ear when we needed to talk. For us, he made the AP a better place to be. He also made generations of us better journalists.”
Cain died in 1988 at age 73.