Daniel M. Cain ’64

cainDaniel M. Cain passed away on March 31, 2017, at his farm house in West Cornwall, CT, after an eight month battle with brain cancer. His wife of 21 years, Kathleen, was at his side at the time of his death and for every step throughout his long ordeal. In addition to his wife, Mr. Cain is survived by his son William, 20, a sophomore at Cornell University, three siblings, William Cain and Constance Decelles of Holyoke, Massachusetts and James Cain of Larchmont, New York, and numerous nieces , nephews, and in-laws.

Mr. Cain was born in Holyoke, Massachusetts, on February 24, 1945, the third of four children of William P. Cain a local plumber and Sabina (Wozniak) Cain, a homemaker. Mr. Cain’s father passed away in 1959 and his mother held things together while raising her four children, ages 9 to 18. His mother passed away in 2006.

In his senior year in high school Mr. Cain was selected as one of top 100 high school football players in the nation during the fall of 1963. His Holyoke High School team was the Western Massachusetts co-champion that year and he broke the schools rushing and scoring records, both of which stood for decades after his graduation. His skills on the grid iron along with his enthusiastic and warm personality opened the door to a full scholarship for a post graduate year at Williston Academy in Easthampton, Massachusetts. At Williston he led his team to an undefeated season while earning First Team All-New England honors. After entertaining offers from college football programs throughout the east and mid-west, including Notre Dame, Army, Columbia, Dartmouth and Holy Cross, Mr. Cain chose Brown University where he started on the freshman team before sustaining a career ending knee injury during his sophomore year.

After graduation from Brown in 1968, Mr. Cain began a career in commercial banking with the Bank of New York. Realizing at an early stage that reading estate plan documents in the bank’s trust department was not his natural calling he left the bank in 1970 for an extended tour of Europe on his BSA motorcycle. A near fatal accident in Rome encouraged him to submit an application to the MBA program at Columbia University where he graduated in 1972.

After a brief tenure in the corporate finance department at Merrill, Lynch, Pierce, Fenner and Smith, Mr. Cain joined his brother, James, at a fledgling health care investment banking group within Eastdil Realty in 1974. Over the past 40 plus years Mr. Cain was regarded as one the industry’s top health care services investment bankers. He was a pioneer in the origination and execution of countless merger and acquisition transactions among non-profit and investor owned health care providers. In the 1980s his recognition that the health care industry was plagued with inefficiencies and excess capacity convinced him that the industry was ripe for consolidation, a trend that is in full bloom today. In addition, Mr. Cain executed hundreds of millions of dollars in capital raises for hospitals, physician groups and various organizations serving the health care industry.

After five years at Eastdil, Mr. Cain and his brother, James, left together to join the public finance department at Salomon Brothers where Mr. Cain served as the head of the group. While tax exempt bond financing was the focus of that group within Salomon Brothers, Mr. Cain’s real interest and passion was in bringing health care organizations together through mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and other forms of affiliation. As a result the Cains left Salomon Brothers in late 1982 to form the firm now operating as Cain Brothers.

Mr. Cain’s brother, James, vividly recalls his father in law saying the Cain boys were crazy to leave Salomon. The Cains were making more money than most players on the New York Yankees. James remembers that they left Salomon on very good terms and were told to come back if things didn’t work out. Things did work out and 35 years later Cain Brothers is growing, prospering and is well known and highly regarded throughout the industry. Most importantly this success has occurred while maintaining a culture focused on doing right by its clients and employees.

Mr. Cain was also a founding partner of two venture capital firms-CB Health Ventures and Health Enterprise Partners. Implementing a strategy to raise capital for and within the health care industry these funds raised capital from organizations that would also be informed users of the services and products provided by the portfolio companies. Both venture funds have successfully raised and invested hundreds of millions in early stage health care service and technology companies.

Mr. Cain displayed a high level of energy and creativity. He was often ahead of his time and enjoyed developing innovative and at times overly complicated strategies for addressing a capital or strategic need that others may have address with more traditional and conventional solutions. If plain vanilla was the solution he quickly lost interest. His support team often cringed when asked to execute his game plan. That said, clients loved his creative gene and his ability to convey his enthusiasm for the work he did and the extraordinary outcome he envisioned. He was also loved by his colleagues and respected by competitors.

Entering a meeting room or event with his customary “hey sports fans” Mr. Cain would inject a jolt of energy into any event or meeting. As time passed and his dual careers as an investment banker and venture capitalist thrived his philanthropic interests grew as well. In addition to supporting his various alma maters he was a generous benefactor to many health care, educational and cultural organizations thorough the United States. He also gave of his time serving on numerous boards including the Williston-Northampton School, the Salisbury School, the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Shaker Hancock Village and the Columbia Business School.

When not in the office or the board room Mr. Cain spent his time traveling with friends and family to destinations throughout the world or tending to the needs of the several farms he owned in Connecticut, upstate New York and Virginia. He loved to burn off his high octane energy levels building stone walls or bailing hay. His West Cornwall farm served as a setting for annual Thanksgiving gatherings and touch football games for his growing immediate and extended family and many other festive occasions. His wife, a gourmet cook, would spends days preparing the proper and substantial menu and decorating the farm to reflect the event being celebrated.

His brother James said that “Dan was more than a brother, a mentor, a partner and friend.” His one great year on the football fields of Western Massachusetts opened a new world to our whole family. We were suddenly introduced to new experiences, people, organizations and attitudes outside our hometown of Holyoke, Massachusetts. Dan dragged me off the couch and onto practice fields in Holyoke, then to Williston, an Ivy League education and finally diverted my career path as a bartender and wrestling coach to one in investment banking. He had a similar and lasting impact on my siblings and their children. Dan loved his family, his farms, his friends and his business colleagues and always extended a helping hand whenever a need or an ask arose.”

The family held a private service near his farm in Litchfield County and plans to hold a memorial service at the Salisbury School within the next two months. Mr. Cain gives credit for his success in business and life to not only his family and friends and to the opportunity provided at Williston. Accordingly, the family suggests that voluntary contributions in his honor be made to the Williston Northampton School.

9 thoughts on “Daniel M. Cain ’64”

  1. I cannot express in words the profound sorrow I feel reading about Dan’s passing. The one year I shared with Dan as PGs and teammates at Williston will forever be remembered.

    Doc Dionisi ’64

  2. There were few in school who epitomized maturity, a sense of purpose, coupled with humor and humility as Dan did.
    Apparently he carried that rare combination with him throughout his life. No wonder he had such a significant impact on people’s lives.
    So, perhaps, for those he touched, part of him lives on in them. Quite a legacy wouldn’t you say.

  3. Dan was a prime mover with the undefeated 1964 football team and went on to good success with his career going on from his success at Williston by his classmates.. Although I have not seen Dan since graduation from Williston in 1964, he is well remembered. 53 years later.

  4. Although Dan and I spent only one year at Williston together, I remember his talent and friendliness and knew he was meant for great things! Condolences to his family.
    Wally Schlech, MD

  5. My sympathy and condolances to Dan’s family. He was a great teammate and an inspiration in his loyalty and support of Williston Northampton throughout his life. He always gave all he had.

  6. I know Dan was suffering a lot in the last year, yet he did not complain. Tough as he was when he championed our FB team, he was at the end. We will all be dealing with death, and how we do it is often choice less. What can one say and do.?
    Also he gave so much to the school. I so enjoyed him at our 50 ,I will remember him that way,and busting a touchdown off of Monty’s block……

  7. What a loss to ALL of us.
    In a time when wealthy people, men in particular, are in the scopes, Dan is a man who reaped what he sowed through hard work and ethics and spread the wealth. He was TRULY awesome as a teammate and leader and later as a citizen of the world!

    His experience also makes me aware of how important Williston’s generosity was to him and Jim and others like my brother and me; and not only because of athletic talent! I am blessed to have known Danny and for the support Williston gave me and my family.

  8. Dan and I ran into each other, literally, in Nice, France in 1968. I ended up in Saratoga Springs, NY, and Dan and I became lifelong friends because he would bring guests to Saratoga every August. He helped my oldest daughter get into Brown, and he, Kathy and my various wives and girlfriends and I spent many wonderful weekends together. My wife and I spent a great weekend with he and Kathy in July, and he was fine. In September, Kathy told me of the bad news. Having lost a step brother, and another friend to the same type of cancerous tumor, I knew it was the end.
    He was indebted to Williston, but he and Jim repaid Williston many times over. Without getting into specifics, Dan gave Williston his time and money far beyond most people’s ability. Lastly, to quote Steve Greene, “He was a real Gentleman.”

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