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Mavis Mahan Cain

December 05, 2011

Sept 27, 1922 to Oct 30, 2011

Mavis Mahan Cain died surrounded by family on October 30, 2011 in San Rafael, CA.  Mavis was part of the greatest generation.  Born and raised in San Francisco to Dr. Eugene Mahan and Alma Meherin Mahan, she came of age in the Depression, matriculated from the Convent of the Sacred Heart in San Francisco, then UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Political Science in 1944.  The war years on the Cal campus created an opportunity for woman to serve in leadership positions, and Mavis never looked back.  She earned Phi Beta Kappa and served as President of Pi Beta Phi, Chairwoman of the Judicial Committee, and member of the War Board, Mortar Board, Ace of Clubs, and Pan-Hellenic. After graduation, she had a brief career with IBM.

Mavis married John “Ace” Cain in 1952 and moved to La Canada in 1954 where she lived for over fifty years, raised seven children, and was an active parishioner of St. Bede Roman Catholic Church.  She taught Sunday school, led the local Girl Scout troop for over a decade, and eventually found her calling as an advocate for peace and justice.  Starting in 1975, Mavis helped families of political refugees from Vietnam, and later from Poland, settle in the United States.  She frequently volunteered at the Catholic Worker Soup Kitchen on Skid Row and encouraged many others to do the same.

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Mavis and Ace co-founded the Justice and Peace ministry at St. Bede Church and San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity in the late nineteen eighties. The Justice and Peace ministry affords parishioners an opportunity to serve those in need and reflect upon the root causes of injustice and conflict in our world.  San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity built the first habitat houses in Los Angeles County and has now constructed 54 homes.  Mavis served on the Board of Los Ninos, an organization dedicated to building community on the U.S. Mexico Border, and for many years raised money by walking from Santa Barbara to Tijuana in the annual walkathon.  Mavis also served the developmentally disabled and supportedL’archeWavecrest, a home for disabled adults in Orange County where her youngest daughter Theresa now lives.  

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