July 10, 1878 - March 1, 1934
Leon Irwin McCain was born In the village of Montgomery, La., on Red River, July 10, 1878, the son of John I. and Mrs. McCaln. The latter before her marriage was a Miss Payne. Both parents came from prom-inent families. ‘The father was a staunch Methodist and the mother was a Roman Catholic Leon McCain was reared in the faith of his mother.
He received his education In private and public schools of his day. Later be attended the Louisiana State Normal school at Natchitoches, La. In 1897, at the age of 19, he ‘taught school for the year. He then entered the Tulane University of Louisiana and studied law, and in due time was graduated from that institution. He established residence In the town of Crowley, La., where he practiced his profession for several years.
During his years of sojourn in Crowley, he came more and more under the influence of the gospel as preached by Methodists. The mantle of the Lord fell upon him. He resisted the call of the Spirit. I heard him say more than once that he traveled all over the world, ostensibly to broaden his mind and increase his culture; but In reality he was running from the call of God. Whether he -was in Honolulu, Tokyo, Shanghai, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Paris, or London, behold the voice of God was heard with the same clear convincing and convicting tone, “Preach my gospel.” Whither could he flee from the Lord?. He returned home, and ceased to resist the Spirit, and offered himself for the ministry in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. He was licensed to preach and admitted into the Louisiana Conference on trial.
On November 9, 1904, at Crowley, La., he was happily and fortunately married to Miss Mamie Petty,, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Petty, who shared with him all the responsibilities of the Itinerant ministry.
Rev. L. I. McCain entered the ministry of the Lord on the run, and he never stopped until the cord was broken and the race was won. He was not of robust health. He was weak in body, but mighty in faith. For him the call of God was quickly followed by a command of God, “Go preach.” He then was a “sent servant.” After recognizing this fact, he no longer had any choice. His ministry from the beginning was an appealing ministry. His was a burning zeal for Christian living. He was instant in season and out of season. So anxious was he at times. to reach the person, the object of his heart’s desire, that he would literally run to the one, and with enthusiasm announce his purpose and plead for a decision. It has been said of him: “For Leon McCain no quitting-time whistle ever blew.”
His was a soul sensitive to the spirit of Christ, and he was quick to discern good and evil, and to recognize moral issues. For him there was no middle course. He never had compromises to offer and never entertained such.
It has been said of his work that “the ministry of Rev. Leon McCaIn was a great ministry.” And indeed it was. The churches where be served grew not only in numbers but in the spirit of Christ. He developed the sense of brotherliness among his congregations and made them to feel that surely Christ had come that way.
Among the churches served by him are Dubach, Haynesville, Ham-mond (five years), Lafayette (four years), Minden (four years), and Lake Charles. While at Lafayette he built a beautiful church which stands as a monument to his labors.
On September 21, 1929, his faithful wife—the stabilizing factor in his life—was called up higher and went to be at home with God. This loss -was more than Leon I. McCain could stand. In his year at Lake Charles, on June, 1930, his nerves broke. His health completely gave way, and he was forced to give up his work. He never completely regained his health, though he sufficiently recovered to preach some. On June 24, 1933, be was married to Mrs. Judith Scott of Lake Charles, La., who, together with his son, James I. McCain, survives him.
Rev. L. I. McCain departed this life March 1, 1934, to join that in-numerable band of faithful servants of the Lord, and to live with Him “who is the resurrection and the life.”
Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Pages 83-85, 1934, by Sidney A. Seegers