September 12, 2022

COL Mike Kain passes away (1945-2022)

Editor's NoteWe were saddened yet again by the loss of another MOAA-Black Hills Chapter leader.  Colonel Mike Kain was a Board Member and served as Chairman of our Legislative Affairs Committee.  Mike was an active leader and willingly stepped forward to assist wherever needed. Our condolences to Charlene and the entire Kain family for their loss.  His obituary follows.


Colonel John Michael "Mike" Kain, 77, United  States Army, Retired, of Lead, SD passed away on Friday September 9, 2022, at Monument Hospital, Rapid City, SD.  A funeral Service was held at 10:00am, Friday, September 16, 2022, at Saint Paul Lutheran Church in Spearfish, SD.  Interment followed at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis, SD with full Military Honors being provided by the Unites States Army.  

Mike was born in Algona, Iowa on April 15, 1945, to Edward Kain and Viola (Dacken) Kain. He excelled in sports during his high school years gaining fame as an avid wrestler and football player. After his high school graduation, Mike attended South Dakota State University on a wrestling scholarship. During his senior year in college, Mike’s wrestling team won the NCC Tournament and finished 3rd in the NCAA…Go Jackrabbits! Mike also became involved in the Army ROTC program during his time at SDSU and graduated as a Distinguished Military Graduate in 1968, commissioned a 2LT of Infantry.  Mike served over 29 years as an active-duty Army Officer serving in two conflicts (Vietnam and Desert Storm).

He had numerous duty assignment during his active-duty time. Most notably was as an Assault Helicopter pilot and platoon leader with the 101st Airborne Division, Phong Din, Vietnam;  Company Commander, Company C, 1-8 Cavalry, Fort Hood, Texas; Commanding General’s Aide-De-Camp 3rd Armor Division, Federal Republic of Germany; Battalion Commander 2nd Battalion, 32nd Armor, Federal Republic of Germany; G3, 3rd Armor Division, Desert Storm; Brigade Commander 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado; Director, Center for Army Tactics, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Mike’s Culminating Assignment was Commander, Battle Command Training Program at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Upon retirement from the active Army Mike had achieved the rank of Colonel.

Mike’s military and civilian schooling included: Infantry Officers Basic Course, Rotary Wing Aviator Course, Armor Officer Advanced Course, Masters in Business Administration from Babson College, Airborne School, Ranger School, Command and General Staff College, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

Mike’s military awards and recognitions include: Distinguished Flying Cross, 30 Air Medals, Legion of Merit, 2 Bronze Stars, Meritorious Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal, Expert Infantryman Bade, Senior Army Aviator Badge, Parachute Badge, and Ranger Tab.

Mike retired in 2013, and he and Charlene moved to Spearfish Canyon South Dakota to start their long-awaited retirement life.

Mike found peace and tranquility in Spearfish Canyon where they built their house.  He loved to fly fish, pheasant hunt, golf, tell jokes, and enjoy the friendships he and Charlene made.  If he was not fly fishing or out golfing, you could find him off roading in his UTV, hiking, feeding the deer and turkey or out riding on his Harley or Spyder. Mike was full of life and lived retirement to the fullest. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, mentor, and one of the best friends you could ever have. He had an upbeat personality and woke up each morning completely happy and ready for whatever the day had in store.

Mike was an active member of the Spearfish American Legion and Riders, the Deadwood VFW, the DAV, MOAA, the Spearfish Canyon Volunteer Fire Department, President of the Calamity Gulch Road district, and an Elder of St Paul Lutheran Church in Spearfish.

Mike is survived by his wife, Charlene (Oseby) Kain; his son Scott (Dawn); his grandchildren, Ryan, Emily (Mat), and Michael; his great-grandchildren, Owen, and Kamden; Sisters Phyllis Bierle and Beverly Plaehn (Leonard); Brother Jim (Irene); and a host of loving in-laws, nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, cousins, and longtime friends near and far.

Mike was preceded in death by his mother and father and brother Tom.

Arrangements were under the care of Fidler-Isburg Funeral Chapels and Isburg Crematory of Spearfish.