Gloria Etchison Cain is the wife of Herman Cain. The former Republican presidential candidate and former Godfather’s Pizza CEO died after battling the coronavirus, his family announced Thursday. He was 74 years old.
Cain had been hospitalized earlier this month. It wasn’t known where he contracted the virus.
“Herman Cain–our boss, our friend, like a father to so many of us–has passed away,” his family said in a statement. “He’s entering the presence of the Savior he’s served as an associate minister at Antioch Baptist Church in Atlanta for, and preparing for his reward.”
“We knew when he was first hospitalized with COVID-19 that this was going to be a rough fight. He had trouble breathing and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. We all prayed that the initial meds they gave him would get his breathing back to normal, but it became clear pretty quickly that he was in for a battle.”
Gloria and Cain were married for more than 50 years, tying the knot in 1968 after meeting in when they were in college.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Gloria Thought He Would Make a Good President
During a 2011 interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren, Gloria joked that it was “exhausting” to be married to Cain. But when asked if he would be a good president, she was confident Cain was up for the job.
“I think he would. I think he would be a great president,” she said. “I think he would try to make a difference. That’s the one reason he’s doing this. And if I didn’t understand that I would not agree with it. I know it’s his way of trying to make a difference.”
While she supported her husband, Gloria was nervous about the run. “What’s your greatest fear about my running?” he asked her, according to his book.
“That you might win!” she answered. “I’ve seen you do the impossible before, by the grace of God.”
2. Gloria and Cain Had Two Children Together & Four Grandchildren
The Cains are a family of four. They welcomed daughter Melanie three years after they were married and son Vincent, their youngest child, was born in 1977.
As noted by Politico, Gloria worked as a housewife and stayed home with their children. In his book, Cain bragged about her cooking, saying her “fork-tender roast, collard greens, green beans, candied yams, hand-shucked corn and homemade cornbread” was one of his favorite meals.
Cain loved his family. “The paramount joys in his life are his wife, Gloria, his children and his grandchildren,” his online biography read, according to The Atlantic.
In the about section on his current website, Cain celebrated more than 50 years of marriage with Gloria, writing: “As of 2018 he and his wife Gloria have been married for 50 years, and each day celebrate their two children and four grandchildren.” He considered himself a man of “faith and family.”
3. Cain Courted Gloria For More Than One Year
During her 2011 interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren, Gloria revealed that Cain tried to court her for more than one year. At the time they were in college, with Cain attending Morehouse as a sophomore. Gloria was in her first year at Morris Brown.
She wasn’t interested at the time, but Cain was relentless in his pursuit. She laughed remembering how much he used to talk.
Eventually, he was able to win her over and the rest was history. “It was magic from that moment on and so I didn’t go out with anyone else. Neither did Gloria. And we dated and dated and dated,” he wrote in his book.
4. Cain Said Gloria Would Be An Unconventional First Lady If He Were Elected
Despite her husband’s public career as a politician, Gloria largely remained under the radar, Cain told Fox News in 2011, as quoted by The Atlantic. “I’m an unconventional candidate, as you know, and we’re running an unconventional campaign, and the involvement of my family is also going to be unconventional, although you will see them on a selected basis,” he said.
In his book, as cited by Politico, Cain wrote Gloria would be unlike any other first lady.
“I’ve also been asked, ‘What about the first lady? Will she be in the mold of Nancy Reagan or Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama? My answer is ‘None of the above,’” Cain wrote in his book.
“Gloria wants to come up with a ‘Grandmommy Project,’ something to do with the children,” he continued. “As she has told me, ‘I don’t know what it’s going to be but it will be something relative to grandkids,’ which has been one of my themes.”
Gloria’s absence on the campaign trail confused some people, but it didn’t mean she didn’t support Cain. “She has watched all the debates on TV,” Cain told Politico. “She prefers to maintain the calmness and tranquility of our family life.”
5. Cain Was Accused of Having a 13-Year Affair with Ginger White
White claimed she and the former presidential candidate had a consensual affair for 13 years in 2011. Cain long denied the allegations, saying he knew White but did not have an affair with her.
White later apologized to Gloria and their children. “I am not a cold-hearted person. I am a mother of two kids. And of course, my heart bleeds for this woman because I am a woman and being in a situation like this can not be fun,” White said on MSNBC, as noted by CBS News.
“And I am deeply, deeply sorry if I have caused any hurt to her and to his kids, to his family,” she continued. “That was not my intention. I never wanted to hurt anyone and I’m deeply sorry. I am very sorry.”
White brought up the allegations again in 2019 when President Donald Trump announced he wanted to put him on the Federal Reserve Board.