March 31, 1934 – February 15, 2022
Alcene Miye Cain (Akahoshi), who served as Buena Park’s city clerk for nearly three decades, died peacefully at home on February 15, 2022. She was 87.
Alcene lived in Buena Park nearly all her life, buying her first house there with her husband Ray Leddy Cain in 1955. She would raise four children, host innumerable family gatherings, and continue to volunteer for Buena Park well into her retirement. She will be remembered for her passion for travel and entertaining, her dedication as a public servant, her impeccable fashion sense and her love for her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Alcene succeeded, raised her family and became a respected community member despite the unspeakable hardships her family endured when she was a child.
Alcene was born on March 31, 1934, in Sacramento, Calif. to George Takeo Akahoshi and Marjorie Toshiko Nakagawa. She would move with her family to Los Angeles c. 1940, where she went to school and danced in Nisei Week performances in Little Tokyo.
In 1942 following the attack on Pearl Harbor and the entry of the United States into World War II, Alcene, then seven years old, along with her family and 120,000 other Japanese American citizens, were unjustly forced from their homes and imprisoned in camps throughout the West and Southwest where they would spend the rest of the war.
Alcene and her family spent the first months of their incarceration in the horse stalls at the Santa Anita Race Track, and would later be transported by train to a camp in Amache, Colorado. Along with their mother Marjorie, Alcene and her four brothers — Joji, Jerry, Jay, and John Dennis, who was born in the camp — would live in Amache for three more years.
At the end of the war, Alcene’s family made their way back to Los Angeles, where Marjorie would marry Bob Toshiro in 1949. The family would resettle in City Terrace.
Alcene attended John H. Francis Polytechnic High School, where she met Ray. After she graduated, she attended the University of the Pacific, then got a job as a secretary at Mudge Rose, a prominent law firm in Los Angeles, where she worked in the same offices as Richard Nixon. Starting in 1949, she would keep up her correspondence with Ray via numerous letters while he was deployed with the U.S. Marine Corps fighting in Korea. When he returned, Ray married Alcene in 1953, and they moved to Buena Park two years later.
After the births of her children — Jody, Paul, Steve and Jon — Alcene went on to work as matron for the Buena Park Police Department in 1967. In 1979, she was hired as Buena Park’s city clerk, a position she would hold for another 27 years.
In her time as clerk, Alcene was a respected mentor to numerous employees and a trusted confidant of Buena Park’s council and manager. She would go on to forge close relationships with other city clerks in the greater Los Angeles area, as well as leaders in the statewide City Clerk’s Association. Under her leadership, Buena Park would become one of the first cities in the state to digitize their records, and she helped the city build one of its first websites. Perhaps most importantly, she would host Buena Park’s Christmas breakfast reception for years.
Alcene retired in 1997, but didn’t stop working for the city she loved, volunteering for the Senior Center and the Historical Society.
She never stopped hosting parties — especially for her beloved family and friends — or seeking new adventures. She often traveled with her late husband’s brother, Dr. Richard Wilson Cain, on his famous trips to Japan and China.
Alcene was preceded in death by all four of her brothers; her husband, Ray; and her children, Jody and Steve. She is survived by her children, Paul and Jon; her grandchildren, Ashley, Rachel, Matthew, Zachary, Dallas and Joshua; and her two great-grandchildren, Kylie and Ray.