The life of former Republican presidential candidate, businessman and radio broadcaster Herman Cain was honored Friday during a private funeral service in southwest Atlanta.

Cain died July 30 at the age of 74. The Henry County resident had been hospitalized for a month with COVID-19 after traveling throughout much of June, including to a rally for his ally President Donald Trump.

The service, held at Alfonso Dawson Mortuary, was streamed on hermancaincelebrations.com. Several dozen masked participants attended in person, facing a coffin covered in red roses. In a sign of the times, the Rev. Otis Byrd sang a solo in a black facemask.

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The website noted that Cain died 18 years to the day that he was licensed to preach at his longtime church, Antioch Baptist Church North, which he first joined in 1955 at age 10.

The Rev. Kenneth L. Alexander, pastor of the west side Atlanta church, said his friend never lost his sense of humor despite several battles with cancer as he climbed to the top ranks of business and politics.

“No matter what Rev. Cain was going through, he usually didn’t let you see it on his face,” Alexander said in his eulogy. “He always smiled. He always had a joke that he thought was funny.”

“He had an abundant life,” Alexander added.

ExploreFormer presidential candidate Herman Cain has died
08/07/2020 - Marietta, Georgia - A police motorcade escorts the family go Herman Cain to Alfonso Dawson Mortuary before the start of his funeral service in Atlanta's Harland terrace community, Friday, August 7, 2020. Cain, former Republican presidential candidate, businessman and radio broadcaster, died July 30 at the age of 74. The Henry County resident had been hospitalized for a month with COVID-19 after traveling throughout much of June, including to a rally for his ally President Donald Trump. (ALYSSA POINTER / ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)
08/07/2020 - Marietta, Georgia - A police motorcade escorts the family go Herman Cain to Alfonso Dawson Mortuary before the start of his funeral service in Atlanta's Harland terrace community, Friday, August 7, 2020. Cain, former Republican presidential candidate, businessman and radio broadcaster, died July 30 at the age of 74. The Henry County resident had been hospitalized for a month with COVID-19 after traveling throughout much of June, including to a rally for his ally President Donald Trump. (ALYSSA POINTER / ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)

Credit: ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM

Credit: ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM

Several friends and family members offered their tributes on video.

Former colleague Spencer Wiggins recounted Cain’s charisma.

“Herman had a rare gift. He could walk into a room and light it up,” Wiggins said, recounting how Cain convinced him to move from his hometown of Philadelphia to work for him in Omaha, Neb., which caused some of his family members to jokingly speculate he was joining the witness protection program.

In a nod to the virus that killed Cain, an unidentified family member urged guests to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s coronavirus guidelines in a video message.

“Prior to getting this virus, Herman was completely healthy. So it was COVID, not any other underlying conditions, that cost him his life,” she said.

“Herman was a man of God. To our family, he was a great patriarch. To the world, he is a great patriot,” she added.

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Cain got his start as a rocket scientist for the Navy before transitioning into a decades-long career in the business world. He worked for Coca-Cola, Pillsbury and Burger King before ascending to the chairmanship of Godfather’s Pizza and the National Restaurant Association, a Washington, D.C. trade group.

Cain became the most high-profile Black Republican to run for statewide office in Georgia when he placed second in a three-man GOP primary for an open U.S. Senate seat in 2004.

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08/07/2020 - Marietta, Georgia - A police motorcade escorts the family go Herman Cain to Alfonso Dawson Mortuary before the start of his funeral service in Atlanta's Harland terrace community, Friday, August 7, 2020. Cain, former Republican presidential candidate, businessman and radio broadcaster, died July 30 at the age of 74. The Henry County resident had been hospitalized for a month with COVID-19 after traveling throughout much of June, including to a rally for his ally President Donald Trump. (ALYSSA POINTER / ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)
08/07/2020 - Marietta, Georgia - A police motorcade escorts the family go Herman Cain to Alfonso Dawson Mortuary before the start of his funeral service in Atlanta's Harland terrace community, Friday, August 7, 2020. Cain, former Republican presidential candidate, businessman and radio broadcaster, died July 30 at the age of 74. The Henry County resident had been hospitalized for a month with COVID-19 after traveling throughout much of June, including to a rally for his ally President Donald Trump. (ALYSSA POINTER / ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)

Credit: ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM

Credit: ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM

Seven years later, Cain was briefly a front-runner for the Republican nomination for president. His showman’s persona and 9-9-9 tax plan earned him national attention, but sexual harassment allegations from several women ultimately derailed his bid. Cain vehemently denied the allegations but also acknowledged payments to several women.

Cain was a syndicated talk show host for WSB and this year began hosting a TV show with the conservative cable network NewsMax. The Morehouse College graduate was also co-chair of Black Voices for Trump.

He is survived by his wife, Gloria; daughter, Melanie Gallo; son, Vincent Cain; and four grandchildren.

Family members held a public viewing Thursday. In lieu of flowers, they are asking well-wishers to donate to Cain’s scholarship fund at Antioch Baptist Church North.

08/07/2020 - Marietta, Georgia - Family and friends of Herman Cain make their way into the chapel at Alfonso Dawson Mortuary to partake in his celebration of life ceremony in Atlanta's Harland terrace community, Friday, August 7, 2020. Cain, former Republican presidential candidate, businessman and radio broadcaster, died July 30 at the age of 74. The Henry County resident had been hospitalized for a month with COVID-19 after traveling throughout much of June, including to a rally for his ally President Donald Trump. (ALYSSA POINTER / ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)
08/07/2020 - Marietta, Georgia - Family and friends of Herman Cain make their way into the chapel at Alfonso Dawson Mortuary to partake in his celebration of life ceremony in Atlanta's Harland terrace community, Friday, August 7, 2020. Cain, former Republican presidential candidate, businessman and radio broadcaster, died July 30 at the age of 74. The Henry County resident had been hospitalized for a month with COVID-19 after traveling throughout much of June, including to a rally for his ally President Donald Trump. (ALYSSA POINTER / ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)

Credit: ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM

Credit: ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM

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