Donald J. Cain, 62, of Haddonfield, a former electrical-parts salesman and a legend in the world of Ultimate Frisbee, died Sunday, July 22, of a stroke while vacationing on Long Beach Island.
Optimistic and outgoing, Mr. Cain was known to all as "Sauce." He was once told by a Frisbee team captain: "Put some sauce on those throws," he said in a YouTube interview posted on April 15, 2016.
He played in the first inter-collegiate Ultimate Frisbee game, according to the interview. The very first Ultimate Frisbee game was played between the varsity teams at Millburn and Columbia High Schools in North Jersey, although he did not participate.
In the 1970s, he helped organize the sport and played steadily until three days before his death. He was an active member of the Philadelphia Area Disc Alliance, or PADA.
"He never stopped playing," said his wife, Valerie Rundberg Cain. "Some years he played year-round. He was in great shape."
Ultimate Frisbee is played by two teams of seven on a rectangular field. A goal is scored when a team completes a Frisbee pass to a player in the other team's end zone, much like football.
The game has its own rituals. In that world, Mr. Cain was known for generating goodwill wherever he went.
"To spend time with Sauce was to be caught up in something almost unreal and magical," PADA wrote in an online memoriam July 26. "Walking into a room or onto a field with that man was a joy, because the emotions of those nearby picked up so noticeably."
Mr. Cain earned a living, first with the Herman Miller furniture company in Paramus, N.J., and later at M&S Electronics in Audubon and RF Depot in Pennsauken, where he sold radio-frequency cable connectors. But what fueled Mr. Cain's joy in life was Ultimate Frisbee.
"Sauce had mad disc skills and saw things that were hard for others to see. This is not surprising, given the level of difficulty inherent in learning to cut for an upside down, over the shoulder throw off a sideline," PADA wrote. "To make that cut was to be rewarded not only with such a throw, but with the most wonderful, knowing, and grateful grin."
Mr. Cain started playing the sport at East Brunswick High School, which whipped Columbia High School in the first-ever game, although Columbia came back "and crushed us," Mr. Cain said in the YouTube interview. He went on to Rutgers University, where he helped Rutgers win national championships from 1974 through 1976.
Mr. Cain then played on several New Jersey club teams that competed at the national level. He spent a brief time working for a disc maker on the West Coast.
Mr. Cain's claim to fame was the Maximum Time Aloft World Record, which was set at a Philadelphia tournament on July 26, 1984. That World Flying Disc Federation record, which still stands, was set when he threw a Frisbee into the air and caught it 16.72 seconds later.
"That's hard because you have to throw it, so it stays up in the air long enough, and then run and catch it," his wife said.
Mr. Cain was asked to film two Pepsi Generation TV commercials showcasing his disc talents. One was filmed in New York in 1978, the other in Venezuela in 1981.
He played many decades of summer-league Ultimate Frisbee in Mercer County, N.J., and with PADA. He was inducted into the PADA Hall of Fame in 2016. He celebrated by having a special T-shirt made and having all his player friends sign it, his wife said.
Mr. Cain spent summers on Long Beach Island fishing and enjoying the ocean waves.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by daughters Shelby and Shannon; his mother, Mary Cain; two brothers; a sister; and many nieces and nephews.
A visitation from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24, at Kain-Murphy Funeral Home, 15 West End Ave., Haddonfield, will be followed by a memorial service at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, at the Lutheran Church of Our Savior, 204 Wayne Ave., Haddonfield. Burial is private.