He was a man before his time. He made groundbreaking discoveries long before expressions like “game-changer,” “think outside the box,” or “disrupt the status quo” entered our everyday vernacular.
Dr. James Robert Cade sought solutions in the most unexpected places, was a force for good in the community, and defied stereotypes around what it means to be an inventor and an entrepreneur. He was a doctor—a kidney specialist—who played violin. He was a scientist, a man of deep faith, a writer, a poet, and a collector of vintage automobiles. He invented a pneumatic football helmet and discovered an autism link in the amino acid chain of milk protein.
Most famously, Dr. Cade led the team that formulated the sports drink we now know as Gatorade.
Celebrate the man and the legacy on his birthday, Sunday, Sept. 26. The Cade Museum invites the public to a celebration to commemorate the date that would mark Dr. Cade’s 94th birthday with cupcakes served on the patio from noon to 2 p.m. or as long as supplies last.
In 2004, Dr. Cade and his family established the Cade Museum Foundation to design and build a museum in Gainesville. The Cade Museum, named in the late doctor’s honor, opened to the public on May 19, 2018.
“Our museum reflects Dr. Cade’s unstoppable spirit and new ideas and his constant, genuine interest in helping, motivating, and encouraging people of all ages and experience,” said Stephanie Bailes, the Cade Museum’s President & Executive Director.
Dr. Cade was born on September 26, 1927, in San Antonio, Texas. After serving in the Navy at the end of World War II, he attended the University of Texas. In 1953, he married Mary (Strasburger) Cade, a nurse from Dallas. In 1961, after completing a post-doctoral fellowship at Cornell University Hospital in New York City, he took a position at the University of Florida medical school, where he remained the rest of his life.
When Dr. Cade invented Gatorade in 1965, it was a revolutionary invention that spawned a new industry—sports drinks. When the University of Florida first gave Cade’s Gatorade to Gator football players in a game against Louisiana State University in October 1965, in 102-degree heat, the L.S.U. Tigers succumbed to the Gators in the second half. In 1967, when Florida beat Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl, Bud Carson, Tech’s coach, said his team lost because they did not have Gatorade. In 1969, Hank Stram, coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, credited his team’s Super Bowl title to Gatorade. Gatorade became a Super Bowl tradition in 1985 when New York Giants players dumped it on coach Bill Parcells after his team beat the Washington Redskins.
Together Dr. and Mrs. Cade raised six children and helped raise twenty grandchildren. Dr. Cade died in Gainesville on Nov, 27, 2007, and Mrs. Cade died in Gainesville on September 1, 2021. Dr. and Mrs. Cade were philanthropic pillars in the Gainesville community. They provided founding donations for the Community Foundation of North Central Florida and for the Cade Museum. The Cade Museum’s mission is to transform communities by inspiring and equipping future inventors, entrepreneurs, and visionaries.
Dr. Cade often quoted his favorite line from Tennyson’s Ulysses: “I am part of all that I have met; yet all experience is an arch where through gleams that untraveled world whose margin fades forever when I move.”
About the Cade Museum
The Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention, a museum in Gainesville, Florida is committed to transforming communities by inspiring and equipping future inventors, entrepreneurs, and visionaries. Since opening in 2018, more than 100,000 visitors have experienced the Cade’s unique hands-on programming for children designed to spark imagination and inspire creativity. The Cade’s programs also help to build bridges to the innovation economy for those without access, low-income families, underserved communities, and those needing assistance to access education and start on the career paths available to them to fulfill their dreams. To learn more about the Cade Museum’s mission, visit cademuseum.org. Located at 811 S Main Street, Gainesville, Florida. Hours of operation: Thursday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday-Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.