Grady Coulter Cothen Sr (born August 2, 1920 in Poplarville, Mississippi; died May 19, 2017 in Ridgeland, Mississippi) was the pastor of First Baptist Church of Birmingham from 1959 to 1961 and later president of the Oklahoma Baptist University, the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and the Southern Baptist Sunday School Board.
Cothen was the son of Reverend Joseph H. and Mamie Coulter Cothen of Mississippi. He attended Hattiesburg High School and went on to earn an undergraduate degree from Mississippi College in Clinton in 1941, and a master's degree in Christian theology from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 1944. He was ordained as a minister in Richton, Mississippi in 1939.
Cothen served as a chaplain in the U.S. Navy from 1944 to 1946 and then was called to the pulpit as pastor of White Oak Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In 1948 he relocated to Oklahoma City as pastor of Olivet Baptist Church. After eleven years there, Cothen was invited to lead First Baptist in Birmingham.
Cothen left Birmingham to become executive secretary-director of the Southern Baptist Convention of California for a four-year term. In 1966 he was named to succeed James Scales as president of Oklahoma Baptist University. He returned to his alma mater as president in 1970. In 1975 he was named president of the Southern Baptist Sunday School Board.
Cothen was married to the former Martha "Bettye" Major and had two children, Grady Jr and Carole. Widowed in 2005 Cothen was remarried, to the former Mary Cleo Colmer. He resided at "The Orchard" retirement home in Ridgeland, Mississippi when he died in 2017. He was buried as Roseberry Cemetery in Mascot, Tennessee.
Cothen's papers, covering the years from 1937 to 1995, are housed at Samford University's Special Collections.
|Pastor of First Baptist Church of Birmingham
- Cothen, Grady (1955) The God of The Beginnings. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Messenger Press
- Cothen, Grady (1976) Faith and Higher Education. Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman Press
- Cothen, Grady (1979) Unto All The World: Bold Mission. Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman Press
- Cothen, Grady (1993) What Happened to The Southern Baptist Convention? Macon, Georgia: Smyth & Helwys
- Cothen, Grady (1995) The New SBC: Fundamentalism's Impact on The Southern Baptist Convention. Macon, Georgia: Smyth & Helwys
- Cothen, Grady (2000) Soul Freedom : Baptist Battle Cry. Macon, Georgia: Smyth & Helwys
- "Grady C. Cothen" obituary (May 20, 2017) The Clarion-Ledger
- Grady C. Cothen at Findagrave.com