Retired Baptist pastor Coy C. Privette, 82, died Mon., March 23, 2015, in Thomasville. Known as a colorful and witty leader, he was active in public service. Privette was a Republican candidate for governor of N.C. in 1976, but lost in a primary race.
He served four terms in the N.C. House, from 1985 to 1992. In 1992, he ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House of Representatives for the 8th congressional district. Privette served as a Cabarrus County commissioner from 1998-2010.
Coy C. Privette
Privette was pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Statesville from 1955-1959; First Baptist, Ellerbe from 1959-1962; and North Kannapolis Baptist, 1962-1976. He served 15 years as executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina (CAL) and five years as president of CAL. He also was on the board of directors of the American Council of Alcohol Problems.
In 1976 he was elected to the presidency of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC). He was re-elected in 1977 and later served on the BSC board of directors and executive committee.
A native of Iredell County, Privette was a graduate of Statesville High School, Wake Forest College and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. In high school he was honored as the most valuable player and co-captain of the football team. He went on to Wake Forest College (now University) on a football scholarship.
At Wake Forest he was president of the student body, active in the Baptist Student Union and the Omicron Delta Kappa national honorary leadership fraternity, president of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, sophomore class president and junior class vice president.
“Whether it was a personal conversation or whether he mounted the pulpit to speak to an audience, it was inevitable within just a short period of time that people would find themselves laughing at some joke, or some funny story that he had told, or just Coy’s humorous take on the day’s events,” said Mark Creech, current Christian Action League executive director, adding he was inspired by Privette’s courage, knowledge and his example. Creech was commenting for an article on the Christian Action League website.
“You can only imagine how deeply honored I felt when he threw his influence behind my becoming the next executive director of the Christian Action League in 1999,” he added. “To a large degree, I am where I am today because of him.”
He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army in 1955 and later served as a major in the chaplaincy of the U.S. Army Reserves.
At the time of his death, Privette was a resident of Piedmont Crossing Retirement Community in Thomasville and taught Sunday School at First Baptist Church in Lexington.
In 2007, Privette was accused of paying a woman for sex in a Salisbury hotel room. He eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges. He rejected pleas to resign from county party leaders and county commissioners, and finished his term in 2010.
Creech acknowledged Privette’s faults and asked for prayer for his family during their time of grief.
“We remember that his feet were made of clay. He stumbled and fell at one point, but the same God whose grace proved sufficient for King David was also sufficient for Coy,” he said. “He sought forgiveness and went on to serve His Master in constructive ways after retirement.”
In his later years, he enjoyed volunteering for disaster relief efforts and as a part of summer programs teaching English in China.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday (March 28) at North Kannapolis Baptist Church. Family visitation will follow the service.
Survivors include his wife, Betty; four daughters, Denise Sherman of Raleigh, Lori Hinnant of Winston-Salem, Amy Perko of Fayetteville, and Melanie Caudron of Potomac, Md.; one brother, Bob Privette of Deerfield, Ill.; and 10 grandchildren.
Memorial contributions to: North Carolina Baptist Men Disaster Relief Fund, P.O. Box 1107, Cary, NC 27512.