He was born in Austin, TX on August 30, 1953, to Mary and Joel Cotten. Stephen graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1971, thereafter, Stephen attended the University of North Texas from 1971-1973 and went on to teach Sunday School at Beverly Hills Baptist Church and he had his own Christian Radio Program. Stephen and his brother Michael advanced to open a very innovative and successful business “Billboard by The Day”, the blue movie marquee-style billboards whose messages change daily. Stephen would then be called by the Lord to return to his original and ultimate purpose to work full time in ministry. He went back to school and attended the University of Texas at Dallas to acquire his BA in 2006 and eventually his Master of Divinity at SMU in 2010. After graduation he proceeded to become a United Methodist ordained elder in 2013.
Stephen led with humility and generosity in all the positions he was able to serve in. He helped create impactful community outreach programs for people of all ages and backgrounds. He volunteered as a youth counselor as well as the Heart of Africa Fellowship at Lovers Lane UMC. After Stephen became an ordained Elder, he assumed the role as the Pastor of Pilot Point First United Methodist Church, Kavanaugh United Methodist Church in Greenville, TX and First United Methodist Church in Mount Vernon, TX. His most recent role as senior pastor at FUMC of Kaufman, he is leaving behind a congregation whom he poured his heart into.
Stephen was a truly great man whose impact will be forever felt by his family, that loves him dearly. He was an incredibly selfless man whose passing left an unfillable gap in the hearts of his loved ones. His ability to sacrifice, provide, support, forgive, and love will be forever engrained in all who knew him. Stephen, the most loving and devoted father and grandfather is survived by his daughter, Marla and husband Dexter; son, Timothy and his wife Jolie; grandchildren Brayden, Ryan, Jackson, Logan, Hudson, Evangeline and Noah; His brother David Michael and his wife, Paula and sister Mary Ruth, alongside his many nieces and nephews; and last but not least, his faithful feline companion, Shadrack.
A celebration of life service will take place at 10 a.m. on April 6 at First United Methodist Church of Kaufman, 208 S. Houston St., Kaufman. Donations can be made to the church listed above in lieu of flowers.