November 21, 1920November 1, 2012

Denton R. Coker 1920-2012

Dr. Denton R. Coker of Pensacola died November 1, 2012. He was born in Bellmead, Texas, a suburb of Waco, on November 21, 1920, the youngest of three sons of Corinne Daughtry Coker and Samuel Smith Coker who are deceased. After finishing elementary and secondary schools in Bellmead, he earned a B.A. degree at the University of Houston. Later he earned B.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. In 1959-60 he studied at the Divinity School of Harvard University as a post-doctoral fellow. While he was a seminary student he was ordained to the Baptist ministry by the Crescent Hill Baptist Church in Louisville.

During most of his career Dr. Coker was an educator. He served fourteen years as a professor of two Baptist seminaries in Louisville, Kentucky and Wake Forest, North Carolina; seventeen years in the University System of Georgia as the dean of Brunswick Junior College and president of South Georgia College; and four years as the provost of Stetson University in Deland, Florida.

In World War II Dr. Coker served as a Naval Aviator. He earned his Navy Wings at NAS Pensacola and served his first tour of duty as a flight instructor at Whiting Field and a second tour of duty as a Naval Air Transport pilot flying PB2Ys in the Pacific theatre. After finishing his theological studies he received a commission as a USNR chaplain.

Dr. Coker is survived by his wife of 68 years, Octavia McGeachy Coker, the daughter of Judge and Mrs. R.A. McGeachy, deceased of Milton, Florida; his daughter Anne Hyle; three granddaughters, Lauren, Melissa and Kristen Eagar; one great granddaughter Averie; and sister-in-law, Lucy Gray of Pensacola.

The family and friends will gather at the interment service in the Bayview Memorial Park, 3351 Scenic Highway, at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, November 5, 2012, with Dr. Barry Howard officiating. Bayview Fisher-Pou Funeral Service is in charge of arrangements.

In lieu of flowers the family suggest gifts be made to the First Baptist Church of Pensacola in support of the Coker-Daniel-Gray Lyceum Fund or The Presidents’ Fund of South Georgia State College (Douglas, Georgia) or a charity of your choice.


  • Graveside Service Monday, November 5, 2012


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Larry Bracken

November 6, 2012

Dr. Coker was a Pensacola State College Trustee and served as chair of the Board. He was a delight to work with and always used his higher education experience for the benefit of the college and students. He will be missed.


November 5, 2012

So sorry for your loss. Dr. Coker was a great friend of Pensacola Junior College now PSC. I always enjoyed visitng with him.