Steven “Steve” O’Dell Coggin | The Enterprise
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Steven “Steve” O’Dell Coggin

Posted on September 16, 2021


Rocky Mount — Stephen "Steve" O'dell Coggins, age 68, passed away on Monday, September 13, 2021. Born in Onslow County, NC on January 15, 1953, he was the son of Hazel Odell Manning Coggins, and the late Gordon McDonald Coggins, Sr.

Steve met his wife, Rita at the age of 16, when his family relocated to Washington, NC. Though he soon returned to Rocky Mount, the pair remained devoted to one another, married in 1975, and built a legacy of love as they raised their girls in his hometown. He was a dad who spoke softly, but impacted deeply, and his daughters were always confident in knowing how he loved them and supported their dreams. His heart grew exponentially when he became a granddad, and it showed in his smile anytime he heard one of his grandchildren say, "Daddy Steve". He would play a game of "horse" or checkers, build a wooden train track, or play with fairies and "little ponies" with equal enthusiasm, enjoyed going on nature walks with his family, and always made time for "Krispy Kreme Saturdays".

Steve followed his daddy into the grocery business as a young man, working for many years at Big Star in Rocky Mount, and later for Byrd's and Lowe's Foods of Spring Hope. Even after retirement, he worked with D&H Marketing until just weeks before his passing. Throughout his years of work, he was known to be dependable, even-tempered, and fair. He could be counted on for a witty remark, and for compassion.

Steve was an avid birdwatcher, an interest he inherited from his mother, and a squirrel-trapping enthusiast. He had such fond memories of playing ball with the boys in Meadowbrook, where he and his brothers made many lifelong friends. He also enjoyed watching all levels of baseball, from his grandkids, nieces, and nephews to the pros. He was an active member of the Nash/Edgecombe Pirate Club, attending ECU baseball and football games with his wife or his brothers each year, and was a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan.

His was a spirit of giving and service, and he shared this spirit freely, particularly in retirement. He was a member of the Optimist Club and of the Men's Club at St. Andrew's Church. He enjoyed serving in the Food Pantry each Tuesday morning and keeping the church playground free of pinecones. He was an enthusiastic recycler, inspired by his daughter, Stephanie's passion for environmental stewardship. He gave annually to the Thompson Children's Home and consistently to his church.

Steve is survived by his high school sweetheart and wife of 46 years, Rita Modlin Coggins of the home; his daughters, Stephanie Coggins Avett and her husband, Ryan, of Raleigh, and Christie Coggins DeBruhl and her husband, Jay, of Saint Augustine, FL; his five adoring grandchildren, Paul and Eleanor Avett, of Raleigh, and Jake, Lucy, and Eli DeBruhl, of Saint Augustine, FL; his mother, Hazel Odell Manning Coggins; his beloved siblings, sisters Debbie Coggins Gammon and her husband, Barry, of League City, TX, and Barbara Coggins Hicks and her husband, Al III, of Rocky Mount, his brothers Don Coggins and his wife, Annette, of Rocky Mount, and Dennis Coggins and his wife, Kay, of Nashville; and a host of nieces and nephews, all of whom he loved dearly.

A Celebration of Steve's Life was held on Saturday, September 18, 2021 at 10:00 AM at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 301 S. Circle Drive, Rocky Mount, NC 27804 with Rev. George Greer officiating. Inurnment followed the service at St. Andrew's Episcopal Columbarium. A visitation followed the service under the oaks of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the church will require masks to be worn when indoors, and the family is requesting social distancing be practiced throughout the events.

Flowers are welcome, or memorials may be made in Steve's name to St. Andrew's Episcopal Church All Saints Fund or Food Pantry, 301 S. Circle Drive, Rocky Mount, NC 27804 or online at

Arrangements entrusted to Wheeler & Woodlief Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 1130 N. Winstead Avenue, Rocky Mount, NC 27804. You may share memories and condolences with the family by visiting

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