Fayette’s first black commissioner in hospice

A prayer vigil will be held Thursday evening for Fayette County Commissioner Pota Coston, who is in hospice with advanced-stage breast cancer.

Coston took office in January as the District 5 representative, becoming the first African-American to serve on the commission in Fayette's 194-year-old history. She is vice chairman of the five-member board.

Coston, 57, was admitted to the hospital last Thursday and moved to hospice Tuesday morning. Her husband, Bernard Coston, declined to discuss details of her condition.

“It’s shocking. It’s a tragedy,” County Manager Steve Rapson said Wednesday. “She’s such a vibrant and intellectual woman. There was so much opportunity. Her family is very faith-based, and I don’t know how you get through something like this without Christ. We’re still praying for a miracle.”

The head of the Fayette County NAACP on Wednesday acknowledged Coston’s work as commissioner.

“Although my heart is so heavy today, I do find some comfort in expressing my deepest thanks for what Pota Coston has done for all the people of Fayette County,” NAACP President Johnnie Jones said. “So please join me to lovingly embrace the entire Coston family as Pota has often embraced us. Her genuine hugs let you know how special she is. So I rest in the reality that while we know not what the future holds for any of us, we do know that Pota Coston will forever be the one who gave many of us in Fayette County a real reason to lift every voice and vote.”

Coston and her husband have been married 33 years. They live in Tyrone and have a 29-year-old son, Bernie.

“One of the things I most admire about my wife is she has always been a servant-leader,” Bernard Coston told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Wednesday. “She loves Fayette County. She loves the citizens. She has embraced the whole community.”

Thursday’s 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. vigil will be at the Board of Commission chambers, 140 Stonewall Ave., in Fayetteville.