David Britnell Cauthen

By  | March 18, 2021 | Filed under: Obituaries, Rideout' Brown Service

DAVID BRITNELL CAUTHEN departed this life on March 14, 2021. He was eighty-five years old.

He was born on March 25, 1935, in Roanoke, Alabama. He was the younger son of Frank Merriman
Cauthen of Roanoke, Alabama, and Lucy Britnell Cauthen of Hartselle, Alabama. He moved to the
Edgewood community in Birmingham, Alabama, where he attended elementary and junior high school
and returned to Roanoke where he attended Handley High School, lettering in four sports. Following his
high school graduation, he attended Alabama Polytechnic Institute, graduating in 1957. It was at Auburn
that David met Barbara Gladney, to whom he was married in July, 1958.
After college, David served in the United States Marine Corps achieving the rank of Captain. He was
stationed at NAS Pensacola, Quantico, Virginia and El Toro in California. He was Honorably Discharged
in 1960.
Following his separation from the service, he returned to Roanoke to work for his family-owned business
and later enrolled in law school at the University of Alabama where he graduated in 1964. David moved,
with his family, to Decatur, Alabama, where he practiced law with A.J. Coleman and David H. Bibb. He
retired in 2001 to write, having authored two legal thrillers and an autobiography.
During his time in Decatur, David was active in the community and in local government. He served in
the Alabama House of Representatives and was voted Hardest Working Member of the Alabama Press
Corps. He was involved in the Decatur Jaycees and the Decatur Lion’s Club, was active with P.A.C.T.,
and was a devoted member of Central United Methodist Church, sharing teaching duties with the Lovett
Class. One of his fondest activities was participating in the Moulton Street Culture Club.
David will always be remembered by friends and family as a competitor who never met a fight that he did
not like. He was persistent and relentless as a lawyer, just as he was as an athlete. He was an excellent
advocate for his clients. David loved the law, and he loved practicing law. He especially liked the
collegiality among lawyers with whom he regaled the humorous side of law practice.
Friends and family know that David often learned things the hard way. He discovered that one never puts
a bull in a cowless pasture, roosters often crow before dawn and swing sets were not meant to be
assembled with a hammer. He was the subject and perpetrator of practical jokes, and shared these with
friends and family. David could laugh at himself and with others.
David was preceded in death by his parents and his devoted wife, Barbara Gladney Cauthen. He is
survived by his brother, Dr. Frank Merriman Cauthen, his daughter, Allison Elaine Cauthen, and her
children, Shelby Briana Cauthen and Chase Gladney Cauthen, his son, David Britnell Cauthen, Jr., and his
wife, Leigh Ellen Sandlin Cauthen, their four children, Sandlin Cauthen Graham (Zach), Ella Cauthen
Tidwell (Grant), Dr. Benton Reid Cauthen, and Nathaniel Grey Cauthen (Brittany), and five
great-grandchildren, Grady Graham, Murron Graham, Ella Wyler Graham, Navy Grace Cauthen, and Leo
There will be a graveside service in David’s honor taking place at the Cedarwood (City) Cemetery in
Roanoke, Alabama, on Friday, March 19, 2021, at 1:00PM.
In lieu of flowers, the family would request donations to the Community Free Clinic, P.A.C.T., and
Central United Methodist Church

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