Bishop Zedekiah Lazett Grady was born in Loughman, Florida, the son of the late Walter and Sylvira Bynum Grady. He was educated in the public schools of Sanford, Florida, and is a graduate of Crooms Academy. He attended Edward Waters College and the B. F. Lee Theological Seminary, where he received the A.A. and B.Th. degrees. He also matriculated at Allen University and Dickerson Theological Seminary, where he earned the B.A. and the B.D. (M.Div.) degrees respectively.
He furthered his graduate theological studies at the Union Theological Seminary in New York, New York, and the Urban Training Center in Chicago, Illinois. He received honorary doctorate degrees from Kittrell College, Allen University, and Edward Waters College.
Bishop Grady served the church and African Methodism for over 67 years as a distinguished pastor, Presiding Elder and Bishop. As a pastor he distinguished himself as capable administrator, civic organizer, ecumenical leader, social reformer and teacher and mentor. As a Presiding Elder, he distinguished himself in the areas of Church Growth and development and mentorship to new pastors. He served pastorates in Florida and South Carolina.
Bishop Grady was lauded for his service as a key negotiator in the hospital strikes of the 1960s in Charleston, S.C. as a member of the Concerned Clergy, chairman and vice- chairman of the South Carolina Juvenile Parole Board; strategist and advisor for several state and municipal elected officials; chairman of the Charleston Community Race Relations Committee; member of the Charleston Housing Authority; delegate to five World Methodist Conferences; board member of C&S Bank and NationsBank; life member of Beta Mu Sigma Chapter, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc; and a life member of the NAACP.
Bishop Grady, and Rev. B.J Finklea, then pastor of Ebenezer AME Church, and Rev. H.B. Butler then pastor of Emmanuel Church co- founded the EME Ebenezer Apartments on James Island in 1969. Bishop Grady was passionate about preaching and pastoring. In addition to being an outstanding proclaimer of the Gospel, he shared his passion as an Instructor of Homiletics with 2 generations of AME and Baptist ministers in the Charleston area.
On July 14, 1992, Bishop Grady was elected and consecrated the 111th Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and served in the 16th, 9th and 1st Episcopal Districts. He retired in 2004, at the General Conference, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Throughout the entire world, he was known as a Christian Gentleman.
After viewing several sermons online with family, Bishop Grady slipped into eternal rest on Sunday, April 19, 2020, in the evening. He was accompanied in life by his wife of 62 years Mrs. Carrie Etta Robertson Grady of Winnsboro, South Carolina, a proven leader and successful educator in her own right, successfully endearing herself to the hearts of many. They are the parents of four children, Reverend Z. L. Grady II (deceased), J. Felita Grady Hicks (George), Constance LuVira Grady Woodberry (Kenneth), and Reverend Carey Andrew Grady (India). They have six grandchildren, Melvin Grady Davis (deceased), Cara Leigh Davis, Kendall Bynum Woodberry, Zachary-Andrew Grady Woodberry, and Roman Josiah Woodberry and Stephen Edward Grady (deceased).