Dr. Timothy Motley

Dr. Timothy Motley

NORFORK, Va. – Dr. Timothy Jay Motley, Ph.D., 47, died Thursday, March 28, 2013.

He was born June 4, 1965, to Roy and Joan (Schaeffer) Motley. He was raised on a farm near Rankin. He married Tatyana Lobova on Oct. 10, 2004.

He is survived by his wife and his beloved son, Anton, 2 1/2; his parents; brothers, Gavin and Jeremy (Patti); and nephew, Jared; as well as numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.

Tim graduated from Rankin Township High School in 1983, Eastern Illinois University in 1987 with a B.S., and in 1989 with a M.S. in Botany. Tim spent eight years in Hawaii, earning a doctorate in Botany in 1997, and working with tropical plants throughout the South Pacific area.

He then became a scientist at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx and worked there for eight years. In 2005, he began a teaching career at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., as the J. Robert Stiffler Distinguished Professor of Botany and Director of Science at the Norfolk Botanical Garden (NBG).

He continued his world travels to collect and study in numerous South Pacific countries (Rapa, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Guam, New Caledonia, New Zealand) as well as unexplored areas of China. Tim was a frequent speaker at botanical conferences, using the fantastic photographs he had taken in his travels.

He had taught and mentored many undergrads as well as grad students and will be sorely missed. He also was curator of the orchid and tropical plant conservatory on the Old Dominion University campus.

The University is planning a memorial celebrating Tim's life on at 3 p.m. Friday, May 17, at the Norfolk Botanical Garden. A memorial fund has been set up for Tim's son, Anton, at gofundme.com/motley in lieu of other expressions of sympathy.