[ skip to content ]

News @ ODU

Memorial Service May 17 for Timothy Motley

Picture of the late Biology Professor Timothy MotleyTimothy Motley

Old Dominion University and Norfolk Botanical Garden (NBG) will hold a memorial service for Timothy J. Motley, the late ODU associate professor of biological sciences, at 3 p.m. on May 17 at NBG's Rose Garden Hall.

Motley, who as the J. Robert Stiffler Distinguished Professor of Botany was a faculty member at ODU and director of science at NBG, died March 28 after suffering a heart attack.

Among his survivors are his wife, Tatyana Lobova, a lecturer in ODU's Department of Biological Sciences, and 2-year-old son, Anton.

"His death is a great loss to botany at ODU," said Lytton J. Musselman, the university's Mary Payne Hogan Professor of Botany and a former department chair who recruited Motley nearly a decade ago. "He will be missed by his botanical colleagues, fellow faculty and especially students."

Musselman, who was on a botanical field trip with Motley and students just a few days before his sudden passing, said his colleague had arranged this semester an internship program enabling ODU students to work at NBG for credit. "That was one of his many legacies in his few years at ODU," Musselman added.

"I have been at ODU many decades and have never experienced the warmth, care and compassion that I have seen for Tim," Musselman said. "It is most moving and I am so very thankful that I had the privilege of hiring him.

"Tim had the gift, unusual among plant scientists, of being able to communicate botany with the general public, an ability he used both at the (Norfolk Botanical) Garden and in teaching undergraduate courses at ODU," Musselman said. "His Ethnobotany course, dealing with the diverse ways humans use plants, was always popular and filled up soon after registration opened."

Motley was the first researcher to hold the joint ODU/NBG professorship named for Stiffler, a former gardening columnist of The Virginian-Pilot and the author of "Gardening in Southeastern Virginia and Northeastern North Carolina." The professorship was made possible by a $1 million anonymous gift. Motley also directed ODU's Arthur and Phyllis Kaplan Orchid Conservatory.

Those attending the service will not be charged an NBG entrance fee. Parking will be in the main lot.