Susan Marie Motes

January 22, 1949July 10, 2018
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TUSCALOOSA – Susan G. Motes, age 69, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., died July 10, 2018, at home. Celebration of Life service will be 2 p.m. Sunday, July 22, 2018, at Forest Lake United Methodist Church with Dr. Kevin Thomas and Rev. Melody Traylor officiating and Heritage Chapel Funeral Home & Cremations, a Dignity Memorial Provider, directing. Reception to follow the service in the church's fellowship hall. She was preceded in death by her father, Grier L. Garrick, II and by her grandparents. Survivors include her husband of 44 years, William H. Motes of Tuscaloosa, Ala.; mother, Martha B. Garrick of Jacksonville, N.C.; sisters, Bettie G. Francis (Gilbert) of Pine Bluff, N.C. and Kathy G. Gross of Midway Park, N.C.; brother, Grier Garrick III (Sandy) of Rockport, Texas; and nieces, Louise Gross, Grace Francis, Heather Wilshire and Rachel Garrick. Susan was a loving wife, daughter, sister, and friend who devoted her entire journey to making this world a better place. Her presence was defined by a quiet dignity and personal grace that can be reflected only in genuine love and by the perfection of the human spirit...a dignity and personal grace that made this world and the lives of all who knew her immeasurably richer because she was here. Her very presence was her gift to each of us and in particular to a husband who adored her and who will forever hold her in his loving embrace. Born in Fayetteville, N.C., Susan spent most of her life in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, a city she always considered to be her true home. Incredibly creative and talented, her life was one of many extraordinary achievements. She was a graduate of Jacksonville High School, Jacksonville, N.C.; Methodist College, Fayetteville, N.C. (Bachelor of Science in Business Administration); and The University of South Carolina (Master of Communication). She would later earn a Doctorate in Ministry. Early in her career she worked as a buyer for a major N.C. retailer and then later as Assistant Public Relations Director, Methodist College. Her early years in Tuscaloosa were spent as an employee of The University of Alabama's College of Communications and The College of Continuing Studies. She later established her own desk-top publishing business and pursued that endeavor until her retirement. Upon retirement, her focus and energy returned to what she always cared about most-God, family, friends, and the less fortunate. Inspired by her deep, abiding love for Life and all of Life's creation, Susan was spiritually-centered...a centeredness that was nourished by a lifelong desire to grow in union with all of life…a desire that grew stronger and more focused after an invitation to participate in the walk to Emmaus. She wanted so very much to share her blessings with the world and did so as a Stephen Minister (Forest Lake United Methodist Church), a hospice volunteer, a Habitat for Humanity volunteer, and through many of the charities she supported. Three of her favorite charities were Heifer Project International, Habitat for Humanity, and Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Susan was incredibly kind, compassionate, caring, and very sensitive to and deeply touched by the suffering of others and tried her best to ease that suffering. She was especially sensitive to the suffering of stray animals and throughout her life found or provided a loving home to more than a few of those beautiful creations. She was a strong advocate of protecting the environment and the welfare of this beautiful planet. In support of this interest, she attended numerous environmental symposiums and also served as a panelist/speaker at a number of local and regional environmental workshops. She was also an ardent supporter of the Friends of the Tuscaloosa Public Library, a group of volunteers who serve the public library through the library's bookstore. It was there that she met others who became some of her dearest friends. But, of all her interests, gardening was her greatest love. She was incredibly knowledgeable when it came to identifying and caring for so many different varieties of plants and flowers. It was in her home garden that she felt at peace and closest to her Creator. Susan wanted all of her friends to know that she was so very thankful for their friendship, devotion, and loving concern. She felt so very blessed to have been part of this beautiful world and so very grateful for the deep, abiding friendship of all who loved her. She was especially grateful to those special friends who in so many wonderful ways supported her lifelong effort to grow spiritually and who cared for and supported her during her illness. Special appreciation is extended by her husband and by her family to Dr. Matthew Campbell, Dr. Jose Karam, Dr. Shannon Westin and Dr. R. Sheth along with their specialized care teams, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas; Dr. Susan Winchester, Birmingham, Ala.; Dr. Cara Bondly, Birmingham, Ala.; Dr. Ross Vaughn, Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Jim Cotton, Birmingham, Ala.; and Hospice of West Alabama. The family requests that those who wish to send flowers make a donation instead to MD Anderson Cancer Center, Hospice of West Alabama, or to their favorite charity. Condolences may be offered at


  • William H. Motes, Husband of 44 years
  • Martha B. Garrick, Mother
  • Bettie G. Francis (Gilbert) and Kathy G. Gross, Sisters
  • Grier Garrick III (Sandy), Brother
  • Louise Gross, Grace Francis, Heather Wilshire and Rachel Garrick, Nieces


  • Celebration of Life Service Sunday, July 22, 2018
  • Reception Sunday, July 22, 2018

Susan Marie Motes

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William H. Motes

July 13, 2018

To say ‘goodbye’ is difficult. To know that I will never again embrace the one I love so deeply is overwhelming. Susan Marie— my beautiful wife, friend, and loving companion for over 40 years— is as much with me now in death as she was in physical presence. I carry her in the deepest recesses of my heart and mind and will do so for the remainder of my days. To all of her dear friends—our friends—to all of you who are here today in person as well as spirit, Susan and I and family are deeply grateful. She wanted so much to convey to each of you her deepest love for embracing her as your friend…for all of the cards, flowers, and well-wishes…for all of the years of friendship…for accepting her as she was.
To me, Susan was an amazing gift…so very creative. She created for us a beautiful home...always mindful of bringing forth changes that would at least make us appear not to be living back in the 1950’s or 1960’s. She always accused me of clinging to my ‘comfort zone’. And, of course, she was right. She certainly expanded my horizons, forcing me to travel to places I would never have gone to. She even got me to travel ‘beyond the boundaries’ of this beautiful country of ours. Ireland, France, Switzerland, Germany, and the Netherlands were just a few of those memorable trips! Although I’ve traveled by air many, many times, it’s not one of my favorite modes of transportation. But, I did it for her! She loved to travel!
Her love for family ̶ her mother, father, sisters, brother, nieces, aunts, uncles, grandparents ̶ was all encompassing…a deep and pervasive type of love…the kind that leaves no doubt as to its genuine nature. For all who truly knew her, Susan had an unwavering spiritual core. I was absolutely amazed at the courage she displayed each and every day, knowing that the days of her journey were limited and death soon approaching. She was a strong believer in God’s Divine Presence

Jennifer Ugarte

July 11, 2018

No worries! I know you are busy. Dad has an aneurysm in his aorta. It has to be grafted in two parts. The problem is that there are arteries to the spine where the aneurysm is located, so once the graft is put in, those arteries get blocked. Now it’s up to the body to make up for those blocked arteries and send more blood through the arteries that remain open. It’s tricky and recovery depends on each specific case. It’s risky, but it’s either you graft the aneurysm or you are just waiting to die when it finally ruptures.