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Donald G. Motley

March 5, 1935 ~ May 23, 2019 (age 84)

CORVALLIS – Donald G. Motley, 84 passed away on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital in Hamilton.

Don was born on March 5, 1935, to Donald S. and Pebble Adair Motley in Hamilton, Montana.  His early years were spent in logging and mining camps as well as at his grandparents’ home.  His folks bought property in Darby and started an automotive and welding shop.  He taught himself how to drive his dad’s service truck when he was in 6th grade, and began delivered gas and stove oil around town.  His folks both worked at the Service Station, so he spent time at his grandparents’ house, where his grandmother, Emma Wetzsteon Motley, a frontier woman, taught him many life lessons.  He also worked for the Forest Service manning the Deer Mountain Lookout during high school. 

After graduating in 1953, he attended MSU, where he was a member of the MSU marching band, and was in the Air Force ROTC.  He join the Army, enlisting in the engineers so he could go to diesel mechanics school. After selling his Indian Motorcycle he bought an engagement ring for his girl, Nancy L. Zilla, to whom he was married for 60 years. At the end of his first 8 weeks of basic training he came home and married Nancy, and left for Fort Leonard Wood, MO.  After a year, Don was given orders to report to Fort Carson, CO to get ready to go to Germany with the 8th Infantry Division.  Prior to his deployment their 1st son Gregg was born. Don was sent to Germany, and Nancy followed a month later when Gregg was old enough to travel.  Battalion Headquarters, found out that Don was a photographer, and put him on special assignment as a public information specialist.   After his assignment he became a tank commander and was put in charge of two tanks.  While in Germany their 2nd son, Michael was born in Augsburg, Germany, and passed away when he was 9 months old and they were transferred back to Fort Lewis, WA, where he was a company clerk, training NCO, tank commander and a member of the battalion pistol team.  The last year of his enlistment their daughter Michelle was born.  At the end of his enlistment they returned home to Hamilton, where Don worked nights at the Connor Sawmill, and days at Hamilton Motors. In Don’s spare time he and Nancy built the Town & Country Trailer Court in Hamilton.  During this time two more sons were added, Scott and Jeff. Don attended General Motors School in Tigard, OR.  After completion of this school Don went to work in Alaska for B & R Tug and Barge. 

In 1969, Don opened his own auto repair business, Don’s Auto Haus, specializing in foreign and domestic repairs.  1973 saw the addition of another daughter, Erin.  In 1982, Don & Nancy moved to Challis, ID, where Don worked as a mine maintenance supervisor Cyprus Thompson Creek for 10 years before retiring. After retiring, they once again returned to the Bitterroot Valley.  Don was an avid fisherman and also a member of the Assembly of God Church for many years.

Don is survived by 2 daughters and 2 sons, Michelle (Ed) Davidson of Puyallup, WA, Scott (Kathy) Motley of Kalispell, Jeff (Vicki) Motley of Stevensville and Erin (Dyrk) Krueger of Corvallis; his 9 grandchildren, and 11 great grandchildren.  He was preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, Nancy L. Motley, sons Michael and Gregg Motley, and his parents Donald S. and Pebble Motley.

A Celebration of Life will be held, Friday, July 19, 2019 at 1 pm at the Hamilton Assembly of God Church, on 6th and Main St. with Pastor John Weaver officiating.  A reception will follow the service at the Assembly of God Church.  Private family interment will take place at the Lone Pine Cemetery in Darby. 


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