Rosemary S. Motes

Rosemary Smith Motes, 85, of Palatka, passed away at her home after an extended illness.

Rosemary was a graduate of Mellon High School class of 1948. She was a member of the marching band, served as senior class president, voted most popular in 1948 and was a member of the Twilight Three singing group. Rosemary grew up living in the middle of the river as a railroad bridge attendant’s daughter and told many funny stories with the adventures of living in a house in the middle of the St. Johns River. She worked as a secretary for Florida Furniture for many years and later worked for Alford Timber until she retired in 1992.

Rosemary was well known for her beautiful voice. She sang at church, countless weddings, funerals and women’s retreats. Sonny often said, “She was either marrying them or burying them.” She also sang the National Anthem at many rodeos and events throughout North Florida. She taught Sunday school at Francis Baptist Church and Christ Independent Methodist Church, where she was a member. Rosemary enjoyed the beach, traveling and spending time with family and friends.

She had a radiant smile that exuded genuine warmth. Rosemary was ever present with love and encouragement for her family and friends. She was also known as a trusted prayer warrior and for her willingness to offer help to anyone.

She was preceded in death by her husband, D.C. “Sonny” Motes; father, William W. Smith; and sister, Florene Collum.

She is survived by daughter, Kathy Medlock (Rudy); two granddaughters, J.J. Pennington (Michael) and Casey Cahan; and four great-grandchildren, Bailee Jo Landry, Cooper Landry, Paislee Pennington and Stran Cahan. She is also survived by her brother, Billy Smith.

Visitation will be 1–3 p.m. today, Tuesday, May 24 at Christ Independent Methodist Church, and the service celebrating Rosemary’s life will follow at 3 p.m. with Pastors Michael Hudson and Amos Price officiating. Burial will follow in Peniel Cemetery.

Flowers are gratefully accepted or memorial donations may be sent to Hospice of the Nature Coast, 927 S. State Road 19, Palatka, FL 32177. Memories and condolences may be expressed to the family at Rosemary’s Book of Memories page at

Thank you to all who helped with Rosemary’s care during her extended illness, especially Hospice of the Nature Coast, the staff at Abidance Home Health care and Harriet Sweat.

Arrangements are under the direction of Johnson-Overturf Funeral Home in Palatka.