Ocean Beach 07

Marilyn Jordan Motz

February 5, 1941 ~ March 24, 2022 (age 81)

Obituary Image


Marilyn J. Motz 
February 5, 1941 – March 24, 2022

Marilyn Motz lived an extraordinary and inspirational life.  She spent the vast majority of her 81 years in Habersham County. However, her extraordinary acts of service on behalf of abused children have positively affected thousands of child sexual abuse survivors and their families across the United States. 

Marilyn was born in Baldwin, Georgia in 1941 to Marlow Jordan and Dolly Sigers Jordan.  She was loved and inspired by her mother.  

Marilyn’s relationship with her two brothers and three sisters is a story of lifelong love, support, and trust that never faltered over the course of their lives.  She is preceded in death by her oldest sibling, Randall Jordan and by her youngest Sister, Gail Smith.  She is survived by two sisters, Carolyn Stewart, Shirley Meeks, and one brother, Donnie Jordan.  

Much of Marilyn’s childhood was spent singing in churches across the state with her sisters.  They were known as the "Stardusters.” The sisters loved to sing and not only sang throughout their childhood years but also at every major family gathering for decades to come.  Their singing was a source of great happiness to their mother and stepfather, who they also adored, the Reverend E.L. Aiken.

Marilyn graduated from South Habersham High School in 1958.  She was a gifted singer, student, and athlete.  In 1960, Marilyn married Lane Wilbanks, now deceased.  She was totally devoted to her two children, Marlan Wilbanks and Marcia Hubbell.   Marilyn made her children her top priority.  They remained in the center of her life until the date of her passing.  Marcia and Marlan were a source of pride and comfort to her.     

Marilyn loved being a mother and living in close contact with her family members.  As her siblings started their own families, the strong bonds that existed when they were children became even more tangible.  As the oldest sister, Marilyn took on the role of being not only an older sister but also a second mother to her family members. She was never too far away to show their families love and attention.  

Marilyn pivoted from being an at-home mother to a career path that began in 1978.  She earned diplomas from the Art Institute of Atlanta and La Salle University in interior decorating.  Her ability and keen eye benefitted individuals and businesses throughout North Georgia.  She operated “Motz Interiors” from 1986 until 2000.  

Marilyn was raised in Baldwin Baptist Church where she served faithfully for decades.  She was responsible for directing the summer vacation bible school program and was a Sunday School teacher adored by her classes.  

On May 29, 1982, Marilyn’s life was changed in a wonderful way.  That was the day she married Aubrey Motz.  The 39 years that they spent together were surely the happiest of her life.  Everyone who knew them immediately saw their similarities.  They were devoted Christians, graceful servants to the needy, and precious sources of inspiration to all who knew them.  Aubrey’s two children, Aubrey Motz IV, deceased, and Mona Leigh Motz of Cocoa Beach, Florida were a welcome addition to her family.  

Marilyn’s siblings, children, nieces and nephews thought they were special to her, and they were.  However, the bar that measured the love in her heart was raised high when her three grandchildren were born.  Blake Hubbell was her first grandchild.  He is the son of Marcia and her husband Paul Hubbell.  Marilyn often said that Paul was the perfect son-in-law.  

Her second grandchild was Madie Taylor Wilbanks, now deceased.  Marlan and Madie spent many happy hours with her “Nana” and “Papa” at their house in Clarkesville.  The reunion that occurred on March 24 in heaven between those two had to be a glorious occasion.  

When Marlan married Diane 20 years ago, Marilyn said she found the daughter-in-law she always wanted with an incredible bonus, her third grandchild.  From day one, she and Lauren developed their own strong relationship.  Lauren was a source of constant pride and pleasure for Nana and Papa.  On August 8, 2021, they gave Marilyn another gift in the form of her first great-grandchild.  Madison May Crites quickly became the apple of her eye.  

The previous information about Marilyn’s love for God and family are important, but it truly is her impact on the world that identifies her as a hero and role model to so many. For the last 30 years of her life, Marilyn was a warrior in the fight against child sexual abuse.  She was able to overcome her childhood experiences in the most positive way possible.  

She sought out and played an active role in Prevent Child Abuse Habersham (PCAH).  She started out as a volunteer and ultimately served as president of PCAH from 2002 to 2004.  Her energy and will to come to the aid of abused children was a major factor in the growth of PCAH from a small organization into the most active organization of its kind in the state of Georgia.  PCAH is now known as the Family Resource Center of Northeast Georgia.  Marilyn was fearless in acting as an advocate for children with teachers, social workers, DFCS, law enforcement officials, and community leaders in fighting child sexual abuse.  She has been recognized by community organizations such as the Rotary Club for her service to society and the community and was awarded the Jean Harris Award in 2007 and the Power of Prevention Award in 2011.  

To focus on Marilyn’s lifelong contributions to Habersham County would greatly underestimate her legacy.  The courage she exhibited in disclosing her own story and leading the fight for other victims inspired efforts and organizations involved in serving victims of abuse across the state, the Southeast, and the entire United States.  Marilyn was the inspiration for the Wilbanks Child Endangerment and Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) Clinic. The CEASE Clinic was the first of its kind in the nation.  This Clinic is operated by the University of Georgia Law School and provides free legal services to victims of child sexual abuse and trafficking victims. 

Additionally, Marilyn’s life story played a pivotal role in charitable organizations such as Voice Today, now Hope Thrives.  It is a Christ-centered organization Marilyn loved and supported along with her son.  This organization has helped thousands of victims in Georgia and seven other states.  It is expected the seed planted by Marilyn in Hope Thrives will ultimately result in tens of thousands of victims being helped in 26 different locations across the United States over the next decade.  

Marilyn Testified to state Senators and Representatives to lobby for changes in the law to help sex abuse victims.  She was instrumental in the passage of new laws in Georgia created to give a voice to victims in the justice system.  

She is survived by her husband, Aubrey Motz, children Marlan (Diane) Wilbanks, Marcia (Paul) Hubbell, step-daughter Mona (Mike) Motz, grandchildren Blake (Ana) Hubbell, Lauren (Mark) Crites, great-granddaughter Madison May Crites, siblings Carolyn (Milton) Stewart, Shirley (Arnold) Meeks, Donnie (Elizabeth) Jordan, 12 nieces and nephews and 22 great nieces and nephews.

If being a Christian means loving God, loving your neighbor, and helping the needy, then Marilyn is a role model for Christianity.  She turned tragedy into victory like very few people have done.  

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Family Resource Center at 122 N. Laurel Drive, Clarkesville, Georgia 30523 or Bethlehem Baptist Church at P.O. Box 488, Clarkesville, Georgia 30523.  Marilyn was a member at Bethlehem and she dearly loved the women in her Agape Sunday School class.  A memorial service in her honor will be held at Bethlehem Baptist Church on Tuesday, March 29, at 2:00PM.  

An online guest registry is available for the Motz family at www.HillsideMemorialChapel.com

Arrangements by Hillside Memorial Chapel, Clarkesville, Georgia. (706) 754-6256

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Marilyn Jordan, please visit our floral store.


Funeral Service
March 29, 2022

2:00 PM

Private Interment

Habersham Cemetery
Habersham Mills Road

© 2022 Hillside Memorial Chapel and Gardens. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility