Cover photo for Arthur Motta's Obituary
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Arthur Motta

d. July 2, 2013

Obituary Image

Arthur P. Motta, 90, died July 2 from complications following surgery. Born in New Bedford, he was the eighth son of the late John C. and Claudina Motta. He was the husband of Sylvia Posch Wilson and the late Muriel A. Desorcy Motta. A graduate of New Bedford Public Schools and the Bristol County Agricultural School, he was a United States Marine Corps WWII veteran serving as a staff sergeant in the Pacific theater. After the war, he graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine earning his doctorate in 1953. He interned at Cornell’s Large Animal Clinic and was an award recipient for his acumen in clinical diagnosis. Together with Muriel, his wife and business partner of 43 years, he established in 1957 the New Bedford Veterinary Hospital, the city’s first full-service small animal clinic while continuing to treat the livestock and dairy herds of the region’s once numerous farms. He served as the city’s Inspector of Animals and the on-call veterinarian for the Buttonwood Park Zoo, treating Ruth and Emily the elephants and the other animals. Dr. Motta was also renowned for treating sick and injured wildlife at no cost; an expression of his devotion to St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals. He retired in 1992 to care for his wife, Muriel, who was terminally ill with ALS. Dr. Motta was long associated with the Boy Scouts of America and was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Fourth Degree. He served on the board of the former New Bedford-Acushnet Cooperative Bank. A proud advocate of his Portuguese heritage, he was president of the former Charity Brotherhood of the Holy Ghost, established in part by his father in 1918. A voracious reader, he was an enthusiastic student of the writings of Theodore Roosevelt. He also enjoyed tending his vegetable garden and fruit trees. He was the brother of the late John Motta, Emily Motta Alferes; Philip, Ernest, Louis, Charles, Antone, Joseph, and Frank Motta. He is survived by his children, George Motta and wife, Karen and family of Maine, Madeline M. Motta and family of Vermont, Arthur P. Motta, Jr. and his wife, Susan and family of New Bedford; Thomas Gregory Motta and his wife Lynne and family of Virginia; Mary Ann Motta Thomas and her husband, Dr. Barton Thomas and family also of Virginia. He was the father of the late John A. Motta. He leaves 12 grandchildren: Faith Motta, Melinda Motta Pennington and John Motta; Gabriel Motta; the late Anne Marie Motta, Kathryn and Arthur Motta III; Benjamin, Eleanor and Isabela Motta; Alexander and Victoria Thomas; and two great-grandchildren, Abigail and Coleman Pennington. At his request services were private.

Donations in his memory may be made to SHARE Foundation, UMASS Dartmouth.

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