By Terri Lynn Oldham House
On March 16, John and Vicki Motter’s daughter, Holly, called to let us know that John had a medical emergency and only had a few more hours to live. He was at Pagosa Springs Medical Center surrounded by his family and prayer.
When I could compose myself, I locked the office doors and informed our newspaper staff of his prognosis. We even cut out the last sentence of his weekly Pagosa’s Past article for that issue, which promised a continued story the following week.
Later that evening, we checked in on John.
“We are all gathered around him in his hospital room, a beautiful, precious time. He is resting peacefully and calmly,” Holly texted back. “We are so thankful to our God!”
John did not give up his fight that night.
The next afternoon, we got the great news: “John is a miracle…when the surgeon in Colorado Springs heard he was still alive, his blood pressure had gone up, he was alert, etc… he told the [doctor] to care flight him immediately!”
John was in surgery at the time of the update and there was a 50 percent chance of it working.
“He is at one of the top hospitals for this in the nation,” Holly informed.
About eight hours later, we received another message: “Another miracle! John is alive! They were able to repair and put stints in the aorta. We just left him at the hospital…praying he will rest, stabilize and begin progressing in positive direction. It is still touch and go for him as his body has been through so much. Thank you for your continued prayers!”
Seven days later, John made it through a second surgery.
On April 6, we heard from John’s wife, Vicki: “Praising the Lord for His goodness and mercy this morning!! As of now, John will be released from the hospital tomorrow so we can finally head home. All of you — our children, grandchildren, other family members, and friends have been supportive in so many ways, but most importantly with prayer. … When we get home, John will be receiving home health care and therapy. Thank you so much for your continued prayer and support in this journey.”
After being home for less than 48 hours, it was decided that John needed additional care at Pine Ridge, where he stayed for two weeks.
John settled back at home over the weekend, where Vicki will be providing him care while he continues forward with his recovery.
In July of 1982, John was the editor of the newspaper when I came on board at The SUN. He was one of my three bosses and one of three interviews it took for me to land the job.
Ethics in the work place are important to John. I remember once when a friend of mine stopped by the paper unannounced and wanted to visit. I kept on working at the paste-up table while he talked, unsure of how to politely get him to leave. John ran him out of the newspaper’s composition room, informing him that I was there to work, not to visit.
Archuleta County history is one of John’s passions. In 1984, John published his book, “Pagosa Country: The First Fifty Years, Pioneer History of Archuleta County.”
For decades he has chronicled the history of Pagosa Springs and the surrounding area.
He has been a speaker at numerous meetings and community events where he shared stories of the early days garnered through his many, many hours of research and interviews.
John moved away to work at a newspaper in Texas for several years before he made his way back to Pagosa Springs and worked as a SUN reporter for a few years. The tables were turned then, and I was his boss.
One day, John told me he felt a calling to become a preacher in Dulce. He followed that calling and continued to submit his weekly column to The SUN over the years, even after he retired from preaching and returned to live here in Pagosa.
Many have asked about his column recently. For now, that is on hold while he continues his recovery.
John’s family thanks everyone for your prayers and support in this journey and asks that we all please continue to pray for him.