Foodservice Equipment Reports

In Memoriam: Dealer Henry Motes Jr.

Henry Motes Jr., the guiding force behind the century-old dealership E.H. Thompson Co., died Jan. 18 at the age of 93.

Motes joined E. H. Thompson Co. in Jacksonville, Fla., in 1952, where he became an owner and built the dealership into a national business. He was involved in the creation of the world’s largest full-service restaurant company as well. In 1968, his best customer, Bill Darden of the Green Frog Restaurant in Waycross, Ga., asked for help with a new restaurant in Florida. Since green frogs were not a staple of Florida cuisine, the two men agreed that a better moniker would be Red Lobster. Thus, Darden Restaurants was launched.

A popular motivational speaker, Motes was known for his zealous sales acumen and his message: “Nothing happens until somebody sells something.”  He served on the boards of numerous charitable and business organizations in the Jacksonville area. According to his family, he was a friend to every dishwasher, waitress, chef, bank president, and politician in the city.

Motes is survived by his wife of 68 years, Marguerite; two daughters; son Kent, CEO of AutoQuotes Inc.; and nine grandchildren. He will be buried next to son Mark Jeffrey Motes (1948-49). A memorial service was held Jan. 21. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Riverside Baptist Church or the Rotary Club Foundation.