Merrill H. Utley, Jr.
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Merrill Holland Utley Jr. 87, of Thibodaux, died Sunday July 7, 2013. He was born to the late Merrill Sr. and Martha Withers Utley, Aug. 26, 1925 in Jackson , Miss. Mr.Utley was a Navy veteran who received a BS in Electrical Engineering from Mississippi State University in addition to attending Tulane University in New Orleans. He is survived by his wife Shirley Utley also of Thibodaux. Merrill relocated to Leeville, La. after graduation where he worked for 15 years. As Chevron's transportation superintendent, Mr. Utley became instrumental in the development of Louisiana's oil patch as chronicled in the book "Cajun Mariners" by Woody Falgoux. Mr. Utley is credited as one of the key personalities involved in the design of the oilfield workboat or "Botruc" used all over the world today. In 1964 Merrill and wife Martha "Sowell" moved to Thibodaux where he owned and was C.E.O of Delta Well Logging Services retiring in the early 90's. In Merrill's later years he would be known for his work in bringing the Acadian Cultural Center to Thibodaux which housed the Martha S Utley Library, Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and the Thibodaux Playhouse Inc.
Merrill was a member of St. John's Episcopal Church, Rotary Club, a Freemason, traveler and an avid pilot. He was the 1982 recipient of the Francis M. Durel Award given by the Thibodaux VFW for outstanding service to the community.
Merrill was preceded in death by his wife Martha Sowell Utley and is survived by three children: Martha Holland Utley, of New York, Merrill Utley III and Robert Utley both of Thibodaux; He also is survived by five grandchildren, one great-grandson and three sisters.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made out to St. Johns Episcopal Church or the Thibodaux Friends of the Library .
Visitation will be Thursday July11, 2013 at St John's Episcopal Church in Thibodaux beginning at 9:00a.m. with services following at 11:00a.m. and again at the Wright-Ferguson Funeral Home in Clinton, Miss. on Saturday July13, 2013 from 9:00a.m. - 10:30am. Graveside services will follow at 11:00a.m. at Lakewood Memorial Park in Jackson, MS.
Published in Clarion Ledger on July 12, 2013