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John H. "Jack" Utley Jr.

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Oct. 14, 1927 - June 25, 2013 LAPORTE - Major John H. Utley, Jr. USAR (Ret.) age 85, of LaPorte, passed away on June 25, 2013 at Franciscan St. Anthony Health in Michigan City. There will be no viewing. Mr. Utley has donated his body to IU Medical School, and a memorial service will be held at a later time. Mr. Utley was born in Michigan City, IN on October 14, 1927, the son of Lt. Col. John H. and Mildred Utley. He attended grammar and high schools in Urbana IL; Georgetown, TX; Arlington, VA; and Highland Falls, NY from which he graduated in 1944. In 1945 Mr. Utley joined the U.S. Navy and served aboard the USS Pocono, the flagship of the American fleet. He then attended Southwestern University, Georgetown, TX after which he was commissioned Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and served at Ft. Bliss, TX. Assigned to temporary duty with the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War, he served from 1951-1952, as an aerial observer in the T-6 "Mosquito" Squadron and received the Air Medal for 30 missions over North Korea. Three of those missions were flown in a TA-216 plane which is now restored and on permanent display at the U.S. Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH. He was released from active duty in January of 1954. He then attended and graduated from the University of Tennessee with a B.S. in Business Administration, and was employed by Bethlehem Steel at its Bethlehem, PA and Lakawana, NY plants. With the building of the new Burns Harbor Bethlehem Steel Plant in Indiana, Mr. Utley transferred back to Michigan City and was made supervisor of Transportation in 1967. Having remained in the U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard units during this time, Mr. Utley served at bases in Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and New York. He retired from the U.S. Army Reserve in 1972 with rank of Major. He retired from Bethlehem Steel in 1990. Mr. Utley is survived by his wife, Mary L. Utley of LaPorte; four children, John H. Utley III of Michigan City, Ann Utley French of Ft. Myers, FL, Elizabeth (Donald) Simmons of Harrisonburg, VA and David Koster of Atlanta, GA; two grandchildren, Trevor McWhirter of San Francisco, CA and Jennifer Simmons (Casey) Kaleba by whom Mr. Utley has 2 great granddaughters, Elsie Skye and Islay Vale. He is also survived by one sister, Margaret (Gary) Hays and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and numerous aunts and uncles. Mr. Utley is a 50 year member of the Michigan City Presbyterian Church, where he served as Deacon and Elder, and the Michigan City Lions and Elks Clubs, a long time supporter of the Republican Party and a contributor to many charities. He is a life member of the U.S. Air Force Mosquito Squadron; a member of the Reserve Officers Association (ROA) and the American Legion. Mr. Utley had a lifelong love of classical music and worked in its service for many years, performing and managing. He played French Horn with the Austin, TX, the Knoxville, TN, the Michigan City, IN and (since 1973), the LaPorte County Symphony Orchestras. He also served as its President, Personnel Manager, and Music Librarian. A 1993 concert honored his "Work, dedication and inspiration." Memorials may be made to the La Porte Symphony Orchestra or to the Michigan City Presbyterian Church's MESSIAH Fund. Condolences may be shared with the family online at
Published in South Bend Tribune on June 29, 2013
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