Bernard James Utley passed away peacefully at age 91 on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012 at Chambrel in Williamsburg.
Born in Newport News, B.J. grew up in Hilton Village. He was a 1939 graduate of Newport News High School and graduated from the Newport News Shipbuilding Apprentice School in 1943. He served two years in the U.S. Navy
in the Atlantic during World War II
. During his early years, he enjoyed many civic activities, including the Lion's Club, American Legion, and the Newport News Chamber of Commerce. He was a Mason for 62 years.
After leaving the Navy, B.J. worked for NACA, Technical Services, and in 1969 founded the Advex Corporation. He retired as President and CEO in 1986. He spent his later years at the Outer Banks and Chambrel, Brookdale Senior Living, in Williamsburg. He was the unofficial ambassador for Chambrel.
B.J. was a family man of incredible integrity, with faith-driven Christian values. He never lost his love for the scriptures and the Episcopal church. While in Newport News, he was a deacon and lay reader at St. Andrew Episcopal Church in Hilton Village and later an active member of St. Andrews By-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Nags Head, NC. He never met a challenge that he did not seek to master. He was a consummate traveler. He loved people and journeyed all over the globe never meeting a stranger.
In 1943, B.J. married his high school sweetheart, Maybelle Davis, and they were married for 44 years until her death in 1988. They are survived by four children: Wayne Utley and his wife, Margie of Smithfield, VA; Jim Utley and his wife, Pattie of Gloucester; Suzanne Utley of Harbinger, NC; and Robin Utley and her husband, Freddie Walter of Hampton, VA; six grandchildren: Amy Utley of Richfield, MN, Leslie Utley Cosentine of Huntersville, NC, Shawn Utley, Aaron Utley, and Adam Utley of Gloucester, and Michael Walter of Hampton. In 1989, B.J. married Josephine Perry and they were married for 19 years. She is survived by two children: Betsy Robbins of Powell's Point, NC and Lee Perry and his wife, Julie of Charlottesville, and four grandchildren: Jeremy Peters and Katie Yontz of Kitty Hawk, NC , Jenny Perry of Charlottesville, and Daniel Perry of San Diego. They are survived by 10 great-grandchildren: Matthew, Abby, and Kate Cosentine; R.J., Trenton, Zachary, and Allyson Utley; Ali Saunders, and Kendall and Brooklyn Yontz. He is also survived by his dearly loved friend, Mrs. Aleen Robinson of Chambrel.
A Celebration of Life service will be held from 11:00 AM-12:30 PM on Saturday, Dec. 8, at Chambrel, 3800 Treyburn Dr., Williamsburg, VA. Visitation for family and friends will continue at the home of Wayne Utley in Smithfield, VA, beginning at 3:00 PM.
Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice House and Support Care of Williamsburg, 4445 Powhatan Pkwy, Williamsburg, VA 23188.