Merrill 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.
Visitation will be from 9 a.m. until funeral time Thursday at St. John's Episcopal Church in Thibodaux. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at the church. Visitation will also be from 9 a.m. until funeral time Saturday Wright-Ferguson Funeral Home in Clinton, Miss. Burial will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Lakewood Memorial Park Cemetery in Clinton, Miss.
He is survived by his wife, Shirley Utley, of Thibodaux. He was preceded in death by his wife, Martha Sowell Utley. He is survived by his children, Martha Holland Utley, of New York, Merrill Utley III and Robert Utley, both of Thibodaux. He is also survived by five grandchildren, one great-grandson and three sisters.
He was a U.S. Navy veteran who received a BS in electrical engineering from Mississippi State University, in addition to attending Tulane University in New Orleans. Merrill relocated to Leeville, after graduation where he worked for 15 years. As Chevron's transportation superintendent, he became instrumental in the development of Louisiana's oil patch as chronicled in the book "Cajun Mariners" by Woody Falgoux. Merrill 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 the C.E.O of Delta Well Logging Services. He retired in the early '90s. In his 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, and the Freemasons. He was a 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.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in his name to St. John's Episcopal Church or to the Thibodaux Friends of the Library.
Landry's Funeral Home in Thibodaux is in charge of arrangements.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Houma Today from Jul. 9 to Jul. 10, 2013.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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14 entries
July 13, 2013
To Holly.. My sympathy to you from an old MSU friend. You might not even remember me. I recall the weekend I spent with you and your family in Thib. after a Saints game way back in 1973(?)Sorry for you loss.
Rob Whitley
July 10, 2013
Very seldom do men like you come along. You have touched many lives and made an everlasting impression on many people. You will surely be missed. Sending prayers to your family.
Keith Jenkins
July 10, 2013
My heart goes out to the Utley Family. It was an honor to have known and cared for such a wonderful man.
Jessie Chapman
July 10, 2013
Truly one of a kind. Merrill was a great man, my condolences.
Johnny Jenkins
July 10, 2013
Merrill, Robert and family, sorry for your loss and sending prayers to all of you

Bonnie & Mark
July 10, 2013
I worked for Mr. Utley in 1988/1989 when his company was called the Petroleum Center. He gave me the opportunity to be a sample catcher and mudlogger even though I was a "girl in a man's world". Although my career was short-lived, I will always hold close to my heart the experiences and the people I worked with and met along the way. Geology was and still is a passion of mine. You were a very generous and caring man. My thoughts and prayers are with your family and friends.
Tammy Thibodeaux Wendelschaefer
July 10, 2013
Many wonderful memories of an Uncle like no other. May you rest well knowing that you were loved and will be missed. Our struggles in our earthly life vanish when we reach our eternal life with our Lord and Savior. Love and Smiles, Scottie
July 10, 2013
Merrill, I'll always remember the good times we had through the years and know that this is not the end of life, but only the beginning.
Paul & Peggy Davis
July 10, 2013
Merrill was such a wonderful man. I will always cherish my visits to Thibodaux. He made me feel so welcome and part of the family. I am so thankful to have known him. I know he is in heaven with all the ones who have gone before him. He will be missed but never forgotten.

Much love to you all,
Sandy Arnett
July 10, 2013
My heart goes out to you all. He was a great and wonderful man. Reading his obit I was amazed at his accomplishments! God bless you and keep you.
Julie Green
July 10, 2013
I love you Big Merrill (paw paw gum) RIP you are finally whole again and at peace. We all love you and will miss you.
Elise Utley Mejia
July 10, 2013
So sorry for your loss, still remember that flask of mercury he showed us once.
Tad Verret
July 9, 2013
So sorry for your loss.
Michael LaGarde
July 9, 2013
Rest in Peace Mr. Utley.
Pat Valenzuela-Milliman
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