Edward James "E.J." Utley, of Orlando, passed away at home on Wednesday, January 24, 2018. He was 82 years old and the beloved husband of Jo Ann for 59 years. He was born November 11, 1935, in Owosso, Michigan, but lived most of his life in Orlando.
He was the eldest of eight children. E.J. served his country with Honor and Distinction in the US Army in 1959 & 1960 and was named Outstanding Honor Graduate of his class in the 4th Training Regiment.
He chose a career in the trucking and transportation industry, starting his first business, West Orange Trucking, in 1964, hauling road material for the builders of the missile pads at Cape Canaveral. In 1970, he and Jo Ann and two former partners, opened E.J. Sales & Service, Inc. which lasted for 38 years and closed in 2008 due to his health. His work ethic was second to none. E.J. loved car racing. He was a Stock Car racer in the 50's, drag racer in the 60's, and a "Big Rig" truck racer from 1982-1992, winning two Grand National Championships in 1984 and 1989. He received the 1st Doug LeRoux Memorial Trophy, presented to the person who best exemplified the spirit of good sportsmanship and dedication to the sport of professional truck racing. He won the 1st Big Rig race, Gran Premio of Mexico in 1986.
E.J. was a man of immense knowledge, hardworking, loyal and with his warm smile and outgoing personality, he never met a stranger.
He was predeceased by his parents, Highram and Josephine Utley; two brothers; and two sisters. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Jo Ann Johnson Utley; sisters, Judy Utley and Eunice Engel; brother, Jerry Utley and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Funeral Services with Military Honors will be held on Thursday, February 1, 2018, 11am at Woodlawn Memorial Park in Gotha. The viewing will be Wednesday, January 31, 2018 from 5-7pm at Collison Carey Hand Funeral Home in Winter Garden.
Special thanks to Jo Ann Moody, Sheryl Grantham, Ena Ulysse and the amazing people at Vitas Hospice Team # 1712, for their love, support and care shown to E.J.
"I have fought the good fight...I have finished the course."
My deepest sympathy for the E.J. Eutley Family. I know I can't begin to understand their loss. He was truly a great friend and mentor. E. J. showed me as a young man that a man can be fair and honest in a very competitive business and help others when you can, His philosophy has given me and my family a better life through good and tough times. He was one of the last in the business with such diversity. I use what he and a hand full of others have given me everyday. It wasn't about E. J. all the time I wish I had more time with him. I cherished our meetings, conversations and business. He is missed in my world. Steve Gilbert/Tri-State Truck & Equipment Higdon, Al
Steve GilbertHigdon, AL
Brother, you are greatly missed. You were and always will be my hero.
My deepest sympathy to Joann
Love you brother,
Jerry & Carolyn UtleyFairview, MI
I remember Mom saying , she didn't know she would have managed without you.. ...............I feel the same way..........you saved my life once when I walked off into deep water when we were all swimming...............will love and miss you always.
Eunice EngelRochester Hills, MI
I have so much love in my heart for you.
I have been blessed to have you as my husband for 59 years. I have been blessed to have your love, kindness, loyalty, hard working mind & body and your beautiful radiant smile. I am so thankful to have walked through this life with you. We have laughed and dreamed as we made our way together and you have been the partner who's been right beside me, steady and strong, even when the path hasn't been easy. You are the strongest person I know and I have so much love in my heart for you. My sweet, sweet man, rest in peace. I love you. Godspeed.
Jo Ann UtleyOrlando, Fl, FL
You were my friend and mentor as we drove our trucks at many races. I enjoyed our times together on and off the tracks. May you Rest In Peace, my friend
Glenn SmithSevern, MD
Remembering your kind hospitality when I visited many years ago with my dad, Glenn. May you Rest In Peace, you will be greatly missed and remembered fondly by many.
Brian SmithSevern, MD
The Bible holds out a beautiful hope for the future. Isaiah 25:8 say that death will be swallowed up and he will wipe away our tears. I will pray for the family.
I love you, and you will be missed.
I always loved to visit you and go
out to dinner and listening to your stories.
And the races were the best! I am very proud to call you my Uncle.
Love you forever Darlene
Darlene BoltonRochester Hills, MI