James Otis Utz was born May 6, 1926 in Long Prarie, Minnesota to Arnold Ivan and Olivia Frances (DeLaurier) Utz.
Jim loved sports and was quarterback on his high school football team. After a short stint in the army, he met his future wife, Lucille Slominski, while working at a VA hospital. They were married in St. Cloud, MN and enjoyed a long marriage of 67 years until Lucille’s passing in 2016. They moved to Arizona in 1953 where they raised their 8 children.
Jim was a machinist that took great pride in his work. In a garage full of tools, he taught his boys how to fix their cars, and anything else that broke. He was a scout leader, an active member of Knights of Columbus and was very proud of the Little League teams he coached in the early 1970’s. Young ballplayers loved his coaching because everyone got to play in every game. All members were allowed batting practice and direct coaching. This not only was popular with the kids but led to undefeated seasons as all players became skilled hitters and position players.
He took his family on many cross county trips to visit relatives and see the sights in the Western US.
He was a very personable man who loved telling stories. In his retirement years, his favorite pastimes included woodworking, gardening, fishing, and watching the Phoenix Suns. Most of all, he was very proud and devoted to his family and loved spending his time with his children and grandchildren.
He is survived by his children Jeanne Potter(Ric) of Las Vegas, NV, John Joseph of Idaho, Tony(Patti) of Cornville, AZ, Dan (Wanda) of Payson, AZ, Timothy (Katy) of Grants Pass, OR, Marianne Bradley (Kent) of Mesa, AZ, John Michael of Scottsdale, AZ, and Roger (Sharlene) of Phoenix, AZ, 13 grandchildren, 4 great grandchildren, and sister Dana Fruth of St. Cloud, MN.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Warren and David, sisters Frances Yuetter, Edith Ferkinhoff, infant sister Amy, beloved wife Lucille, infant daughter Jennifer and grandsons James (2003) and Daniel (Feb. 2017).