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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."
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