John Martin Utley, 85, died peacefully on Thursday, Aug. 23 at his home with his family at his side after a five-year battle with dementia.
He was born to Eric Gerald Utley and Lydia Euphema Gates in Missouri, the third of eight children.
Mr. Utley served in the Army and Air Force before joining the Navy, where he worked with computers on Treasure Island in the 1950s.
He worked in Oakland before relocating his family to Stanislaus County in 1960, where he would spend the rest of his life.
After working on computers for the county, he became a ditch tender with the Oakdale Irrigation District in the 1970s.
Ditch tending in Knights Ferry was his favorite job because he was outside and knew all the best fishing spots.
He enjoyed ranching, cattle, and the simple farm life, but his passions were his grandchildren, traveling, road trips, and fishing.
Community Hospice provided invaluable services and comfort to him and his family members in his last days.
He is survived by his wife, Modesta G. Utley; daughter, Vicetta Lee Utley; siblings, Mae Nowak of Oakdale, Virginia Bentley of Oklahoma, George Gates of Florida; and two grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents and siblings, Fay Shackleford, Geri Lehman, Louise Krupinski and Joseph Utley.
No funeral or service, per his request.
In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to Community Hospice, 4368 Spyres Way, Modesto, CA 95356-9259.
Neptune Society in charge of arrangements.