John J. Utz, 73, of Pioche, passed away unexpectedly while at his second home in the Philippines on Saturday, July 25, 2022.
John was born in Southern Illinois to the late Robert Lee Utz and Charlotte Faye (Huling) Utz on
September 7, 1948. He was a unique personality and evinced a broad sense of humor, which perhaps was best revealed when he was younger when he became a dedicated fan of the long-suffering Chicago Cubs despite—or, more likely because of—the rest of his family and friends being fans of the St. Louis Cardinals. John always left an impression: anyone who ever met John remembered him fondly and would likely have a story to share about him. Inspired by his want to travel and see the world, John sought out a career of service to his country, first in the military and then later as a civilian contractor.
Upon graduating high school in 1967 and after scoring in the top 5 percent of test-takers on his entrance examinations, John was invited to enlist in the United States Army Security Agency, which marked the beginning of his honorable 21-year military career. Initially, he was stationed in the Philippines while serving during the Vietnam War. It was during his time in the Philippines that John met and fell in love with Leticia G. “Letty” (Sembrano). They married shortly after and remained married until her passing in January of 2007. After his initial 4-year enlistment in the Army expired, John then enlisted in the United States Air Force and served in several positions in Okinawa, Japan. While overseas they adopted their daughter, Mia—before being stationed at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, followed by Nellis Air Force Base, and moving to his ultimate home in Pioche, where he resided for over 36 years.
John retired as a Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force in 1988 and in 2005, he retired from the various civilian contractor positions he held during his post-military career. In 2007, he met and married Erlinda Utz (Menil), and together they spent the next 15 years splitting time between their home on Cornwall Street, Pioche, and their second home in Valencia, Negros Oriental, Philippines.
John was a devoted son, husband, father, and grandfather, Christian, Worshipful Master in the
Freemasons, member of the Order of the Eastern Star, and a consummate Cold Warrior who devoted the majority of his life to opposing Communism in all its manifestations. And although he was born in Illinois and grew up in and near St. Louis, Missouri, Pioche was John’s home.
John is survived by his wife of 15 years, Erlinda M. Utz of Pioche; daughter Mia K. (Chad) Serena of McMurray, Pennsylvania; and, granddaughter Avery P. Serena. He was preceded in death by his parents and first wife.
Viewing and Services will be held at the Berean Baptist Church. Please call the Southern Nevada Mortuary at 775-726-3779 for the date and details.