James (Jim) Lyle Utsler of Chelsea, MI, quietly passed away on Saturday, September 12, after a long- and well-lived life. Born in Dexter, MI, on July 9, 1931, to Lyle and Beulah (Betty) Utsler. He served along with his twin brother Jerry in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War, retired from a management position at General Motors and subsequently became a real estate agent serving the Chelsea/Dexter area.
Jim never failed to find adventure in life, whether going on an African safari; zip-lining in Costa Rica; piloting planes and sailing boats; daring rickety train rides in Mexico (a trip he often ruefully joked about); exploring Europe with his wife; rebuilding his and Janet’s cottage on Joslin Lake; cycling on backroads; cutting up while playing euchre; barking out “Go Blue!” during U-M football games (and razzing his MSU family and friends when the Wolverines beat the Spartans); or sneaking off to a dive bar for a cold beer. It was moments such as these—both large and small—that he enjoyed so much.
This kind and warm-hearted, gentle person who couldn’t tell a joke without laughing before reaching the punchline—if he ever reached it at all—hasn’t so much passed as left everyone he touched with fond memories, reasons for hope, a profound sense of wonder and curiosity, and, most importantly, love.
Jim’s survived by his wife of 63 years, Janet (Atkinson); daughters Kimberly Towne, Pamela Utsler, Cheryl Utsler Snyder, and son James Jerrold Utsler; son-in-laws Stephen Towne, Robert Hurst, Edward Snyder, and daughter-in-law Deanna Utsler (otherwise known as “the outlaws,” and who he also embraced as his children); grandchildren Andrew, Matthew (Amelia), Lyndsey (Steve), Pamela (Rafa), Brandon (Gabrielle) and David; and great grandchildren Penelope, Gavin, Zelda, Corbin, Austin and Nadia.
An informal celebration of Jim’s life will be held at a suitable time in 2021, and his burial will take place at St. Andrew's Cemetery in Dexter, MI. Memorial contributions may be made to Doctors Without Borders USA or the National Audubon Society. Arrangements by Cole Funeral Chapel.
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