Raleigh Utterback, 87
87, of Seaside Drive, formerly of Barrington, died Jan. 1, 2010, at Newport Hospital after battling congestive heart failure. He was the husband of Shirley (Caughey) Utterback. They had been married 63 years.
Born in Tacoma, Wash., on Jan. 26, 1922, he was the son of the late Dr. Clarence B. and Ruth (Graham) Utterback. Until his retirement in 1987, he had been a marketing manager for the former Amperex Electronics Corp. in North Smithfield. Earlier, he worked for Raytheon Corporation, Portsmouth, in the Submarine Signal Division. Previously, he was employed in field engineering and marketing for 13 years with General Electric Corporation, Electronics Park, Syracuse, N.Y., and Palo Alto, Calif.
During the 1950s, as a G.E. field engineer, he helped establish the first television stations and towers throughout the U.S., from the East Coast to Hawaii.
His love of sailing began as a child on the Pacific Northwest’s Puget Sound, continuing on Oneida Lake, N.Y., San Francisco and Narragansett Bays, and in New England waters, where he and his family sailed aboard “Sea Otter” for many years.
He attended Stadium High School, Tacoma, Wash.; Washington State College (now University); University of Washington and Oklahoma State, majoring in electrical engineering. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Navy in the South Pacific aboard communication ships Blue Ridge and Wasatch. After the war, he was a network radio station engineer in Washington state and also in Oklahoma, where he earned his private pilot’s license.
He was a member of Newport County Radio Club (call letters N1VXO). Besides gardening, he loved woodworking, which led to a new business, Otter Woodworks, making children’s wooden riding toys. His Kiddie Kar, modeled after a 1920s H.C. White Co. toy, was chosen as one of “10 Best Toys in New England” by Yankee magazine in 1984. His Kiddie Kar and other toys can be found in homes throughout the U.S. and Denmark.
Mr. Utterback and his family lived in Barrington for 30 years, before moving to Jamestown 13 years ago. He was a former member of the Barrington Yacht Club, and a member of Barrington United Methodist Church, serving on various boards. He was co-president of Friends of the Barrington Public Library and a library volunteer, repairing and rebinding books. He was a volunteer at Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum in Bristol as a member of the ‘Dead-Headers’ garden group and helped create Blithewold’s first R.I. Garden Show exhibit. He was a member of the Jamestown Historical Society.
Besides his wife, he leaves five children: Thomas Utterback, South Kingstown; Timothy Otterbach, Jamestown; Mark Utterback, Williamsburg, Va.; Kristi Otterbach, South Kingstown; and Karl Otterbach, Barrington; 12 grandchildren: Terry, Ethan and Nathaniel Utterback; Adam and Erik Otterbach; Elim Utterback; Jason, Erin and James Riemer; Graham, Charles and Laura Otterbach; and one great-grandson, Jarred Riemer. He was the brother of the late Evangeline Gould and Alatha Jackson.
Friends are invited to celebrate his life at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010, at Barrington United Methodist Church, Washington Road. Donations may be made to Salvation Army or South County Visiting Nurses Service, 14 Woodruff Ave., Narragansett RI 02882 in lieu of flowers, and will be appreciated by the family. Visit smithmason.com for information and online condolences.