Richard L. Utt, 82, of Belvidere, IL, passed away Saturday afternoon, October 31, 2015 at Northwoods Care Center. Richard was born April 15, 1933 in Chicago, IL, son of Ralph and Blanche (Wisthuff) Utt. He was a member of the United States Army, serving during the Korean Conflict. While serving as Sergeant in the Korean War, earned one purple heart, a bronze star plus numerous other medals and ribbons. Geology and Civil Engineering were the focus of his undergrad years at Northern Illinois University courtesy of the G.I. Bill. Richard married Norma Willaert in 1955, and then went on to marry Ann Erickson in 1970.
From 1967 through 1975 worked as a civil engineer for Fermi Labs in Batavia before joining the DuPage County Forest Preserve District in 1975 employed as a civil engineer then moved beyond project management to Director of Government Services and eventually Executive Director retiring in 2003. Richard was always an avid environmentalist and spear-headed many land and water conservation initiatives in the region including The Prairie Path, a popular “rails to trails” conservation easement which became popular with joggers, hikers, bicyclists and cross-country skiers since it was established; management of the Blackwell park site, to name just two. After retiring he worked as a consultant up until three years ago. One major project involved researching implementation of wind powered energy to benefit area counties. Richard was a lifelong member of the VFW. He enjoyed woodworking, fishing, and nature. When he was not actively working on a project, Richard enjoyed ice fishing, researching history (loved to read) and travel. He had a keen awareness of national and world events and always advocated for environmental conservation and preservation.
Richard is loved and will be missed by his children, Tana (Jim) Wentzel of Doylestown, PA, Traci Hulsey of Belvidere, IL; step-son, Robert (Sula) Erickson of Naperville, IL; mother of his children and caregiver, Norma Utt; 7 grandchildren; 4 great-grandchildren; sister, Susan Utt. He is preceded in death by his parents, wife, Ann, brother, Ralph Utt, and sister, Patricia Faber.
Funeral service will be held at 11:00 A.M., Saturday, November 7, 2015 at Anderson Funeral and Cremation Services, 218 W. Hurlbut Ave, Belvidere, IL 61008, with Rev. Dean Parker officiating. Visitation will be held from 10:00 A.M., until the time of service. Contributions in Richard’s honor can be made to Anderson Gardens, Rockford, IL. To light a candle or share a condolence, please visit www.AndersonFCS.com.