Gary Lee Utecht was called to his eternal home Monday, Nov. 8, 2021, after a hard, courageous battle. Gary was born April 18, 1950, in Marathon, to Harold and June (Lutzke) Utecht. He was the oldest of six children and was known to often be hiding from chores on the farm with his nose in a book. The Utecht family was a closeknit family who enjoyed family gatherings and neighborhood social outings.
Gary graduated from Wausau East High School in 1968. He attended Farm and Industry Short Course and UW-Madison and returned home after graduation to farm with his father and brothers. Gary met Sandra Happli at Sandy’s brother’s wedding and literally married “the milkman’s daughter” on May 26, 1973, at Holy Name Church, Wausau. Gary continued to be part of the farm, but in a lessened capacity when he started selling agriculture equipment in 1977 for Badger International. After more than 30 years in ag equipment sales, Gary semi-retired and spent the last several years testing dairy cattle for Marathon Co. DHIA. Gary also worked for the Town of Stettin and served as town supervisor for six years. He took great pride in being a partner and a friend to his customers and built life-long friendships in the industry. Gary was passionate about agriculture and was active in various volunteer roles. He was a long-time 4-H leader and taught youth farm safety courses; was a charter member of the Wausau FFA Alumni; served on the WI State FFA Alumni board and chaperoned numerous FFA trips. Gary served as Grounds Chairman for WI Farm Technology Days twice when Marathon County hosted the statewide show in 1996 and 2011.
Gary and Sandy built a home and family filled with love and memories and continued the social traditions of the Utecht’s. Anyone who knew Gary and Sandy, knew laughs and good times. His strong voice could be heard reading in church, singing karaoke and maybe once in a while, even the neighbors could hear how much Gary and Sandy loved each other! They welcomed their first daughter, Nicole, in August, 1974, their son, Bradley, in June, 1978 and were happily surprised by the addition of their youngest child, Melissa, in August, 1979. The family has fond memories of customer visits delivering parts, late night dinners at West-side Tasty Treat after hay baling, and family vacations that included a tour of every equipment dealership in WI. Gary was incredibly proud of his children and instilled a strong love of family and God in them and gifted each of his kids with lifelong, special blessings. He gave his leadership ability, calm demeanor under stress and unphased ability to show up on his own time no matter what time something really started to his oldest Nicole. He left a lifelong passion for Case IH tractors, tractor pulling and farming to his only son Brad. Gary was so proud to see Brad carry on the family traditions and even more so to see his grandsons share in that same passion and love of farming and red tractors. And to the little one, as he so often referred to Melissa, he gave her his gift of gab, his witty sense of humor and the love a good old fashion. Even more than his own children, Gary was filled with love and bursting with pride for his six grandchildren, Alexis, Brenna, Mason, Trever, Dane and Brody. Nothing made him happier than spending time on the farm with them, attending their activities or sporting events, pedal tractor pulls or trips with the entire family. You could also often hear his booming voice yelling for Dane and Brody to “knock it off” when they were left unsupervised.
Gary is survived by his wife of 48 years, Sandy; his three children: Nicole (Brian) Dulak, Brad (Jessi) Utecht and Melissa Heise; and his beloved six grandchildren: Alexis and Brenna Dulak, Trever and Brody Utecht and Mason and Dane Heise. He is further survived by two sisters: Linda Weltzin and Lisa (Tracy) Brown; two brothers: Dave (Laurie) Utecht and John (Patti) Utecht; sisters-in-law: Jean Weisenberger, Joy Happli and Robin (Kent) Downing; sonin- law, Lowell Heise; nieces and nephews. Gary was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Brian Utecht; a nephew, Thomas Utecht; his father-in-law, Kenneth Happli; mother-in-law, Margaret Herzog; and a brother-in-law, Randy Happli.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, at Trinity Ev. Lutheran Church, town of Stettin. The Rev. William Ostrem will preside. Burial will be in Stettin Christian Cemetery, town of Stettin. Visitation will be held on Friday from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home, 3400 Stewart Avenue, Wausau, and again on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. until the time of the service at the church. There will be a prayer service at 7:45 p.m. Friday evening at the Stewart Avenue funeral home. Online condolences may be expressed at www.petersonkraemer.com.
Paid obituary 113163