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William Lucas Utter

June 17, 1929 ~ February 28, 2024 (age 94) 94 Years Old

William Utter Obituary

William Lucas Utter, long-time Oxford, Ohio resident and Miami University professor emeritus, passed away peacefully on Feb. 28, 2024, after a long illness.

He lived a remarkable 94 years, touching everyone who knew him with his kindness, grace, and good humor. Known as Luke to close friends and family, he possessed an uncommonly positive view of the world that carried him through the decades with patience, charm, and dignity.

He leaves behind his beloved wife of 70 years, Dixie Campbell Utter. Their bond was as deep and meaningful as any love story that could be written, grounded in faith, friendship, and devotion to family.

He is also survived by his son, William Arkell Utter (Leslie Howell d.2021), his daughter Kate Utter Mills (Jim), 6 grandchildren: Luke Boatright (Laura), Emily Cates (Danny), Caroline Utter, Claire Utter, Trevor Utter and William Tyler Utter, and 3 great-grandchildren: Luke Boatright, Jr., Owen Cates and Dixie Campbell Cates.

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Bill “Luke” Utter was born June 17, 1929, in Jefferson City, Missouri, to William Thomas and Alma Utter. They soon moved to Granville, Ohio where his father taught history at Denison University. After high school, Luke enrolled in Denison, where he was a theater major. It was on stage at Denison that he first met the love of his life, Dixie.

After college, Luke and Dixie and a group of fellow actors barnstormed across New England and Europe, performing plays in towns and military bases. Then, after serving two years in the U.S. Army, Luke returned home to marry Dixie on August 29, 1953.

The couple moved to Denver, Colorado, where Luke earned his Master’s degree in theater at Denver University. He was drawn to the new world of television broadcasting, working for Denver TV stations as a cameraman, producer, and director.

Luke and Dixie, and their new son Bill, moved back to Ohio in 1957, where he helped start the public television and radio stations for Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio. Daughter Kate was born that first year in town.

He spent the rest of his professional life in Oxford, where he was an award-winning broadcaster, a distinguished professor, and an active part of the community. Dixie taught high school English and was active in community theater. They were also members of the Oxford United Methodist Church.

After retirement in 1995, Luke and Dixie spent the next 20 years traveling the U.S. and abroad, as well as spending time with family and friends. Luke even returned to acting, occasionally appearing in OxACT theater productions and television commercials, including sharing the stage with Dixie.

In 2014, Luke and Dixie moved to Columbia, South Carolina, to be near Kate, and enjoyed the time with their growing family. They also joined the Union United Methodist Church, in Irmo, South Carolina.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the William L. Utter Scholarship, Miami University Foundation, 926 Chestnut Lane, Oxford, Ohio 45056-9972.

Services have been held in South Carolina.

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