Nyle Utterback was champion of South Coast’s natural assets

Santa Barbara lost one of its most dedicated citizens with the sudden passing of Nyle Gene Utterback on Nov. 21 at the age of 72. Married to his wife Kay for the past 45 years, the Utterbacks came to Santa Barbara in 1963 and have been active in the community ever since.

Utterback served as a Planning Commissioner and on the Santa Barbara City Council from 1973-1977. Rain or shine, Utterback never missed a peace march. Among the many causes he championed were limiting growth in Santa Barbara, making Stearns Wharf pedestrian friendly and maintaining the Wilcox Property (now the Douglas Family Preserve) as open space.

As a research physicist for corporations such as General Motors and TRW and as a lecturer in advanced physics at UCSB, Utterback was very concerned that his work be utilized for the good of mankind and refused to do defense work.

In addition to his wife Kay, Utterback’s family includes his three daughters and their husbands: Lynda Elliott (Michael), Cheryl Tafejian (John) and Tracy Blakeley (James). He also is survived by seven grandchildren: Whitney, Tom, Melanie, Maddison, Jacob, Dylan and Hayden.

A memorial celebration will be Dec. 5 at 10:30 a.m. at the First Congregational Church, 2101 State St.

As a tribute to Utterback’s continual fight to protect Santa Barbara’s natural assets for all to enjoy, the family will be erecting a bench in one of his favorite places to assure that even more people have an opportunity to stop and reflect on the beauty of the city he loved. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made toward this public monument or to the charity of your choice.

Originally published in South Coast Beacon on November 27, 2003.