Wednesday, February 10, 2010

James B. Utt remembered

Earlier today, a reader offered these observations and memories of Congressman James B. Utt, the man for whom the Saddleback College LIBRARY was named:
I am not aware that Congressman Utt was a bigot.* Most who knew him personally thought he was a soft-spoken, mild-mannered country gentleman. He was not the typical politician who talked out of both sides of his mouth. One always knew where she/he stood with Utt – what you saw is what you got. He was respected by all who came in contact with him, agree with him or not.

True, he, like many other conservatives, felt that membership in the U.N. did not serve the best interests of the U.S.

In February 1970, just a couple of weeks before his death on March 1, Utt attended the three-year anniversary celebration of the founding of the Saddleback [Community College District]. On a long walk around the campus, he and Vogel discussed the future of the district. It was at that time Vogel told Utt that the trustees had decided to name the first permanent structure – the library – in his honor. Upon hearing this he was quite humble and expressed his gratitude. He was, obviously, very pleased.

Upon hearing of his death, the trustees were happy that he had become aware of the honor that they were going to bestow upon him.
Be kind, please. Leave it be. He died 40 years ago, ten days short of his 71st birthday.

*According to the OC Almanac, in 1963, “U.S. Congressman James B. Utt [made] national news by suggesting that ‘a large contingent of barefooted Africans’ might be training in Georgia as part of a United Nations military exercise to take over the U.S.” See also here.

1 comment:

Gustavo Arellano said...

Don't forget that Jimmy Utt was also a tool of the Associated Farmers of Orange County, per my cover story on the Santa Ana Four...

Old—and insane (—and when <I>eugenics</I> was in the air)

Young Frieda Flueckinger, c. 1893      Here's another post on the historical blog I'm doing for a friend. You might find it i...