Ernest Utsch Jr., Cape May marina co-owner

Ernest Utsch Jr.
Ernest Utsch Jr.
Posted: October 17, 2013

Having grown up in a Philadelphia family in which his mother was Pennsylvania Dutch and his father was a German immigrant, Ernest Utsch Jr. got to be a part-time translator for his World War II tank outfit.

After his father apprenticed with a Philadelphia candy-maker, Mr. Utsch and his father ran Ernest Utsch & Son, a candy-maker's shop on 29th Street near Girard Avenue, before and after the war.

And after father and son had rented their boat to fishing parties at the Jersey Shore for a while, the son said, "We should build our own place to have our own boat in our own place," Ernest Utsch III said.

Did they ever.

On Sunday, Oct. 13, Ernest Utsch Jr., 90, the founder of what is now Utsch's Marina just outside Cape May, died at Cooper University Hospital.

The marina, at Schellenger's Landing in Lower Township, consisted of about 80 slips when it opened in 1951. It now has 350, Ernest Utsch III said.

"We keep the boats in the summer in the boat slips and haul them out and store them on land in the winter," he said. "We do all the service to keep them running, all except huge repairs.

"And we have a very good transient business" for folks who, as they are now, are heading south for the winter "and use the marina like a motel."

Born in the Brewerytown neighborhood of Philadelphia, Ernest Utsch Jr. graduated from Northeast High School and after the war took classes in accounting at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Ernest Utsch III remembered growing up in a German-speaking house: "I remember my grandmother would mix English and German together and she didn't know she was doing it."

The family candy shop was closed in 1958 and an uncle moved the business to 517 White Horse Pike in Oaklyn, the site at which it was recalled in newspaper local-history stories.

Since opening in 1951, Utsch's Marina has undergone two significant expansions, Ernest Utsch III said.

The one in the 1970s increased the marina to 250 slips, and the one in the 1980s to 350. "And we're getting ready to do it again," he said.

The company, Utsch's Marina, was a partnership involving Ernest Utsch Jr. and his sons, Ernest III and Charles.

Besides his sons, Mr. Utsch is survived by a daughter, Rose Marie Artley; three grandchildren; and his longtime companion, Anne Collins. His wife, Rose Marie, died in 1993. He was also preceded in death by two sisters.

A visitation was set from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, at the Spilker Funeral Home, 815 Washington St., Cape May, with a Masonic service at 8 p.m.

A graveside service is to be at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 18, at West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd.

Donations may be made to the Rose M. Utsch Memorial Scholarship Fund, Utsch's Marina, 1121 Route 109, Cape May, N.J. 08204.

Condolences may be offered to the family at www.spilkerfuneralhome.com.


wnaedele@phillynews.com

610-313-8134 @WNaedele

 

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