Carla Alicia Utsey, 55, of Saint George, SC, died peacefully on July 10, 2021, at home surrounded by loving family after a courageous fight with breast cancer. Born on February 21, 1966, she was the daughter of Mary Harley Utsey and the late William Carlisle Utsey. She is survived by her mother of St George, sister Christi Arroyo, brother-in-law Ron Arroyo, niece Maria (Ryan) Rhodus, wife Karen Ayers, and many aunts, uncles and cousins. Carla worked for the State Transport Police of the SC Department of Public Safety for 27 years and recently received her medical retirement. She was able to take several trips this year to some of her bucket list places. Carla attended Francis Marion College where she was a Sig Ep little sister and a member of ADPi sorority. A lifelong member of Saint George UMC, Carla was active with the Handbell Choir, the United Methodist Women, including a term as vice president, and especially the Tea Room and her delicious desserts. She was an avid fan of the USC Gamecocks and Rock and Roll music with an uncanny ability to name songs, groups, and years from a few notes. Carla was involved with the Relay for Life and acted as Upper Dorchester Chair. Recently, Carla attended the Walk to Emmaus and became active in the Lowcountry Community, serving on the Board and participating in several Reunion Groups. She was generous to a fault and kind to everyone she met; she loved and was loved by many and will be missed by all who knew her.
A Memorial Service will be held 3:00 PM Wednesday at St. George United Methodist Church with the Reverend Kathy Hudson and Rev. Wendy Hudson officiating. The family will receive friends from 1:00-3:00 PM in Parler Hall.
In lieu of flowers, memorials in Carla’s name may be sent to Saint George UMC Kitchen Renovation Fund or Prayer Garden Fund, or American Cancer Society Hope Lodge, Carol Grotnes Belk Campus, 269 Calhoun St, Charleston SC 29401.
An Ode to my AC (Aunt Carla) by Maria Arroyo Rhodus
To know AC was to know kindness, joy, and warmth. Her light was inextinguishable, even during her darkest hours. She never met a stranger and welcomed everyone with her infectious smile and a big hug followed by “My name is Carla, but all my friends call me AC”.
She was always true to who she was, never letting anyone persuade her one way or the other. She forged her own path with her encouraging and steadfast spirit. Her taste in music was impeccable and her knowledge of what most people would consider “useless, trivial” information was astounding. She was so mesmerized by life and excited about the world around her.
I’ll never forget the drives out to Edisto Beach every summer, blasting tunes from the Eagles to Darius Rucker to ABBA; the sunroof open and windows rolled down as we cruised along the tree lined road. And the sweet relief when we finally could taste the salty air. That was her happy place. It could have been any beach really, she wasn’t picky. Because AC at the beach was her most authentic self. And it was beautiful.
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