WHITEHALL, Ohio — Col. Charles (Chuck) D. Underwood Jr., 72, of Whitehall, Ohio, passed away on July 18, 2018 at 12:41 p.m. due to complications from exposure to Agent Orange. He passed away with loved ones by his side at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse, N.Y.
Born on July 7, 1946 in Auburn, N.Y. to Jean Underwood Marshall and Charles D. Underwood Sr., Chuck graduated in 1964 from Auburn High School. He attended Ohio Wesleyan University, joined Beta Theta Pi fraternity, and graduated in 1968. There he met Mary Jeanette (Traster) Underwood, and on May 17, 1969 they began their 49 year journey of marriage.
The son of a World War II Silver Star recipient, Chuck enlisted into the USAF in 1968, electing to become a pilot without ever having been in a plane. Over the next 29 years, “Underdog” rose to the rank of Colonel and served his country in the USAF and Ohio National Guard, primarily as a KC-135 pilot for the 121st Air Refueling Wing at Rickenbacker AFB, Columbus, Ohio. His service took him across the globe, including two Vietnam War tours and Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the Middle East. After retiring from active duty, Chuck joined Flight Safety International as a simulator flight instructor training Citation Ten and Excel pilots.
Never satisfied with one career path, Chuck enrolled in Capital University Law School, graduating in 1980 and embarking on a legal career spanning four decades. In addition to his private practice, he served as an Ohio Unemployment Compensation Review Board judge and a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitrator.
The definition of a public servant, Chuck was most proud of his impact on the city of Whitehall. His service to the city began in 1989, and over the next 28 years was appointed or elected to the following positions: Zoning Board, City Attorney, City Council President, Ward IV Representative, City Treasurer, and Director of Public Safety. This culminated with retirement and an official Proclamation of Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017 as Charles “Chuck” Underwood Day in the city of Whitehall.
Chuck enjoyed numerous hobbies and passions, possessing a love-hate relationship with the game of golf, watching horse races at Scioto Downs, and amassing coin and stamp collections. An avid sports fan, he was a perpetually frustrated Columbus Blue Jackets season ticket holder, organized 15+ NCAA March Madness trips, and took sporting pilgrimages to Lambeau Field and the 2012 Masters at Augusta National with his son. A man of few words, you watched out for him in weekly poker games, but he was easy to spot in his fire engine red Corvette.
For all his pursuits, Chuck’s favorite place was Owasco Lake in upstate New York. He spent every summer at the family lake house, and enjoyed nothing more than Long Point sunsets with a gin and tonic in hand. His family is thankful he spent his final days there, celebrating the Fourth and his 72nd birthday, taking boat rides on the lake, and visiting with friends and family he loved so dearly.
Chuck is survived by his wife, Mary Jeanette (Traster) Underwood; son, Charles (Chad) D. Underwood III; daughter-in-law, Carrie Lynn (Brady) Underwood; mother, Jean Underwood Marshall; siblings, Sarah (Joe) Hazard, Eleanor Sinclair, and David (Kathy) Underwood; brother-in-law, William E. Traster II; sister-in-law, M. Lee (Bill) Drinkwater; grandpup and favorite canine companion, Midge Underwood; and a host of nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father, Charles D. Underwood Sr.
A memorial service was held 3 p.m. Saturday, July 28, 2018, in Stonybrook United Methodist Church, 485 Cherry Bottom Road, Gahanna, with a visitation from 1 to 3 p.m. prior to the service.
Contributions may be made to the Central Ohio Diabetes Association, The Fisher House Foundation, or The Salvation Army.
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