Obituary: James Underwood, 91, Metamora

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

James D. Underwood, 91, of rural Metamora died Sunday, April 15, 2012, at his residence.

Born on July 6, 1920, in rural Casey to George W. and Tracey C. McMillan Underwood, he married G. June Hutchcraft on Sept. 12, 1947, in Arthur. She died on Nov. 30, 2001, in Peoria.

Also preceding him in death were two brothers and three sisters.

Surviving are two sons, Michael (Veronica) Underwood of Marquette Heights and James “Pat” (Karen) Underwood of Groveland; six grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren.

He was a U.S. Army World War II Army veteran, who held the rank of a first sergeant. He joined the Army in July 1942, and served in combat on the islands of Guadalcanal, New Georgia, Bougainville, Luzon Philippines in the South Pacific of Operations with Company E, 145 Infantry Regiment 37th Division. He was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star and Distinguished Service Cross for valor and heroism in combat.

He was a charter member in 1946 with VFW Post 5762 in Casey and a current member of VFW Post 6026 in El Paso and a member of American Legion Post No. 1115 in Spring Bay. He was also a member of AARP and the NRA.

He spent 30 years in the health and life insurance business, retiring from Mutual and United of Omaha in 1980.

After his retirement, he organized the first 55 Alive Mature Driving Course for AARP in Peoria. He advanced to the office of assistant state coordinator and was responsible for more than 2,000 graduates of the course in Central Illinois. All of his efforts with this program were as a volunteer.

He was past president of the Health Underwriters Association of Peoria, Health Underwriters Associations of Illinois, Life Underwriters Association of Peoria, Heart of Illinois Pointer and Setter Birddog Club and Field Trial Clubs of Illinois Inc.

He was a past member and Governor of the Moose Lodge No. 1545 in Casey. He was a member and on the staff of ushers at the El Vista Baptist Church of Peoria, where he was a member for many years.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 18, 2012, at El Vista Baptist Church in Peoria, with the Rev. Joey Watt officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to his service. Burial will be in Spring Bay Cemetery in Spring Bay, with full military rites by American Legion Post No. 1115 of Spring Bay.

Memorials may be given to his church.

Notes of condolences may be sent using www.masonfuneralhomes.com.