Harvey Underwood

Obituary of Harvey Underwood

Mr. Harvey Leroy Underwood, Jr., 93, husband of the late Maxine Underwood, died Friday morning at Carolina Meadows.

Harvey was born on December 7, 1924, to the late Harvey Leroy and Minnie Anderson Underwood. He spent his youth in Chattanooga before enlisting in the armed forces, training as a pilot during World War II. The GI Bill allowed him to consider college, a path he had never before contemplated.

The war had underscored the importance of family, and, when Harvey moved to Knoxville to attend engineering classes at the University of Tennessee, Harvey’s father asked for a job transfer to bring the entire family along, including Dot, Harvey’s older sister.

It was in Knoxville where Harvey met Maxine. Following a whirlwind courtship (and five years of college condensed into four), the couple flew out to California and were married on the popular radio show, “Bride and Groom.” Three children soon followed.

Harvey’s job as a mechanical engineer for the Southern Railway took the family across the South. The Underwoods lived in nine cities over 20 years before Harvey was employed as a mechanical engineer by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He retired in 1986, and he and Maxine enjoyed staying at their beloved Lake House and traveling in their camper across the US and into Canada. Although he would always follow the Tennessee Volunteers, Harvey became an avid Tar Heel.

Maxine became ill 15 years ago, and Harvey never left her side. Heartbroken after her death, he eventually found Margaret Harden at the Methodist church he and Maxine attended for years. Together they re-embraced life, attending their grandchildren’s weddings and taking cruises.

Harvey is survived by his children, who recall his patience and booming laugh: Sharon Kahn and her husband, Michael, of Secaucus, NJ; Michael Underwood and his wife, Leslie, of Raleigh; and Marc Underwood and his wife, Jerrie, of Littleton, NC. His five grandchildren, who define their childhood through hours of tireless play with Harvey, include Scott Underwood, Katie Mallace, Nicholas Underwood, Charles Hurst, and Stacey Ziznewski. Sharon’s stepsons, Matt and Greg, who called Harvey “Pops,” remark they never heard this kind man say a hateful word against another person. The next generation, represented by now two-month-old Dylan Ziznewski, never got the chance to know his great grandfather, but he will hear much about him.

 A memorial service will be held at Carolina Meadows on a date and time to be announced.  A private burial will take place at Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery.