William “Bill” Jerome Underwood, 88, of Oakland, FL, formerly of Blooming Prairie, MN, died on Tuesday, July 10, 2018. He was born March 14, 1930, to Edgar and Myrtle (Hulagaard) Underwood in Flint, MI. Bill grew up in Blooming Prairie where he and his 7 siblings attended Blooming Prairie HS. He enjoyed and excelled in sports, especially football and basketball. Bill graduated in 1949 and entered the Navy where he served 3 years during the Korean War. He married Marian Elaine Hagna on June 12, 1955 at First Lutheran Church in Blooming Prairie and the newlyweds lived on the tropical island of Guam for the next 2 years. He returned to the states completing electronics training and began working for NASA Satellite Tracking Stations at various locations around the world including; England, Germany, South America, Madagascar and Saudi Arabia. Bill enjoyed having friends from other countries, learning about their culture, and immersing himself in each community where he lived. Bill, Marian and his 3 children (Peggy, Penny and Jon) returned to Blooming Prairie in the early 1970’s and became owners of the Tastee-Freez for several years, then later worked for Oriole. He was a member of the First Lutheran Church in Blooming Prairie, VFW Post 878 and American Legion Post 52 in Blooming Prairie, Masons, and the Blooming Prairie Chamber of Commerce. Bill returned to his NASA roots and moved to Saudi Arabia in the 1980’s, then retiring in 1990. Bill and Marian toured the United States in an RV for the next 9 months, and then settled in central Florida. He worked part time for a bus transportation company and kept busy with family. He loved keeping up with his beloved granddaughters Violet Bernard, an Architect in Lebanon, New Hampshire and 2017 graduate of North Carolina State University, and Piper Bernard, a Communications w/ Chinese minor at North Carolina State University (2019 expected graduation). Bill had an entrepreneurial spirit and blazed his own trail, and taught us that the world is ours to discover. Bill was a motivator, a leader, and a loving father who always encouraged us to go after our dreams.
Bill is survived by his children, Jon Underwood of Oakland, Florida and Penny Underwood of Winter Garden, Florida, and Peggy (Steve) Bernard of Exeter, New Hampshire; two granddaughters, Violet Bernard of Lebanon, New Hampshire and Piper Bernard of Raleigh, North Carolina; sisters Darlene (Bob) Underwood-Thomas, and Barbara Underwood-Root; brother Harold (Ruth) Underwood; sister-in-law Ardell Hagna-Lindquist; and his two loving dogs, Blossom and Jasmine, who kept him smiling in recent days. Bill was preceded in death by his wife Marian Hagna-Underwood; sister Dorothy (Marvin) Underwood-Anderson; brothers, Chet (Virginia) Underwood; Thomas Underwood; Frank (Kathy) Underwood; brothers-in-law Charlie “Buzz” Root, and Orrin Hagna and sisters-in-law Jeanette Underwood, Borghil (Arnold) Hagna-Jensen, Nora (Byron) Hagna-Mueller.
Graveside services will be held at 10:00 AM on Saturday, August 11, 2018 at the First Lutheran Cemetery in rural Blooming Prairie with Pastor Heidi Heimgartner officiating. Then friends please gather at the First Lutheran Church in Blooming Prairie for refreshments and fellowship.