Obituary of Charles A. Underwood
Charles A. Underwood, born on December 14, 1945, passed away at home in Delmar on July 11, 2023, after a blessedly brief battle with aggressive pancreatic cancer. He loved his life and left it unwillingly, but gracefully.
Charlie’s early years were spent in Hampton Manor where he attended St. Mary’s School. He later moved to Troy Road and graduated from Columbia High School, where he had much fun, especially with the “Moose Club.” He attended Hudson Valley Community College.
He tried a few different jobs before transitioning to the elevator business in 1966. He worked for several different elevator companies, including Haughton, Irwin, Armour, Westinghouse and Montgomery and he became active in the National Elevator Industry Union, where he served for some time as the union chapter secretary.
Then in 1982, Charlie moved on again to establish his own contractor business in Bethlehem, C. A. Underwood Construction. Charlie loved helping people improve and sometimes build their homes. He liked novel design and challenging spaces, but mostly he liked the people. The men who worked with him were a special delight and great humor on most days. Most of his more than 700 customers, largely in Bethlehem, became more friends than clients.
Later in his life, he met Nancy K. Ray and she was the love of his life for the past 27 years. They enjoyed many happy times, often sitting at the kitchen table and just talking. Charlie loved to tell his stories, many from long ago. Charlie always loved people. He liked to hear their stories and he truly appreciated differences. Charlie was never judgmental. He believed that we all make mistakes and we all make amends in our own ways.
Charlie was predeceased by his parents, Charles A. and Patricia (Towne) Underwood and his dear younger brother, Rick Underwood. He was also predeceased by the mother of his children, Frances Underwood, and Nancy’s sister, Gail Stock, who always made Charlie smile.
Charlie is survived by his two children, Tanya Underwood (Don Byerly), and Kirk Underwood (Barbara Vossler) and Nancy’s daughter, Maile Ray. He will also be remembered by his loving and dear grandsons, Jacob Frazier, Jackson Underwood, and Brooks Ray. He is also survived by his sisters Patricia and Jane Underwood and his nephew, Lee Underwood, and his nieces, Tiffany and Kristen Underwood. He is additionally survived by his loving partner, Nancy, and her siblings, Gary (Susan) King, Henry (Cary) King, and Michelle (Mark) Cartwright and his many King nieces and nephews that he loved and appreciated so much.
The family would like to extend its thanks to the Community Hospice care team, especially Kaitlin, his nurse manager. Special thanks also to Mel and Donnie Wagner who are dear friends and who were always there supporting Nancy and Charlie in the final weeks of Charlie’s life.
Relatives and friends are invited to call on Wednesday, July 19 from 4 to 7 pm at Applebee Funeral Home, 403 Kenwood Ave., Delmar. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 am on Thursday, July 20 at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, 35 Adams Pl., Delmar.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to St. Jude’s Research Institute (501 St. Jude’s Place, Memphis, TN 381050) or your favorite charity.