Fred Shurlock Underwood, CAPT (USN, Ret) passed away on February 19, 2023 of natural causes surrounded by family in Jarrell, TX. He was 89 years old. Born October 8, 1933 in Tulsa, OK the son of Wayne Shurlock Underwood and Erma Holmquist Underwood, he lived most of his childhood in the small towns of Van and Mexia, TX. Graduating from Midland HS, Midland, TX, Fred received an appointment to the United States Naval Academy, Twenty Second Company, where he played Soccer during his First Class year, graduating in 1955.
While at the United States Naval Academy, he met the love of his life, Maude, while visiting Philly for the Army Navy Football Game, and they married in 1956. Together they lived the Navy life, traveling and moving frequently. During his 28 years of Naval service Fred’s tour of duties included the USS Heermann (‘55-’57 Newport, RI), USS Mullinnix (’58 Boston, MA), USS Pinnacle (‘59-’60 Charleston, SC), Naval Postgraduate School, receiving a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (‘60-’63 Monterey, CA), USS Luce (‘63-’64 Mayport, FL), Norfolk Naval Shipyard (‘64-’67 Norfolk, VA), ComServPac Staff (‘67-’68 Pearl Harbor, HI), US Naval Ship Repair Facility Guam (‘68-’71 Guam, MI) Defense Management School (’71), NavSec (’72-’76 Hyattsville, MD), NavSea (’75-’80 Arlington, VA), Indian Head Naval Ordnance Station (‘80-’83 Indian Head, MD).
Among his memorable Navy accomplishments was the crossing of the equator on 06 July 1958, when he was initiated into the Solemn Mysteries of the Ancient Order of the Deep; the opportunity to be the Captain of the Naval Honor Guard at Prince Rainier’s wedding to Grace Kelly, where he received the Monaco Bronze Medal; passing his Professional Engineering in the Electrical Field Exam in 1969; receiving the Navy Commendation Medal for his work while at Naval Shore Electronics Engineering Activity while on Guam. More importantly, he was in the original design team for the Aegis Nuclear Cruiser while at NavSec and moved on to see the Aegis Cruiser to full development while at NavSea, a rare feat indeed. Lastly, he served as the Base Commander at the Naval Ordnance Station, where he enjoyed the atmosphere and joked “that all is good as long as it was not BOOMING”.
After Fred’s retirement from the Navy, he and Maude moved to Appomattox, VA. They loved the rural location enjoying the land, the animals, the environment and especially the friendly neighbors which were all dear to their hearts. Fred and Maude became involved in local groups and activities, including the Ruritans, the Depot Dramatics and both the Memorial United Methodist Church choir as well as the handbell choir. Feeling a call to service again, Fred became a member of the Appomattox County Electoral Board (‘95-‘13) and spent time making sure that the elections held were fair and free from controversy.
After Maude’s passing, Fred returned to the Lone Star State, choosing to live in the Army Residence Community in San Antonio, a retirement community of retired Officers from all services, allowing him to be close to his children. He enjoyed spending his days helping others via the Computer Club with general Q & A, as well as presentations on how to use computers for everyday conveniences such as shopping and dictation. He also taught classes coaching other residents in writing their memoirs. Continuing his joy of music, Fred joined the chapel choir, and the Seniors of Note performing group, where he was applauded for his comedic song performances.
Fred’s desire was not to be famous, but to be memorable. His goal each day was to make someone smile. His laughter was infectious and his hugs were legendary. He had a genuine interest in people, and enjoyed making new friends. He loved music and his favorite food was ice cream.
Fred is preceded in death by both parents, as well as his wife Maude Moore Underwood and his sister Ruth LeNelle Cittadin. He is survived by his four children, CDR Max Wayne Underwood, (USN, ret) and his wife Jane (San Antonio): Nancy Leigh Honeycutt and her husband Kyle (Raleigh, NC); Tacy Lyn Armstrong and her husband Rob (Georgetown, TX): Rebekah Sue Valenzuela and her husband Joe (Jarrell, TX), seven grandchildren: Don Underwood, Richard Underwood, Kathleen Davis, Kristine Whalen, Joe Valenzuela II, Zoey Armstrong, Amy Armstrong along with 13 Great Grandchildren, his two sisters, Elizabeth Mixon and Louise Nunes, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Fred’s family and friends will be celebrating his life, Saturday March 25 from 11-2pm. For information regarding location please contact the family at email@example.com
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the United Services Organization.