Robert Marshall Underwood

Date of Birth

March 27, 1924

Date of Death

November 22, 2012

City of Death

Santa Barbara

Robert (Bob) Underwood passed away peacefully at Serenity House on Thanksgiving morning, November 22, 2012. He was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather and a man who truly represented the best of “the greatest generation.”

Bob was born in Ravenna, Ohio on March 27, 1924, to Clyde and Ruth Underwood. He graduated from Fairmont High School, Dayton Ohio, in 1942. In January 1943, Bob was drafted into the U.S. Military. He began in the Army, went to navigator school, and became an Army Air Corps (Air Force) navigator (flight officer) assigned to the 8th Air Force 351st Bomb Group, 509th Bomb Squadron. After his discharge from the Air Force in 1945, Bob resumed his college education. He met his wife of 66 years, Shirley Traxler, in college and they were married in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on December 28, 1946. Bob attended Houghton College in New York, where he obtained a B.A. in June 1949. Bob obtained his M.A in 1951 from the University of Kentucky. He graduated in 1964 from the University of Northern Colorado, in Greely, earning his Ed.D. He taught at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and ended his career as a Geography Professor for 20 years at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Upon retirement, Bob and Shirley moved to Bella Vista, Arkansas and enjoyed many years of golf with friends. A series of strokes debilitated Bob in his final years, but his strong spirit and love of life kept him going. In August 2005, they moved to the senior community of Maravilla in Goleta, where Shirley still resides.

Bob is survived by his wife Shirley, his two children, Steve (Barbara) and JoAnne (Mike), four grandchildren, five step-grandchildren, along with 15 great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at the Maravilla clubhouse, 5500 Calle Real, Santa Barbara on November 29 at 12:00 noon. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Visiting Nurse and Hospice or Serenity House in Robert’s name.


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