Donald Lafayette Underhill, 94, of Weatherford, Texas, passed away on Wednesday, January 9, 2019, at his home, surrounded by his family. While his entire family grieves his passing, they rejoice in knowing that he is with our Lord and Savior in Heaven. Don took great delight in serving the Lord and, even in his final days, made it a point to ask every person he encountered about their relationship with Christ, insisting that he wanted to see each and every one of them in Heaven with him. He was a man of great character who would gladly give you the shirt off his back and enjoyed making jokes and laughing. In a word, he was the best kind of person and the world will be less without him in it.
Don was born on November 26, 1924, in Linn, Oklahoma, to Rev. Andy and Lorraine Underhill. The oldest of four children, he attended Murray State College in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, just long enough to meet and fall in love with Pauline “Polly” Cogdill at a school social. After completing vocational training to become a machinist through the National Youth Administration, Don enlisted in the United States Navy (June 1943) and was assigned to the Seabees. In June 1944, he stormed the beaches of Normandy, France, alongside thousands of fellow servicemen. He would eventually also serve in the Pacific Theatre of World War II in the Philippines.
While home on leave, he and Polly were married in Madill, Oklahoma, on November 10, 1944. Upon being honorably discharged in 1946, he and Polly settled in Madill, Oklahoma. They soon welcomed two daughters, Frankie Sue and Donna Mae. Tired from moving around with the Corps of Engineers, the family moved to Monument, New Mexico, when Don began working for Warren Petroleum/Gulf.
During this time, the Underhills moved to Hobbs, New Mexico, and began establishing roots, with their children attending Hobbs Municipal Schools and becoming charter members of Taylor Memorial Baptist Church in Hobbs, New Mexico. Don was ordained as a Deacon on October 7, 1962. They had many devoted friends and enjoyed raising their family alongside the people they met through the church, work, and, of course, the military.
Following a battle with cancer, Polly passed away in late 1970, and Don remarried to a long-time family friend, Norma Fulkerson Duncan on March 12, 1971, in Seminole, Texas. Norma, having been widowed a few years prior, had four children: Mike, Terry, Cathe, and Monte. With several of the kids grown and living lives of their own, they settled into life on “The Farm” on the outskirts of Hobbs, New Mexico.
After retiring from Gulf/Chevron in June of 1987, Don helped to establish Home Church, which eventually became Nadine Baptist Church on the south side of Hobbs. As a full-time lay minister, he spent countless hours working at the church, doing outreach in the community, and ministering to those most in need of hearing “The Good Word”.
After 32 years of marriage, Norma passed away in late 2003, and Don remarried for a third time to Gail Chilcoat on September 3, 2005 in Athens, Texas. Gail had three children: Shirley, Clarence, and Karen Sue. They lived in Lovington, New Mexico. Gail passed away in late 2010.
In 2011, Don moved to Weatherford, Texas, to be closer to his daughter, Frankie Sue Bessinger, and sisters, Naomi Armstrong and Oneida Pool. While in Weatherford, he joined the Community Baptist Church and later the Northside Baptist Church.
Don is preceded in death by his parents, Reverend Andy and Lorraine Underhill, his brother, Buddy Underhill, his sister, Naomi Armstrong, his first wife, Polly Cogdill, his daughter, Donna Underhill, his second wife, Norma Fulkerson, her sons, Mike and Terry Duncan, his third wife, Gail Chilcoat, her daughter, Karen Sue Fletcher, his brothers-in-law, John Armstrong and Frank Pool, and many other family members and friends, all of whom he was so excited to see again as soon as he gets to Heaven.
Don is survived by his sister, Oneida Pool of Weatherford, his daughter and son-in-law, Frankie Sue and Donald Bessinger of Weatherford, Texas, his step daughter, Cathe Duncan of San Diego, California, his step son and daughter-in-law, Monte and Brenda Duncan of Midland, Texas, his step daughter and son-in-law, Shirley and Steve Whitaker of Athens, Texas, his step son and daughter-in-law, Clarence and Donna Fletcher of Hobbs, New Mexico, his granddaughter, Tammy Jones of Kuwait, his granddaughter, Pamela Heis, of Ripley, West Virginia, and many other grandchildren, great grandchildren, and even one great-great-grand child.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you please make donations in Don’s name to the Center of Hope, 629 Palo Pinto Street, Weatherford, Texas, 76086, where Don volunteered as a door greeter for the last seven years.
Uncle Don will always have aspecial place in our hearts. So nice that he is in HEAVEN now and not suffering. He is so happy to again be with loved ones that passed. We will forever miss him. And remember the times we saw him and talks on the phone. May God wrap his arms around his family and all that knew him.
Nancy, Bill and Andy AudenFort Denaud, FL
Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Our family loved Don and loved being his family for the five years he was married to mom and the eight years following her death. What a good man he was . He was kind, giving, loving and faithful to God, his family and to all those he called friend . He will be missed .
Shirley WhittakerAthens, TX