“Stanley L. Underwood left this world Monday, March 22, 2021, the same way he lived in it for 81 years: HIS way.” That’s how niece Carol Underwood Wilson started the obituary for her uncle and friend. It’s an almost 800-word obit and Carol said she could have written volumes more. (Read it here.)
Stanley was fun. He could spot a phony from 100 yards, and he would work for free for people and projects that he valued.
I met Stanley at Powell High School at the kickoff for Allen Morgan’s campaign for school superintendent. He leaned over and whispered, “I hear he’s a Republican.” He looked both ways and added, “And a Baptist.”
Over the years, Stanley would call with a tip – almost always a high school or UT track & field athlete who needed a story. “This one is going to the Olympics.” He officiated at meets and could spot talent at 100 yards. He also volunteered to clear trails. Some people hike, but Stanley cleared trails and built bridges.
Trained as a school teacher, Stanley left the trade to join the business world. He made enough to retire at age 50. He described himself as a “kept man” and Shirley’s “errand boy.” Shirley was a standout teacher, school administrator and Morgan’s right hand during his tenure as superintendent. She left Knox County Schools shortly after Allen did, but couldn’t quit work. She posted another 10-plus years as a consultant to an educational software firm.
And that’s the thing about the Underwoods. Both had successful careers and time-consuming outside interests. Yet they completely enjoyed each other – whether traveling or just reading in the den. Niece Carol said “they did it right.” Stanley’s request for no service is being honored, but the family is asking people who knew him to share “Stanley stories” which will be compiled. Send those stories to email@example.com