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James Alden (Jim) Underwood

June 5, 2012

James Alden (Jim) Underwood: A gentle, gifted man who loved family, friends and music.

Jim passed away on June 4, 2012. He was born in Coalburg, W.V. on May 14, 1919, to W.A. and Esta Underwood. Jim was the last of the W.A. Underwood family, consisting of the parents, two sisters and an older brother. Jim’s family moved to Texas in 1923. Texas has been home ever since.

Requesting that his memorial service be a time of celebration of life, not a time of sorrow, Jim considered that he was fortunate to have lived four lives: his childhood and early youth in the oil patch, his young adult life in the military, his life with Jonanna and the two boys, and his senior life with Ginger.

In high school, he was interested in music and, at that time, he and his buddy had their own radio program.

He entered the military service on Dec. 26, 1941. During his tour of duty, he was stationed in England, North Africa, where he participated in the invasion, and Sicily. He served 45 long months overseas. He and some fellow soldiers formed a band that Gen. George Patton heard. The general asked Jim, the vocalist, and the band to perform at a large dinner honoring Red Cross nurses. After his discharge, he returned to Big Spring, Texas. Six days later he entered employment at Continental Oil Company.

On Aug. 12, 1945, Jim married his wife, Jonanna Terry. Although Jim had worked for Continental Oil Company only nine days when he and Jonanna were married, Continental Oil Company felt the newlyweds were deserving so they gave the couple a nine-day honeymoon, a new set of tires, and gasoline coupons. Japan surrendered during their honeymoon in Ruidoso.

Jim and Jonanna had two sons, Steve Alden Underwood and Lee Underwood.
After 39 years of working at Conoco, he retired. After retirement, Jim and Jonanna spent many wonderful times together on trips with friends, dancing, and enjoying their two sons. Jim sadly lost Jonanna in February 1993.

As he moved into his senior life, he continued to lead the singing in his beloved Keystone Sunday School Class. His talent in music and love of music was present in all four of his lives. Having never had dance lessons, he said, “The music tells my feet what to do.”

He pursued other interests including fishing and hunting. He outlived his fishing and hunting buddies, but he did not give up his morning golf until he was in his 90s. Jim enjoyed his golf and his friends at Ranchland Hills Country Club, where he was a long-time member.

In July 1995, Jim married Virginia (Ginger) Maples of Dallas. As members of several dance groups, they enjoyed dancing. They enjoyed each other’s company, traveling, and growing old together.

Jim is survived by his wife, Ginger; his sons, Steve and Lee; two grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Luke’s United Methodist Church or Hospice Midland.

Memorial services will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 6, 2012, at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church with Kelly Inman officiating.

Arrangements are under the direction of Nalley-Pickle & Welch Funeral Home & Crematory of Midland. Online condolences can be made at: www.npwelch.com

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