Mr. Willis O. Underwood was born in Berryville, Arkansas on June 1, 1911. He grew up in Del Norte, Colorado and graduated from the University of Colorado in 1933. He joined the faculty at Colorado University and taught in the field of personnel administration. He enjoyed a long and illustrious career in government, beginning with the United States Civil Service Commission in 1942. During the war he served in the Navy and was Director of Personnel for the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery of Navy nation-wide. Following the war he joined the Veterans Administration where he served as director for four major V.A. hospitals including the hospital in West Haven, which is affiliated with the Yale School of Medicine. Mr. Underwood also served in the Central Office of the V.A. in Washington, D.C. as director of Management Development; director, Personnel Service and chairman of Administrator's Advisory Council. After moving to CT, Mr. Underwood served as director at the V.A. Hospital, West Haven, from September 1970 to August 1975. After retiring from the V.A., he served with the Joint Commission on Accreditation of hospitals and then joined Quinnipiac College and established the Department of Health Services Administration. After five years, he retired again to sell books from his early American and antique book collection. He also had been an active member of the Hamden Rotary Club. At age 87, he and his wife Lucille decided to become residents of Elim Park. He died at Elim Park in Cheshire, CT on March 3, 2010, age 98. Willis is survived by Lucille, his loving wife of 75 years, his two sons, Lee and wife Sonia and Steve and wife Marge, and his sister Evelyn Piccinati and his granddaughter Christine Mallar. A Memorial Service is planned for 2 pm, Saturday, March 13, 2010 at Nelson Hall Elim Park, 150 Cook Hill Rd., Cheshire, CT. In lieu of flowers, contributions to Elim Park's Mary Melby Fund are appreciated. Arrangements in care of BEECHER & BENNETT, 2300 Whitney Ave., Hamden.

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  1. If a man’s greatness is measured by the wealth of positive memories he leaves behind, Willis was among the very greatest in my life. My heartfelt condolences to his children and especially to Lucille, every bit his perfect match.

  2. Willis was one of the most positive people I have ever met. He and lucille changed my life and are the happiest couple I have ever known. Willis will be sadly missed. A great friend. Don Barese

  3. Willis was one of the most positive people I have ever met. He and lucille changed my life and are the happiest couple I have ever known. Willis will be sadly missed. A great friend. Don Barese

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