Remembering Jack Underwood, 1942 – 2017

post by Bryant Welch | photo by Jack’s wife Julie

Remembering Jack Underwood: The Importance of Marrying Well

On Tuesday, July 4, 2017 our long-time friend, Jack Underwood, passed away quite suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 75. Jack was one of the most loved members of our community and, as everyone who knew him will tell you, he was a very special guy. There was no hint of pretense to Jack; he treated us all equally regardless of our status in life, and he had a wonderful sense of humor. He owned and operated Traveler’s Mailbag—now being run by his widow, Julie, who many of us also know.

My personal introduction to Jack was somewhat of an unusual one given that we were destined to become very close friends. I married his ex-wife, Leni Miller. Jack and I used to tell people we were “related through marriage.” Jack’s kindness, appreciation of the absurd, and extraordinary curiosity about life were irresistible qualities, as everyone who knows him will attest. I cannot tell you how many people have come up to me since his passing to tell me that he was their best friend. They were probably all correct.

I had the privilege of being with Jack when he passed. He called me about 2:30 PM on the Fourth to say he wasn’t feeling well and asking if I would come over. I raced over to the houseboat where he was staying and knew at once he was having a heart attack. I called 911 and Jack, Leni, and I all went to the hospital very quickly. By 4:30 Jack was gone. His heart stopped before they could insert a stent, and despite heroic efforts, the Marin General staff could not get it started again.

Leni and Jack were friends for over forty years, and it was one of the most mature and wonderful friendships I have ever seen. Witnessing the community’s reaction to the loss of Jack has only added to my already profound appreciation of how lucky we are to live where we do. The community has provided enormous solace to our loss.

Please join us in a celebration of Jack’s life at the L on Issaquah Dock, Saturday, July 15, 2017 from 2-5. Jack’s family will be there along with his many friends. We will share our experiences of Jack and our many, many fond memories.

Jack Underwood Memorial | photos by Emily Riddell