Philip B. Underwood

June 20, 2020


Philip Bruce Underwood, 86, passed away Saturday, June 20th, 2020.

Phil was born on September 26th, 1933 in Yakima, Washington to Sam and Ruby Underwood. He was the second of four lively boys. Sam, Ruby, and brothers Richard, Wesley, and David predeceased him. At age eight, he and his brothers were all baptized in Yakima at the First Methodist Church. Philip used to tell many funny stories about growing up in Yakima and in Milton (before it was Milton-Freewater), and loved to relate stories about neighbors and people he remembered there. He remembered the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and how shaken our nation was, and yet full of resolve. He joined the Civil Air Patrol and the Boy Scouts.

After graduating from high school in 1952, Phil enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and received an honorable discharge in 1956. He went on to marry Beverly O’Dell, move to Hermiston, Oregon, and join the Oregon State Police. He and Beverly had two daughters, Carrie (now Kira) and Melanie. In or about 1974, the family moved to a small acreage and he delighted in raising pigs, cows, and chickens. In 1986 he retired from the OSP, where he had made many friends, both in the community and on the department.

Phil had many hobbies and interests, particularly in American history, and even more particularly, in the Civil War, where he possessed a challenging breadth of knowledge. He adored President Lincoln for his brilliant leadership and moral compass. Anyone who knew Philip knew what to buy him for a gift – a book on Lincoln, or a book on the Civil War. He loved antiques, gardening, dogs, and most especially, little children. In his lifetime he contributed steadily to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, to Paws for Purple Hearts, and to St. Labre Indian School. He also loved country music, and singing hymns in church.

In 2014, he moved to Gig Harbor, Washington to live with his daughter Kira and her family. The last several months have been incredibly difficult for him as he suffered through a series of accidents that left him with several broken bones and a major surgery. The staff at Family First/Artondale House, where he spent his final days, showed wonderful care and compassion for him, and did their best to compensate for the stringent no-visitors policy due to the pandemic. They sat with him, cooked amazing meals for him, sang and prayed with him, talked with him, and got to know him. We are deeply grateful to them as well as to the numerous doctors and nurses who attended to his needs and eased his pain. And we can never forget the love shown to him by his church life-group, the “Satur-Dudes,” who never stopped praying, visiting when they could, and loving him. To Ric Bornheimer, Vic Rhett, Ken Porter, John Phillips, Lowell Klavier, and ALL of you: God bless you for your kindness.

Philip is survived by his children: Kira Gilbert (Michael) and Melanie McCune (Ryan), five grandchildren, Michael Erickson, Kelsea Clements, Tristan Erickson, Joshua Gilbert, and Nathaniel Gilbert, and two great-grandchildren, Brynna and Roderick Clements, as well as sisters-in-law Susan Underwood and Marilyn Smith, along with a great many nieces and nephews.

Visitation (closed casket) will be held Friday, June 26th, 2020 from 5-7 PM at Keith and Keith Funeral Home, 902 West Yakima Ave., Yakima, WA 98902. Only 20 visitors will be allowed in the chapel at a time. Graveside services will be Saturday, 11 AM at West Hills Memorial Park, 11800 Douglas Road, Yakima, WA 98909. To leave a memory for the family please visit

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