Charles Underwood, 89, of Fergus FallsPublished 10:00am Monday, August 12, 2013 Updated 12:05pm Monday, August 12, 2013
He was born Sept. 24, 1923, in Fergus Falls, the son of Robert J. and Elveda (Isaacson) Underwood. He graduated from Fergus Falls High School in 1941, and went on to attend the University of Missouri and Carleton College before enlisting in the army.
Chuck went on active duty in March of 1943, and was assigned to the 79th Infantry Division which landed on Utah Beach, Normandy. After breakout from the hedgerows the 79th became part of General Patton’s 3rdArmy as it made its way across France. In November, after being hospitalized in England for attack of asthma, he returned to France and worked in headquarters of the 16th Reinforcement Depot at Compiegne until the end of the war. He was honorably discharged at Fort McCoy in early January of 1946.
He married Barbara Benson (daughter of Ben Benson and Gina Gunderson) in 1947 at First Lutheran Church, where both had been baptized and confirmed. He was active in church at that time and served on church council and as treasurer. At this time he started work at the Daily Journal. In the early 1960s, he took over as publisher from his father, Robert, whose health was failing.
In 1970, he decided to make drastic changes in the newspaper. He planned to adopt the offset method of printing, which offered better reproduction and use of color. A building was constructed on East Channing, a new press purchased along with other equipment, and the fi rst edition came out on March 20, 1972. The plant was one of the first in the state to utilize offset to print a daily newspaper. Two additions were made to the building in ensuing years. He wrote a majority of the editorials that appeared in the paper.
He sold the Daily Journal in 1985 and retired. Thereafter they spent winters in Florida at New Smyrna Beach where they were members of the Sugar Mill Country Club, and summers at Otter Tail Lake. They sold their Florida Place in 2003 and moved back to Fergus Falls to reside full time. Underwood participated in a number of community affairs.
He was on the Lake Region Hospital board of Trustees at the time when the two medical clinics merged and built their building adjacent to the hospital. He also served on the boards of the public library, First National Bank and the Economic Development Commission.
He was an enthusiastic fisherman, and did some hunting in earlier years. He was an avid reader who enjoyed both non-fi ction and novels and he made an effort to stay up with current events. During the summers he looked forward to spending time at Otter Tail Lake. He often lent a helping hand to community groups and organizations that could use fi nancial assistance.
Survivors include his wife, Barbara, of Fergus Falls; a son, Ben (Peggy) of Fergus Falls; three grandchildren, Jack, Wade and Liz; a sister, Nancy Ebersviller of Fergus Falls, and her children, Judd (Leigh) Ebersviller and Amy (Dan) Matthews.
Visitation: One hour prior to the service at the church
Memorial Service: 11 a.m. Wednesday, at First Lutheran Church, Fergus Falls
Clergy: Rev. Saul Stensvaag and Chaplain Harry Olson
Burial: Oak Grove Cemetery, Fergus Falls, with military honors provided by the Fergus Falls VFW and American Legion posts
Funeral Home: Olson Funeral Home, Fergus Falls