Lester E. Underwood, Jr.
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BUCYRUS: Lester E. Underwood, Jr., 87, of rural Bucyrus died peacefully with family near him Tuesday, July 2, 2013 at his home on the farm where he was born. He had been in failing health in recent weeks.
A lifelong Dallas Twp. resident, he was born August 7, 1925 to the late Lester and Maude (Jury) Underwood. He went to Mt. Zion schools and received his driver's license at age 14. At 15, he was dealt a major setback when he was stricken with polio. His family brought him home from the hospital in an iron lung. In spite of this, his classmates and teachers helped him with his studies and he graduated from Mt. Zion School in 1943. He was a member of the Mt. Zion EUB and United Methodist Church where he served faithfully and seldom missed Sunday School or church.
On September 14, 1968 he married Barbara (Gistle) Underwood who survives with their children, Milton (Dawn) Underwood, Brian Underwood, both of Bucyrus, and Susan (Tim) Jarvis of Galloway, Ohio and three grandchildren, Grace, Hannah and Abigail Underwood. Lester treasured time spent with his children and grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister, Geneva Sidenstricker of Marion. In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by Geneva's husband, Charlie.
Lester had many challenges in life, but he would overcome them one-by-one. He farmed the farm his grandfather purchased in 1898. In his early years, he was a radio and TV serviceman, setting up the Bucyrus Twp. VFD with their first radio communication. His family has held on to an 1881 Columbia high wheel bicycle, leading him to fellow enthusiasts in the Wheelmen Club. His children are often seen riding the bike to this day.
Lester, with his father, operated Underwood Garage and had the Ferguson Tractor agency from 1949-1958. During his time as a mechanic, he got interested in restoring cars. Though he loved to travel, taking a number of day trips all over Ohio and covering 49 states and most of Canada, Lester's delight was enjoying around 15 cars he and his family restored over the years. He liked the challenge of working on the cars and getting them back into good condition. It gave him the pleasure of accomplishment. He had memberships in several car clubs including AAA since 1946 and the "Slow Spokes." He attended many car and tractor shows that met in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan and was a founding member of the Massey-Harris-Ferguson Club of Ohio. Lester had a sense of humor and a zest for life. A man of integrity and honor, Lester's legacy will carry on in the hearts of his family.
The Underwood family will receive friends on Sunday, July 7, from 2-6 p.m. and from 10-11 a.m. Monday at Wise Funeral Service in Bucyrus where the funeral will begin at 11 a.m. on Monday with Pastor Matt Wilson and longtime family friend, Bill Wert will officiate. Lester's casket will then be driven to Oakwood Cemetery in his 1916 Maxwell truck for burial.
Memorial donations may be made to Mount Zion UMC, Holy Trinity Catholic Church or Lighthouse Baptist Church through the funeral home. Expressions of sympathy and memories can be shared on Lester's obituary page at www.wisefuneral.com.
Published in the Telegraph-Forum on July 5, 2013