Ray "The Dawg" Underwood, 56, of Royal Palm Beach, FL, passed away on Wednesday, October 16, 2013. He was born and raised in Lansing, Michigan and moved to Ft. Lauderdale in 1974. Ray's memory will be cherished by Dawn, his loving and devoted wife of 37 years; mother, Bonnie; sisters, Tori, Edith, and Patsy; brother-in-law, Doug; nephew, Brad (Cindy); nieces, Denise and Angela (Jake); and a great nephew, Brad. He was predeceased by his father Jim. Ray was known to everyone as the Dawg. He became a City of Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Department Firefighter/EMT in July 1979, served for 27 years and retired in 2007. In 1991 he became an original member of the fire department's technical rescue and dive rescue teams. He served the entire city by having worked at every fire station. The Dawg was a mentor to many young firefighters, he was the ultimate professional and dedicated firefighter. Ray was well known for his chef skills. He became a bar-b-cue expert and built his own smoker/grill from a 1000 gallon tank. He used this grill to cook for over 2000 people during the Hurricane Andrew recovery efforts. He was asked to cook at all types of events from birthdays to weddings and many charity events. Ray was a Harley enthusiast and enjoyed riding his Ultra Classic especially during charity runs. During his retirement, Ray started working for Titan Salvage and was part of the team that raised the Costa Concordia in Italy. He will be remembered for his positive attitude, sense of humor and can do approach to life. Ray was always there for everybody, he was the first person to call when someone needed help. He will forever be known as the "Best Friend" for everyone who knew him. A memorial gathering will be held 7-9 PM on Monday, October 21, 2013 and a memorial service will be held 12 PM on Tuesday, October 22, 2013, both at Palms West Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Ray's memory to: The Sick and Welfare Fund of the Fort Lauderdale Firefighter's Benevolent Association, 309 1/2 SW 26 St., Fort Lauderdale 33315.
Published in Sun-Sentinel on Oct. 19, 2013