Carol “Jay” Underhill, 74, longtime Delta Junction resident, died at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital Oct. 14, 2011, surrounded by family and loved ones. She died as the result of a fall.
She was born Carol Joan Holda in Bridgeport, Conn., Oct. 14, 1937, to Ann and Michael Holda. She was the middle child of three sisters.
Jay was the nickname given to her by the love of her life, David George Underhill, on a blind date, Independence Day 1954. They went to see fireworks together, and it was love at first sight. They married April 7, 1956, and their journey began.
In 1960 they built a home in Monroe, Conn., where they raised six children. David, a tool and die maker, was co-owner of Prestige Tool & Design in Shelton, Conn.
Jay was a busy homemaker, active member of her church who drove carpool, kissed boo-boos, entertained neighborhood kids and constantly was on the go. Her children have many happy memories of the good times they shared.
In 1972 Jay and David felt the Lord leading them on a different path that brought them to Alaska. In June 1974, they joined a family of precious believers at Dry Creek. Living in a tent with their children provided endless opportunity to practice survival skills. Their first cabin wasn’t completed until the following spring, and the stories of their early adventures in Alaska could fill a book.
When their children were grown, Jay and David moved to Fairbanks where Jay kept busy volunteering at the Food Bank and opening their home to those in need of hospitality. She also opened her heart to care for her own parents who came to live with her. She was a nurturer of many and friend to all.
Moving back to Delta Junction gave her the opportunity to continue sharing her natural gift of hospitality as she opened their home to bed-and-breakfast guests. Those who visited heard tales of their adventures and shared her rich history as an Alaska pioneer. In 2004, Jay was diagnosed with breast cancer. Thus began a battle that she fought with her whole heart; she confessed daily that God was able to bring her through, and he did. Twice.
Loved ones remember Jay as a fierce mother, loving spouse, kind-hearted friend, and true woman of faith. From the guests who stayed with her to her great-grandchildren, she was a living testimony of God’s grace.
Jay is survived by her husband of 55 years, David; her daughters and sons-in-law, Laurie and David Miller of Fairbanks, Lonnie and John Miller of Delta Junction, Regina Underhill of Kamuela, Hawaii, and Jessica and Kevin Stevenson of Wasilla; sons and daughter-in-law, Robert Hanusovsky of Memphis, Tenn., David Underhill Jr. of Fairbanks, and Jason and Lura Underhill of Big Lake; sisters, Barbara Traverse of Stratford, Conn., and Marcia Olsen of Naugatuck, Conn.; sister-in-law, Dianne Lane of Punta Gorda, Fla.; as well as 15 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held to celebrate her life 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 19, at the Church at Delta, 3170 Clearwater Road, Delta Junction.
Donations may be made in her name to the Fairbanks Community Food Bank or American Cancer Society .
Reprinted from the Daily News Miner