Cover photo for William Gary Underwood's Obituary
William Gary Underwood Profile Photo

William Gary Underwood

October 3, 1953 — October 14, 2023


William Gary Underwood

William Gary Underwood, 70, of Bigelow, Arkansas, peacefully passed away on October 14, 2023 at his home.

Gary was born on October 3, 1953 in Lawton, Oklahoma. There he was raised by his loving mother, Lillian M. Underwood. After graduating from Eisenhower High School in Lawton in 1971, Gary went on to study music at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Oklahoma, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Church Music. There he was involved in the long-standing Bison Glee Club.  In college he met his bride Susan Lynn Williamson.

In June of 1974, Gary and Susan were married at Portland Avenue Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Shortly after, they had two children, Kerri Lynn, born in 1978 and Kurt William, born in 1981.

After graduation, in 1976, Gary became the Minister of Music and Youth for the First Baptist Church of Gallup, New Mexico, launching a 47 year career in music, youth and media ministry, where he continued to serve until his passing. He served in many churches across the country from Emmanuel Baptist Church of Farmington, New Mexico, to Elmdale Baptist Church of Springdale, Arkansas, to Beech Street First Baptist Church of Texarkana, Arkansas. 

Gary was a member of the Southern Baptist Convention and a key player in the development and launch of the ACTS Christian Television Network within the State of Arkansas.

In the summer of 1996, Gary was asked to join the Arkansas Governors Office as the Director of Media Operations, prompting a move to central Arkansas.  Gary continued to serve in some capacity for various departments within the Arkansas State Government, with his most recent role as the Communication Manager for the Auditor’s Office.

Most recently, Gary served as the Interim Music Minister at Perryville First Baptist Church in Perryville, AR, and chaplain for the Little Rock Touchdown Club.

Gary was known for his passion for music, his gift of never meeting a stranger, his radiant smile and fierce love for his family, most notably his three grandsons, who could always count on him to be watching, cheering, or filming from the stands.

Gary was preceded in death by his mother, Lillian M. Underwood. Gary is survived by his wife Susan Lynn Underwood, two children, Kerri Lynn Sangalli (Shane) and Kurt William Underwood (Jessica), and three grandchildren, William Michael Sangalli, Carter Jackson Sangalli and Collin Matthew Underwood, several half brothers and sisters and countless family and friends.

Memorial Services will be held in the Chapel at Fellowship Bible Church, 1401 Kirk Rd, Little Rock, Arkansas 72223 on Monday, October 23rd at 2:30 pm.  A visitation with the family will immediately follow in the atrium.

Arrangements by Smith Little Rock Funeral Home, 8801 Knoedl Court, Little Rock, Arkansas 72205.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to the music department of Oklahoma Baptist University or St. Jude allowing children to keep smiling and singing.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of William Gary Underwood, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Memorial Service

Monday, October 23, 2023

Starts at 2:30 pm (Central time)

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Monday, October 23, 2023

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