Husband, Father, Brother
“One team, one dream”
Robert J. Underwood passed away peacefully at home in Bluffton, SC with his devoted wife and children by his side, on September 4th 2020 at 66 years of age. Rob was a Valentines baby, born February 14, 1954 in Barnet, England, the son of the late James Herbert Underwood and Doreen Brady. He is survived by his loving wife of 44 years, Virginia Caroline Underwood (Ginny), and his four children; Charlotte Louise, Henry James, Elizabeth Doreen and James Robert Edward. Along with his siblings; Neil Kevin Bloxam (Nod), Gillian May, Gayle Annette, and Michele Sally Helena, and Buddy, his faithful hound.
Rob fondly regaled stories of his mischievous childhood days in Essex. He was awarded a scholarship at Colchester Royal Grammar School, where he held the record for the triple jump. He had fond memories of his schoolmates at The Sweyne School Rayleigh including his best friend John Branch, who he co-ran a quite successful casino with, on the school bus!
Rob briefly lived in Germany, where his father was Parts Manager of Ford of Europe. This began a lifelong love affair with automobiles, and jump started a brief (yet hilarious) used car business with his best mate, John Farrin.
One day, Robs Mum came home to find her prize roses spray painted white (a Mini Cooper was being prepared for sale, you see). She told him to get a proper job, and he said he’d do so when he had a special person in his life.
Rob met the love of his life in 1975, Virginia (Ginny) Caroline Murton. After a 6 month phone courtship, the two met on a blind date. It was love at first sight, and they were married on April 9, 1977 at Saint James The Less in Hadleigh, Essex. Rob & Ginny were an unstoppable couple who worked hard and played hard. Their successful careers in the financial sector allowed for a pied-à-terre in Brighton and Malaga, Spain, adventurous holidays on five continents, and a very excellent stable of motorcars.
He was embraced by Ginny’s family and was an honorary Murton to her five siblings: Paul, Michael, Clive, Nick and Louise.
One morning, Rob went to London to get a job. There were two interviews, one was trading Eurobonds with Nomura Europe. (The other “sounded boring”). He had an hour before the interview, so he took himself to the library to learn all he could about the fledgling market. In typical Rob fashion, he knew more about the market than the person interviewing him, and his larger than life career had begun. From here, he moved to Manufacturers Hanover, and later to EBCO, where he established himself as a leader in the floating rate note market. He then worked at Merrill Lynch, Drexel and Dean Witter.
After a brief retirement full of horseback riding and long lunches, he re-entered the industry in 1993 with a move to the United States. He joined Bear Stearns in 1994 where he became Senior Managing Director. He later moved to Cantor Fitzgerald, in 2008, where he was managing director. He retired in 2015.
Rob was adored by his finance family, described as larger than life, a true gentleman who put his family first, and the smartest normal guy you’d ever meet. He was known as Undie to his friends, and Diamond Geezer by his closest. He believed the best way to bond with his trading team was over a good meal, enjoying a good desk dinner at his regular table at Maloney & Porcelli, where he made memories that lasted a lifetime.
In his thirties, Rob began the most important job of his life: he became a Dad. He was a proud father to Charlotte, Henry, Elizabeth and James. He was a best friend and protector, and enjoyed the little things: family dinners, his kids sporting games, and going for drives - where he bestowed his wisdom on his kids without them ever realizing so. He was the best dad a kid could ask for, which resulted in four children he was immensely proud of.
Family holidays were his favorite, where he, Ginny and the kids made lifelong memories. They were full of laughs, and the best of times.
Lifelong friends were made along the way, including that of Tommy Merryfield (who’s paintings hang proudly in Rob & Ginny home) Barry & Maggie Wilkinson, Richie & Lisa Pezzella, Jason Harwood (J-boy), Rick & Alice Farina, Paul & Sue Stokes, to name a few.
Rob was soccer fan through and through; a lifelong supporter of Arsenal Football Club, he never missed a game (including their recent FA Cup win). If he had the TV on, it was most likely playing the roar of a stadium somewhere in Europe - he followed all the European leagues and caught as many games as he could.
Cinema nights were a firm favorite, Rob would check all the reviews to pick a worthwhile movie to watch with Ginny, and the kids if they were home. Dinner was enjoyed after - for the lengthy discussion that was sure to follow.
With a cheeky sense of humor and a glisten in his eye, Rob was always able to have a laugh - and make those around him laugh. He loved a good joke and a good prank, never missing the chance for a well timed sprinkler soak (the art of the window lock).
Rob retired to Hilton Head Island, and later as an empty nester, to Bluffton with Ginny. South Carolina was a special place in the world for them. It was the place they’d enjoyed family holidays, and where he and Ginny had renewed their vows August 17th 2007, with their idea of a perfect ceremony: barefoot on the beach with those they loved.
As Rob’s battle with Parkinson’s disease progressed, he enjoyed spending time with his family and long lunches, best described as “good times in good company.”
Rob will be greatly missed. Although his vessel may have moved on from this earth, his legacy remains and will shine bright. He lived life to the fullest, with a smile on his face and a sparkle in his eye.
Visitation will be Sunday September 13th from 3pm-5pm at Sauls Funeral Home (90 Simmonsville Road, Bluffton SC 29910). A private Memorial Service will take place on Monday, September 14th at 10AM ET and live-streamed to Robs many friends and family around the world, at saulsfh.com. Select “live stream schedule” and click on Robert Underwood. The service will be followed by a reception for close friends and family.
Flowers may be sent to Sauls Funeral Home. Memorial donations, if preferred, can be sent to The Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund at email@example.com. In the memo please write donations are in honor of Robert Underwood.
To send flowers to Robert's family, please visit our floral store.