Underhill, Leota Thomas

Arizona Republic obituary, published March 23, 2014


Leota passed away March 19, 2014 after a brief illness, at 91. She was born in Chandler, AZ on September 30, 1922 to Amon and Vera (Tidwell) Underhill. Leota was preceded in death by her parents, her siblings, Amon, Jr., Dorothy, and Burton; her husband of 57 years, David; her son, David; and her grandson, Paul Kec. Leota is survived by two daughters, Maris Thomas (Gary Stuckey) and Janet Kec (Robert); five grandchildren, Chimene Hawes, Rebecca McArthur, Robert Kec, David Kec and Patrick Kec; and eleven great-grandchildren, David, Derek, Maryssa, Daniel, Dylan McArthur; Paige and Madison Kec; Jackson Kec; Lauren, Courtney and Avery Kec. She is also survived by nieces, nephews and her brother-inlaw, Kenneth Thomas. Leota lived a full and active life. She met her husband David in Chandler. They married when Leota was just 16 and stayed in Chandler for the first 20 years of their marriage. They also lived in several other places including Napa, CA, Morgan City, LA, and a few months in the south of France before settling in Paradise Valley, AZ. Leota returned to her roots and lived the last two years at the Village at Ocotillo in Chandler. Leota’s interests were wide and varied. She was an avid bowler and enjoyed playing golf into her 80’s. She obtained her pilot’s license after becoming a grandmother. Her grandchildren remember her whistling, her beautiful sky-blue eyes, and that she was fun-loving and adventuresome. Leota loved to travel. She visited much of the US, Canada and Mexico; Europe, Israel and China. She was involved in many organizations including the Order of Eastern Star, Phoenix 99s, the PEO Sisterhood, and Arizona Flying Farmers. Leota began working once her children were all in school and enjoyed associations with Chandler Ginning Company and Chandler Unified School District while in Chandler; Silverado Country Club and Mondavi Winery while in Napa; the Town of Paradise Valley and Designers Showcase while in Paradise Valley. A memorial service will be held Saturday at 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon, March 29, 2014 in the Chapel at Valley Presbyterian Church, 6947 E. McDonald Drive, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253. Leota will then join her beloved Davids in the Memorial Garden at Valley Presbyterian Church. Donations may be made in her name to Valley Presbyterian Church or to the Chandler Historical Society.