Judith Jackson Underwood

December 24, 2022

Judith Jackson Underwood, 82, died peacefully on December 24, 2022, at The Sanctuary in Charlotte, North Carolina. Judith (and her twin brother, Sam) was born on June 17, 1940, in Gastonia, N.C., to the late Mary Neal Wilkins Jackson and Phillip Jackson.

Judith graduated as Valedictorian from Ashley High School in Gastonia in 1958, and attended Duke University on scholarship. She graduated from UNC-CH in 1962.

Judith and Donald S. McMillan were married in 1962 and had two children, Mary Shepherd in 1963 and Robert in 1965. She married Bill Underwood in 1985, and quickly began combining the two families bringing Bill’s children, Will and Karen, into a unit that grew more and more cohesive and loving of each other as time passed. She also adopted Mildred (“Huppy”) McCanless as her mother-in-law and they became devoted to each other.

Judith grew up in a time of great change in the South and her life was influenced in numerous ways by these changes. She became very involved in women’s rights and had various social and religious interests, including the human potential development program founded by Werner Erhard, the Servant Leadership School, founded by Gordon Cosby’s Church of the Savior, and passage meditation as taught by Eknath Eswaran.

In 1986 she co-founded Dorrier-Underwood, a business consulting firm which focuses on organization leadership, fulfilling Judith’s vision that it is possible for organizations to empower people and for work to be fulfilling.

Judith was preceded in death by her twin brother Sam, and her parents Mary Neal and Phillip Jackson. She is survived by her husband, Bill Underwood, and their children, Shepherd Poole and her husband, Grey, Robert McMillan and his wife Ashley, Will Underwood and his wife Jean, Karen Underwood Hammes and her husband John. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Katy Phillips and her husband Wade, Emmett Underwood, David Underwood, Heyward Hammes, Elizabeth Poole, William Poole, Mary Jane Poole, Mack McMillan, Davis McMillan, and Leila McMillan.

A memorial service will be held at First Presbyterian Church, 200 West Trade Street, Charlotte, NC 28202, at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, January 3, 2023. A reception will be held at the church following the service. A special thanks go to the staff of The Sanctuary-Stonehaven, with special recognition to Ms. Kathy, Ashley, and Alex. Special thanks also go to Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Judith’s memory to Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region, P. O. Box 470408, Charlotte, NC 28247.

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC; 28204 (704) 641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at www.kennethpoeservices.com.

If you are coming to the celebration as advertised below you can click on this link alhickson@dorrierunderwood to RSVP via email.


Share your memories & condolences


  • Joan Martin

    Sending sympathy to Bill and to the Underwood family.

  • Danny Watts

    Bill, My heart goes out to you friend. God bless you and yours. dw

  • Dianne A. Leventis

    Bill, Sorry for your lose and may wonderful memories always keep you smiling.
    (Law Building Coffee Shop)

  • Dianne A. Leventis LAw Building Coffee Shop

    Bill, very sorry for your loss. May she rest in peace.

  • Elizabeth Ross

    Judith was a woman of spirit and good cheer. She was always up for an adventure. Although we lost touch in recent years, I remembered the delightful time I spent with her.

  • Sue Schenck

    Bill and family, The service for Judith was a beautiful tribute to a special wife, mother and friend. I am so pleased I was there to celebrate a life well lived.

  • Cline Comer

    Bill, so sorry to hear of Judith's passing. Our prayers are with you and your family

  • Ann Skoglund

    Bill, I am so sorry to hear this sad news. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Ann Skoglund.

  • Alice-Lyle and Stan Hickson

    Judith is remembered for her amazing spirit and smile that lit up a room. She fought a good fight. Much love to you all.

  • Nadine and Tom Brantley

    We met Judith in the early 1980's. She and her work, along with her husband Bill, have been highly impactful on our lives. We can truly say they have helped us see the way to "live the dream." We are eternally grateful.

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