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Obituary: Peggy Underwood

Peggy C. Underwood of Killington, Vt. and San Diego died peacefully at the San Diego Hospice on Aug. 18 after a nearly five-year battle with breast cancer. She was 63.

As she did in every other aspect of her life, Peggy didn't let her 2008 diagnosis slow her down. She fought hard - a double mastectomy, rounds of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and plenty of trips to the hospital. But through it all, she made living her top priority, and it wasn't until about six months ago that the disease began to take over completely.

Born in Pasadena, Calif., Peggy graduated from Pasadena High School. She was a young mother, and, before the age of 22, she was divorced with two children. Shortly after her divorce, she met Charles R. Underwood, another young parent - he, too, a single dad with two children. Charlie and Peggy remained together ever since, and would have celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary in November.

While raising a family, Peggy became employed in the personal computer industry during its early stages. She developed a knack for understanding operating systems, and held many jobs over the decades in the industry - even, as she recalled recently, turning down an offer with an upstart company headed by Steve Jobs.

The couple moved to New Jersey from Southern California in 1977, where their daughter, Tanya, was born. While Charlie continued his career in the boating industry, Peggy tried several other jobs - including a few years as a real estate agent - while keeping her hands in information technology.

It was while they were living in New Jersey that Peggy and Charlie first visited Vermont. All it took was a single family ski vacation to Killington in 1978 to hook them on the Green Mountain State. For years, they would return to Vermont as often as possible, and, in the late 1980s, they purchased their home in Killington, to which they returned almost every weekend during ski season until finally making Killington their permanent home two years ago.

An avid skier until her diagnosis, Peggy loved to move. She enjoyed running, cycling, spin classes and long hikes along Killington's ridge lines. She also dabbled a bit in golf, and enjoyed taking the opportunity to get out on the water.

She retired two years ago as a lead computer trainer at the Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin law firm in Philadelphia, and was looking forward to decades of travel, skiing and, most importantly, time with her children and grandchildren.
She is survived by her beloved husband, Charlie, and their children, Tanya Underwood-Best and her husband Tim Best and their daughter Colette, of Philadelphia;  Darren Allen and his partner Philene Taormina and their children Fiona, Martin and Zane, of Montpelier, Vt.; Dawn Thomas and her husband Brian Thomas and their daughter Amber of Eugene, Oregon; David Underwood and his wife Cyndi Underwood and their son Shane of San Diego; and Sara Underwood and her husband Michael Felger and their daughters Tessa and Emma of Wellesley, Mass..  She is also survived by her stepmother Nancy Wood; her brother Greg Wood and his wife Michelle and their children Heather and Kevin; and by Charlie's sister Susan Larkin and her daughter Lisa of San Diego.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 1 at the Woodstock Unitarian Universalist Church in Woodstock, Vt. Donations in Peggy's honor can be made to the  San Diego Hospice and Institute for Palliative Care, where her last days were made comfortable and peaceful.

An online guest book may be accessed by visiting cabotfh.com

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