William “Bill” Gravely Underwood, founder of Fayetteville, AR-based Underwood Fine Jewelers, passed away on April 2, 2023 after a brief battle with cancer.
While attending the University of Arkansas, Bill started Underwoods with nothing more than a $1,000 loan and an uncompromising work ethic. With his dedication, talent and passion, Underwoods Jewelers grew to become one of the preeminent jewelry stores in the nation. Bill was in the first class of only twenty-nine jewelers in all of America to earn the designation of Certified Gemologist Appraiser. He also treasured his involvement with the American Gem Society (AGS) and served as its President from 1988-1990. He served on numerous national and international diamond and jewelry committees, and received countless awards and honors in the industry.
Born on September 22, 1932 in Mountain View, Oklahoma, Bill grew up during the Great Depression, learning values that served him through his life. He earned a degree in Horology from Southwestern State College, then served in the Navy from 1952-1956. After the Navy, Bill moved to Fayetteville to attend the University of Arkansas on the G.I. Bill where he earned a BS in Business.
It was Fayetteville where he met the love of his life, LeAnn, whom he married in 1958. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, and a friend to many. He was a leader in the community, a role model, mentor and always the eternal optimist.
A Celebration of Life will be held Thursday, April 6th at Central United Methodist Church in Fayetteville.
To sign the online guest book, visit www.bernafuneralhomes.com.