Mrs. Juanita Underwood became an Ivy Beyond the Wall on June 13, 2022. A celebration of life will be held at 11:00AM on Saturday, June 25, 2022, at Allen Temple AME Church, 2101 Lowe Street, Tampa, Florida 33605. The officiant is Reverend Dr. Rayford Harper of First Baptist Church of West Tampa. The interment will be held at Myrtle Hill Memorial Park Cemetery at a later scheduled date.
Mrs. Juanita Underwood was born November 16, 1950, in Tampa, Florida, to the parents of Rubin Padgett, Sr. (the first African American elected to Hillsborough County's Board of County Commissioners) and Richiedeen Padgett (Accountant & Healthcare Provider).
In her adolescent years, she would spend weekends with her grandmother Susie Padgett of Padgett Nursing home (the first black-owned nursing home). As a youth, she enjoyed traveling and spending time at the beaches, movie theaters, and local sporting events.
Juanita attended Middleton High School, one of two segregated Tampa high schools during the 1960s. She left the Tampa Bay area to attend Talladega College (Alabama’s Oldest Private Historically Black Liberal Arts College founded in 1867) on a full academic scholarship. Juanita pursued her love for education by majoring in Physical Science Education and graduating with honors. She maintained her interest in singing by singing in the university choir. In 1969, she was inducted into the service sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. In 2019, she gained the prestigious recognition of Golden Soror for her lifelong leadership and service to all mankind.
Juanita was a devoted educator and served in Hillsborough County Public Schools for more than 40 years. Continuing her love for education, Juanita went back to school and earned a master’s degree in Administrative Education at the University of South Florida, after which she was transferred to Sligh Middle School and was promoted to Assistant Principal.
She became the principal and spent more than 20 years at Sligh Middle School; often teaching the second and third generations of her former students.
Juanita married her high school sweetheart, Ralph Underwood, Sr. in Georgia, and they returned to Tampa Bay in 1972. The two of them started a family with the birth of their daughter, Tracie Lowe, CPA (a Certified Public Accountant) and Chef Ralph Underwood, II (a Highly Decorated Culinary Chef & Educator).
Through her love for her children, Mrs. Underwood became the Director of Education for OnPoint Futures, Inc. and an angel investor in Spice Me Enterprises, Inc. OnPoint Futures, Inc. is a 501c(3) corporation founded by Jerome and Tracie Lowe. Spice Me Enterprises, Inc., founded by Ralph Underwood, provides catering services and unique mixes of spices in recipes.
Juanita lived life to the fullest and spent her time as an avid bowler, moviegoer, dancer, and traveler. She will not only be remembered for leaving a legacy in her career/professional life but, she will also be remembered as the life of the party.
She leaves to cherish her loving children and their spouses Tracie (Jerome) Lowe and Ralph (LeQuisha) Underwood, II. Grandchildren Lowe - Jessica, Alisha, Jerome Jr, Jasmine, Aussie, Anise, & Alina; Grandchildren Underwood - Gavin & Kyla; siblings James Padgett (Linda), Earl Johnson (Brenda), Rubin Padgett, Jr (Cynthia), Nolan Padgett (Sheila), Rashonda Powe; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and other relatives. She was an animal lover and leaves behind her adoring German Shepherds Lacy, Lady, & Tropical.
The visitation repose will be 4:00PM – 6:30PM on Friday, June 24, 2022, and the Ivy Beyond the Wall Ceremony will begin at 6:30PM. The services will be held at Ray Williams Funeral Home, 301 N. Howard Ave, Tampa, Florida 33606. MASKS RECOMMENDED.
Service arrangements are entrusted to Ray Williams Funeral Home, 301 North Howard Avenue, Tampa, Florida 33606.