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Rebecca Stout Underhill Died Peacefully on April 25, 2024

By the family

April 29, 2024: Rebecca Stout Underhill died peacefully on April 25, 2024, at her home in Bronxville, NY. Becky is survived by her sons Bob (Sarah) and Hugh (Betsy), and grandchildren Molly (Alec Côté) and Sam.

Becky was born on November 16, 1930, in Bronxville, NY, to Lucia Lawrence Meigs and Penrose Vass Stout. Her grandparents on her mother’s side were William Van Duzer and Sarah Lawrence; her grandfather developed the Village of Bronxville and founded Sarah Lawrence College and Lawrence Hospital, where she was born. She graduated from Bronxville High School in 1948 and Pine Manor Junior College in Boston in 1950.

Becky was a natural beauty with an instinctive flair for fashion. This led her to a coveted summer internship at Mademoiselle magazine and then to complete the one-year program at the Tobé-Coburn School for Fashion Careers in New York City, where she reveled in her classes in merchandising, fabrics, window design, and the occasional brush with high profile designers.

On May 24, 1952, she was married to John Huber Underhill (Jack) at Christ Church, Bronxville, with her childhood best friend Cynthia Towell (Shively) as maid of honor. Becky had many suitors vying for her attentions, but Jack’s steadiness, loyalty, and stalwart presence won her over. It didn’t hurt that he was handsome and athletic, besides!

Becky’s childhood was one of privilege and also early loss. Her father, architect Penrose Stout, who had served as a pilot in WWI and returned to practice in Bronxville, died suddenly of a heart attack when she was only four. Her brothers, Bob and Ferris, six and eight years older respectively, went to war when she was still in elementary school. Her mother, Lucia, was deeply involved in supporting the war effort and running the Lawrence Investing Company – the family business – and largely left Becky to her own devices and the care of servants and extended family.

Becky knew Jack would provide the stability and security she needed, and he did so throughout their 58 years of marriage, until his death in 2010. They shared the same values – their deep love of family and commitment to each other – throughout their life together.

Becky and Jack raised their sons Hugh (b. 1953) and Bob (b. 1956) in Weston, MA, where they lived a quintessential 1950s suburban life filled with friends, dogs, and club sports. As the young bride of a husband just getting started in the insurance business, Becky barely knew how to make toast, and quickly had to learn her way around the kitchen. While cooking never emerged as a signature skill, she was the consummate entertainer, and there were always friends gathered at the Underhills’.

Her talent as a designer and seamstress, on the other hand, was extraordinary, and she turned out fabulous clothes for herself and her friends, as well as blazers and outfits for her handsome young sons. Becky and her best friend Sally Forte were frequently found at Filene’s Basement, where Becky was famous for zeroing in on that original Chanel or Dior piece, marked down to $100, in the endless racks of unworthy leftovers.

She was an avid gardener, and active in the Weston Garden Club, where a highlight was the preparation of arrangements for Art in Bloom at the MFA. Her charitable heart knew no bounds, and she was always looking for ways to connect with the good in people. She was very proud of her work as a volunteer in the early days of the Suicide Hotline in Boston.

In 1994, Becky and Jack moved to New London, NH, where they had lifelong friends and could continue their active outdoor lifestyle. They immediately became an essential part of the community and were particularly committed to the Adventures in Learning program hosted by Colby-Sawyer College. Becky volunteered at the Renaissance Shop, the Visiting Nurses Association consignment store, where her eye for quality was a great asset. She was also able to devote more time to her passion for watercolor painting and developed her talent in numerous workshops. She was extremely skilled and continued to paint until the last weeks of her life.

Becky spent every summer of her life at her beloved Big Wolf Lake in the Adirondacks, a small community of 32 families founded by her maternal grandfather, Ferris J. Meigs, who owned the Santa Clara Lumber Company. Many of the early camp owners at Big Wolf were friends of Becky’s parents from Bronxville. There Becky went from being a member of a small gang of cousins to a young wife and mother overseeing her own small gang while entertaining friends and leading the many informal competitions in swimming, diving, waterskiing, tennis.

Her beauty, energy, and effervescence were magnetic here as everywhere, and she continued to be the center of the community as a grandmother and matriarch. Six o’clock cocktails are written in stone at Big Wolf, and there were always friends and family members wandering over for a drink, conversation with Becky, and the best view of the sunset from the Santa Clara deck.

In March 2019, Becky moved from New London to Bronxville to be close to her family. Although it had not been her hometown for more than 70 years, it was only a matter of weeks before she made it her own. She joined the Reformed Church and loved her new family of faith.

An avid mahjong player, she joined the Bronxville Seniors and the Women’s Club so she could find some competition. The Women’s Club became very important to her, as it was so deeply a part of her family history. Designed by her father and built in 1927-28, the Club was founded by Becky’s great-aunt Anna Lawrence Bisland, daughter of William Van Duzer and Sarah Lawrence. Becky joined the board, and in 2021 accepted the Club’s annual award for distinguished community leaders on behalf of her father. She was surrounded by family at the ceremony, which was a proud moment for her.

Becky made many fast friends of all ages and loved the energy of Bronxville compared to her quiet town in New Hampshire. She wined and dined and had a social calendar that would have been the envy of those decades younger. She could be found almost every day popping into shops on Pondfield Road, stopping constantly along the way to chat with friends. She loved going to Siwanoy, where she was known as “the real Mrs. Underhill,” and couldn’t get through a meal without friends stopping by to talk or tell her how beautiful she looked.

In September 2022, Becky’s granddaughter, Molly, married Alec Côté in Nantucket, and her grandson, Sam, was a groomsman. They were the absolute loves of her life and she theirs, and she was glowing with happiness. She gave a reading at the service and was among the last to leave the dance floor (she discovered days later she had broken her foot!).

In March 2023, Becky was diagnosed with uterine cancer. She opted for minimal treatment and lived out her days with her quintessential elegance and grace, never turning down an invitation, never missing a chance to have a deep conversation. Her faith was strong, and she was never afraid of the end. Becky lives on in all who knew her: her glamour and style, her ability to make you feel like you were the only person in the world when she was with you, her empathy and wisdom, her joy and wonder, her deep gratitude and appreciation for all living creatures.

A memorial service for Rebecca Stout Underhill will be held at the Reformed Church of Bronxville at 11 am on Wednesday, May 22, with a reception to follow at Siwanoy Country Club. Please don’t wear black, because Becky saw the world in vivid color.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Becky’s honor can be made to the Bronxville Women’s Club, 135 Midland Avenue, Bronxville, NY 10708, Attention: President; (914) 337-3252, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.









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