Obituary: Mitch Underhill
October 9, 2013
Mitch Underhill, born and raised in South Lake Tahoe, CA, and an avid all-mountain adventurer, unexpectedly passed away—he was 34 years old. Family and friends will deeply miss his loving, kind, and beautiful spirit, as well as his warm smile, infectious laugh, and passion for the outdoors. Mitch had a deep connection to the mountains and said that the higher he climbed, the closer he felt to God.
From an early age, Mitch loved exploring Lake Tahoe and the surrounding Sierra Nevada—with a particular affection for Yosemite National Park and the east side of the Sierra. Mitch was a natural athlete. His preferred sports were rock climbing, skiing, surfing, and more recently paddleboarding. From elementary school through middle school, he participated in the Buddy Warner ski program at Sierra-at-Tahoe. At age 17, Mitch and his best friend, Ryan Shreve, climbed the Nose of El Capitan in Yosemite for their senior high school project. Mitch's passion for the outdoors continued on with thousands of adventures that included surfing and climbing trips to Thailand, Nicaragua, Hawaii, the European Alps, and Alaska. There is no doubt that Mitch lived his life to its fullest—every day.
His love of the outdoors ultimately led him to his beloved wife Sarah Underhill (Felchlin) who shared his passion for climbing, adventure, and Lake Tahoe. Mitch and Sarah were married at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park in 2007 and have two boys, Mason James (3 years) and Cedar Matthew (16 months). Mitch was a proud and exceptional father and adored his young sons. He frequently took them on backpacking, climbing, skiing, paddleboarding, and fishing excursions. Mitch was seen often the past few summers paddleboarding with his oldest son, Mason and springer spaniel, Juniper at Baldwin Beach, Rubicon Point, and Emerald Bay. Mitch also had a profound love for music and was a beautiful guitarist, playing music for his wife and sons daily.
Mitch graduated from South Tahoe High School in 1997 and received a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from Westmont College, Montecito, CA in 2002. While at college, Mitch gained a profound appreciation for surfing and the Pacific Ocean. Over the years after college, he worked as ski patrol for Sierra-at-Tahoe and as a U.S. Forest Service backcountry ranger. He graduated from paramedic school in early 2005 and later that year was hired as a firefighter/paramedic with Lake Valley Fire Protection District. Mitch was among the first brave firefighters on scene to battle the 2007 Angora wildfire, recalling his experience driving through a wall of flames along Tahoe Mountain Road en route to save homes in the neighborhood below Angora Ridge.
Mitch is survived by his loving and devoted wife, Sarah Underhill (Felchlin); sons, Mason and Cedar Underhill; father and mother, John and Jody Underhill; brother and sister-in-law, Matthew and Danielle Underhill; sister and brother-in-law, Corrie and Brian Aggers; father-in-law, J. Chris Felchlin; mother-in-law, Vera Freeman Felchlin (Benjamin R. Fletcher); brother-in-law, Chris Felchlin; nieces, Mattison and Marin Underhill; nephews, Drew Aggers and Jake and Alex Felchlin; godson, Lars Romsos, and cousins, Scott, Shane, Mollie and Lauren Romsos. He was preceded in death by his grandfathers and grandmothers, Warren and Margaret Romsos and Thomas and Ruth Underhill, and uncle, Brian Romsos.
The Underhill and Felchlin families would like to express their sincere appreciation for all of the love and support provided by the community and friends from afar. A website has been established for family and friends to share pictures and memories of their treasured time with Mitch (rememberingmitch.com). A memorial service will be held on Sunday, October 20, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. at St. Theresa Church, 1041 Lyons Ave., South Lake Tahoe, CA. In lieu of flowers, donations to help Mitch's family can be made at any El Dorado Savings Bank branch or sent to El Dorado Savings Bank, 1036 Al Tahoe Blvd., South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150 under the "Sarah Underhill Family Fund."