Athens Asst. Police Chief Dies At 43

Police officers in Athens are mourning the loss of one of their own. Assistant Chief Tom Underhill died Sunday night. The 43-year-old battled leukemia for the past few weeks. It was not something the Athens Police Department expected: to lose one of their own at such a young age. Underhill started experiencing blurred vision and a lack of energy about three weeks ago. He was diagnosed with leukemia.

Sgt. Charles Gurley worked with Underhill for 20 years, "He told me that he had made a decision that he was going to go to Baylor Hospital in the Dallas area, and he was going to get the treatment for it, and he was going to beat this thing, and he was going to come back to work. But that didn't happen," Gurley said.

After just a couple of weeks of chemotherapy, Underhill took a turn for the worst. He died just before 10 Sunday night. His co-workers say they'll miss Underhill's soft-spoken personality.

"He wasn't one to jump up and yell and holler and beat on the desk. But when he spoke, he spoke with authority," Gurley said.

Underhill was named "Officer of the Year" three years in a row and was dedicated to speaking to area students about drug abuse.

"He served his community well. We lost a great friend. This city and this county has lost a great officer," Gurley said.

Underhill is survived by his wife. Funeral services are scheduled for tomorrow morning at 10 at the First Baptist Church in Athens.

Julie Tam, reporting.