PEI

'All around good person': Josh Underhay and son, Oliver, remembered by P.E.I. community

Family, friends and the wider P.E.I. community are remembering father and son Josh and Oliver Underhay, who died Friday.

Josh Underhay was a Green Party candidate in the upcoming provincial election

Josh and Oliver Underhay died in a canoeing accident on the Hillsborough River on Friday, April 19. (Belvedere Funeral Home)

Family, friends and the wider P.E.I. community are remembering father and son Josh and Oliver Underhay, who died Friday.

Josh, 35, and Oliver, 6, died in a canoeing accident on the Hillsborough River. 

Josh and Oliver leave behind their wife and mother, Karri Shea, and son and brother, Linden Underhay, along with a number of other relatives. 

Josh Underhay was a Green Party candidate in District 9, Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park in the upcoming provincial election. The vote in that district has been cancelled, and there will be a by-election within the next three months. 

While Underhay recently entered the political world as a candidate running to serve in the provincial legislature, those who are mourning and remembering him say he has always been community-minded. 

He was an avid cyclist and an advocate for active transportation, an accomplished musician and a teacher. 

Cycling advocate

Mike Connolly remembers Underhay as "a man of action," and an "all around good person." Connolly is the executive director of Cycling P.E.I., and witnessed Josh's enthusiasm for biking, as well as his commitment to living an active, environmentally-conscious life.

"He lived by his beliefs, he was a purist. Biked every day, cycled through the winter," Connolly said.

Josh Underhay was an avid cyclist, and he advocated for cycling infrastructure. (Pat Martel/CBC)

He says Underhay was instrumental in bringing a petition to the provincial government to have a bike lane added on the Hillsborough bridge. He also advocated for bike paths and lanes in Charlottetown. 

"He was a great person, and a great example for everybody in the cycling community, and just in general. Just the way we should live," Connolly said. 

'He accepted everyone'

Students at Birchwood Intermediate School say Underhay made a lasting impression on them through his work as a teacher at the Charlottetown school.

"He accepted everyone for who they are. He'd always light up the room," said 13-year-old Gracie MacBeth, one of Underhay's students. 

MacBeth said Underhay showed students his support of the LGBT community, and used history lessons to shed light on past injustices.

MacBeth believes Underhay wanted to make the world "a better place" for his students and his own children. She would sometimes get a glimpse into the lives of his children in class. 

"He used to show videos of his kids in our classroom, and pictures, and he'd just tell us about how proud he was," MacBeth said. 

"It's really sad that they're both gone."

Celebration of life

The Belvedere Funeral Home in Charlottetown is caring for the bodies of Josh and Oliver Underhay for a private family visitation.

According to the obituary, there will be a public celebration of life announced at a later date. 

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With files from Kayla Hounsell

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