Reat Griffin Lloyd Underwood was born on May 21, 1999 in Norman, Oklahoma to parents Mindy Corporon and Gary Underwood. For the first ten months of his life, he was his grandfather's, Dr. William L. Corporon (Bill), first priority. Reat moved with Mindy to Overland Park, Kansas in 2000. As an infant he met Len Losen, who would become his father figure, mentor, and biggest fan. Reat was a precocious toddler who could recite Eric Carle books at the age of two. Even then, he loved to sing and perform.
Reat dedicated his life to Christ as a camper at Kanakuk the summer of 2011, and offered his time as a volunteer in the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection KIDS-COR program, especially in the baby/toddler room. His energy and enthusiasm for others ever apparent, Reat was always ready to greet friends and teachers at Blue Valley High School in Overland Park, Kansas with a quick and sincere smile or, more often, a hug. Reat also loved the outdoors and enjoyed many hours hunting and fishing with family or camping with family and fellow Boy Scouts.
Reat's love of theater came naturally. When he would stay with his grandparents, Dr. Bill and Melinda Corporon (“Popeye” and “YeaYea”), he attended many theatrical rehearsals and productions of Duncan Little Theatre in Duncan, Oklahoma. Building on this early exposure Reat began his theatre career at age four. While Reat worked to perfect his vocal and acting skills, his talent came to be noticed outside the family, too. Reat auditioned for and received roles in more than 10 stage productions during his lifetime. As a high school freshman, he was accepted to the Kansas City Starlight Theatre Program, “Starlight Stars." He was also selected for a part in The Theatre in the Park’s 2014 production of Tom Sawyer. Although Reat played baseball, basketball and football, he loved to SING!
Reat’s successes are a testament not only to his personal drive but are also due in large part to the love, kindness and support provided by his parents and grandparents. He never lacked for transportation to or from lessons, auditions or performances. Often, it was his Popeye who volunteered to deliver Reat to his destination. On April 13th, 2014 Popeye had driven Reat to the Jewish Community Center in Leawood, Kansas to audition for
Reat did not make the April 13th audition. In the parking lot as they exited Popeye’s vehicle, Reat and Popeye were ambushed and became the first two victims of a hate crime intended to harm members of the Kansas City Jewish Community.
Something good will come from this. Reat and Popeye deserve to be honored by those for whom they lived and died. They were good, caring
and kind people who put the needs of others before their own.
Reat Griffin Underwood Memorial Foundation
We have established the Reat Griffin Underwood Memorial Foundation to
honor the legacies of both, Dr. Bill Corporon and Reat Underwood. Our
foundation is based on the following principles.
Proverbs 10:12 “Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.”
Romans 12:21 “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
Our approach to Faith Wins will keep these three verses in the forefront. Faith,
family and friend give us courage and strength; Faith that Heaven exists and is there for us as our time on earth ends, Faith that
good will overcome evil, Faith that God walks with us daily.
Our foundation aims to make “good things happen” in the
disciplines of medicine and the performing arts.
Our board will accept grants in the discipline of medicine ranging from
organ and tissue donation to financing mental health needs to providing
scholarships for medical students. This category is intentionally broad.
Our board will accept grants from organizations that offer programs of the
1.Productions that involve persons 21 and younger
2.Programs involving audition education and training for persons 21 and
Acts of Kindness and Religious
We will encourage and promote acts of kindness and religious understanding
through collaborative partnerships to enhance our community, our nation and
Reat Griffin Underwood Rising Stars Fund
The Reat Griffin Underwood Rising Stars Fund at the Greater Kansas City
Community Foundation is designated to fund the Jewish Community Center of
Greater Kansas City’s Reat Griffin Underwood Rising Star Program by supporting
Jewish Community Center education, theater and training programs that help
youth 21-years-old and younger explore their dreams and goals in the Performing
Arts, and by providing coaching for contestants for KC SuperStar.
When you support the JCC, you are a partner in EDUCATING, ENGAGING,
EMPOWERING and EXPANDING our community. We thank you for allowing us to join
you in keeping Reat’s spirit alive through sharing his love for the
Performing Arts with other Kansas City-area youth.