Murray Sylvester Underwood

Saturday, November 7, 2009
Murray Sylvester Underwood

Funeral services for MURRAY SYLVESTER UNDERWOOD will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, November 9, at First Congregational Church in Spencer.

The Revs. Thomas Van Tassell and Wendy Van Tassell will officiate the service. Organist will be Christi Gabhart and soloist will be Wendy Van Tassell.

Pallbearers will be Clifton Albright, Chuck Swanson, Steve Swanson, Dave Brugman, Dean Saunders and Jim Reed.

Interment will be 1:30 p.m. Monday in Oakland Cemetery in Peterson. Military services will be conducted by Glen Pedersen Post 1 -- American Legion of Spencer.

Murray was born on September 25, 1921, in Clay County to Alford Underwood and Henriette Beck Underwood. He attended high school in Peterson, and attended college at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. His service in the ROTC program led him to serve in the U.S. Navy beginning in 1942. He served on the destroyer, the USS Evans, in the Pacific. He was discharged with honors after the war and returned to the University of Iowa to obtain his law degree. He moved to Spencer in 1948 to practice law. His practice grew and became Underwood and Cooksey.

He married Ina Faye Kruse of George, Iowa, on June 15, 1953. Later in his law career he served as Clay County Attorney. Murray was appointed as an Iowa District Court Judge in 1968, serving the 3rd District, including the counties of Buena Vista, Cherokee, Clay, Crawford, Dickinson, Emmet, Ida, Lyon, Kossuth, Monona, O'Brien, Osceola, Palo Alto, Plymouth, Sioux and Woodbury. He retired in 1985 and for several years continued to serve the 3rd District on a part-time basis. He was a member of the First Congregational Church and served on numerous church boards and committees. He was very active in community leadership, serving on the Spencer Hospital Foundation Board, and also as a member of Golden K, Spencer Rotary, the Spencer Area Shrine Club, and the Abu Bekr Shrine in Sioux City. He was a 50-year member of Evening Shade Masonic Lodge 312 of Spencer. He was involved in the early development of the Spencer YWCA/YMCA, as well as being a supporter of many other community projects, causes and events. He was also a longtime member of the Iowa State Bar Association. He immensely enjoyed traveling, reading, fishing trips, golf, and time for coffee with his friends, and particularly, Iowa Hawkeye football.

Murray passed away on Thursday, November 5, 2009, at the age of 88.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his sister Phyllis Underwood Peck; and brother Geoffrey Underwood.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife, Ina Faye Underwood of Spencer; and brother, David of Coral Gables, Fla.; and many friends and relatives.

Arrangements are being handled by Warner Funeral Home of Spencer.