Retired West Tennessee educator, John Riley Underwood, died May 27, 2013,
at Morningside Assisted Living. Visitation will be from 1:00 pm until 3:00 pm
on Wednesday, May 29, 2013, with the funeral to follow at Ridgeway Funeral Home.
Burial will be in the Puryear City Cemetery.
Dr. Joe Culumber, nephew from Seattle, Washington, and retired Dean of
Theology at Greenville College in Greenville, IL, will officiate. Pallbearers will be
grandsons and grandsons-in-law Nolan Poteete, Greg Poteete, John Dale Ross,
Derek Parker, Tyler Gamble and Kevin Reed.
Born on July 19, 1921, in Newman, IL, he was the son of Bernice and Ralph
Underwood. He received his early education in Newman Township Schools
and came to Murray State University on a football scholarship. He completed
his masters’ degree at Ole Miss and did further post-graduate work at the
University of Tennessee at Martin. Underwood spent 36 years as coach, teacher,
counselor, principal and superintendent in Humboldt, Trenton, Paris and
Covington school systems, serving as the last principal of Grove High School
and the first principal of Henry County High School. He retired in 1983. He was
a registered basketball official and refereed in the state tournament. He was
in the U. S. Marine Corps in World War II. John served on the TSSAA Board of
Control, Association of Secondary School Principals, committees for Southern
Association Evaluation, W. G. Rhea Library Board, Rotary Club, both Trenton
and Paris Masonic Lodges, Henry County Sports Hall of Fame and Sunday School
teacher at Paris First United Methodist Church. He was an avid duck hunter, bird
hunter and fisherman.
In 1942, Underwood married Grace Nelle West of Puryear, TN, who survives.
They have four daughters: Judy Tyree (George Perry) of Ripley, TN; Linda Jenkins
(John) of Gainesville, FL; Mary Jane Ross (Redgy) and Amy Veazey (Stan), both
of Paris. Grandchildren are Georgianne Tyree, Mary Grace Reed, Martha Parker,
John Dale Ross, Emily Gamble, Nolan Poteete, Greg Poteete and eight greatgrandchildren.
John was preceded in death by his parents, his sister, Betty Jane Culumber and nephew, Woody Culumber.