homepage logo


Underwoods donate to Ringsted Public Library

By Staff | Nov 5, 2009

RINGSTED – When you have fond memories of the town in which you grew up, they stay with you forever.

That was what Chuck and Ray Underwood and their nephew Jerry and Ray’s son Roger said when they presented a check for $1,000 to Ringsted Public Librarian Chris Struecker Tuesday morning. The money was matched by local citizens who had bettered a match challenge to raise another $1,000 by raising over $1,500.

The Underwoods’ lifelong connection to Ringsted was largely due to their mother, Dorothy Underwood, who taught and served as principal in the Ringsted school system in the 1940s. Dorothy’s husband, Phil, managed the elevator. They raised their five sons and a daughter in Ringsted.

Patriotism ran deep among the Underwoods. All five served in the military and Warren was captured in the Battle of Bulge and was a POW through the rest of the war.

“We are who we are to a great extent by the fact that we grew up in Ringsted,” said Ray, who now lives in Atlantic. Chuck lives in Waukee while Roger and Jerry hail from Ames and the Twin Cities, respectively.

Ray said the Underwoods were in Ringsted to honor their mother.

Ray “spilled the beans” and said it was Roger, his son, who a few years ago put up the money for the gazebo in Ringsted park in the memory of his sister, Jackie Underwood, who died at age 42 about 13 years ago.

Struecker thanked the Underwoods for their generosity and said the money will be used to buy two more computers for the library.

Roger shared some humorous moments as well.

“Every time I come back I hear another story about the Underwood boys,” Roger said. “And what the Underwood boys thought up the Jensen boys carried out.”

Chuck also shared some personal thoughts about Ringsted.

“The thing I think about is I’m coming home,” he said. “The dynamics we were blessed with in growing up in Ringsted – that does not prevail in Waukee. There’s an interesting mystique about living in a town like Ringsted. I’m like Ray and Roger. I’m privileged for growing up in a town like this.”

Jerry agreed.

“The values that come out of a small town are just not very prevalent in a large city,” he said.

Chuck recalled how his mother had graduated in 1915 from Cornell College, the first to grant a degree to a woman west of the Mississippi. He also recalled how the Underwood family had a reunion there in King’s Chapel, the same place where his mother had attended chapel for four years.

“That’s really missing today,” Chuck said. “That importance of the relationships that we have with each other.”