Hovah Hall Underwood

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Hovah Hall Underwood
Born (1919-04-12)April 12, 1919
Grantsville, West Virginia
Died September 24, 2004(2004-09-24) (aged 85)
Charleston, West Virginia
Nationality American
Known for First lady of West Virginia, 1957–61 & 1997–2001

Hovah Hall Underwood (April 12, 1919 – September 24, 2004) was an American from West Virginia. She was a Methodist.[1][2] She was the wife of former Governor of West Virginia Cecil H. Underwood and served as that state's First Lady 1957-1961 and 1997-2001.


Hovah Hall Underwood was born on April 12, 1919, in Grantsville, West Virginia.[1][2] During her schooling, she became an accomplished musician, playing the piano and saxophone fluently and later giving private lessons. She graduated in 1937 from Grantsville High School.[2]

She graduated with an A.B. Degree from Salem College in Salem, West Virginia, and a Certificate in Social Work from West Virginia University.[1][2] Underwood went on to teach at Grantsville Grade School, later working at a defense plant during World War II before serving ten years as a child welfare employee.[1][2][2]

While at Salem College, she met her future husband, Cecil H. Underwood, through her two sisters when they were classmates.[2] They were wed on July 25, 1948, at Knotts Methodist Church in Grantsville.[2]

Underwood served as first lady to her husband who was Governor of West Virginia from 1957 until 1961 and from 1997 until 2001.[3][4] She supported and assisted with a variety of causes, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the Huntington Museum of Art, Marshall University Artist Series, the United Methodist Church Foundation, and America's Promise.[1][2] She was a member of various organizations, including Daughters of the American Revolution, Governor's Mansion Preservation Foundation, West Virginia Symphony League and the American Association of Social Workers.[1][2]

She died on September 24, 2004,[5][2] aged 85, from complications of a stroke.[6] Her body was donated to Marshall University's Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f White, Mary. "Hovah H. Underwood Children's Home". Children's Home Society of West Virginia. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Hova Underwood". Calhoun Chronicle. September 24, 2004. 
  3. ^ "Cecil Harland Underwood". West Virginia Archives and History. 2008. 
  4. ^ "West Virginia's First Ladies," West Virginia Division of Culture and History, June 2007.
  5. ^ Kabler, Phil (November 25, 2008). "Former Gov. Underwood dead". Charleston Gazette. Archived from the original on December 6, 2008. 
  6. ^ "West Virginia mourns Underwood". Herald-Dispatch. November 24, 2008. 
  7. ^ "W.Va. pays tribute to Underwood". Associated Press. December 1, 2008. 
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Valerie Allen Marland
First Lady of West Virginia
Succeeded by
Opal Wilcox Barron
Preceded by
Rachael Worby
First Lady of West Virginia
Succeeded by
Sandra Casber Wise