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Dorothy Ruth Kaempfe Underwood, 87, passed away peacefully in her home Wednesday, July 21, 2010.
She was born Dec. 17, 1922, in Cape Girardeau, the youngest of nine children of Frieda Emma Veronica Burfeind and Carl Johann Kaempfe.
She was preceded in death by her parents; siblings; her husband, Ferrel Eugene Underwood; and an infant son, Hal Gregory Underwood.
She is survived by her children, Rel, Craig, Jeff (Melinda), Crystal Sims (John), and Dorothy Smith (Stan); seven grandchildren, April Smitherman (Mark), Erin Underwood (Craig Ceravolo), Aubrey Underwood, Anna and Maria Underwood, and Kate and Julia Venable; four great-grandchildren, Alexa and Jackson Smitherman, Frances and Veda Ceravolo; beloved nieces and nephews of the Strong, Braun, Kurre and Glawe families, originally of Cape Girardeau and Cleveland, Ohio.
Her family thanks her special caregiver, Ida Prentice, and Dan Dahl for their tender care.
She truly was a "gift of God," as the name "Dorothy" means.
Dorothy was baptized, confirmed and married at Trinity Lutheran Church in Cape Girardeau; the Rev. F.H. Melzer officiated. She attended Trinity Lutheran School in Cape Girardeau eight years. She was valedictorian of the 1940 class at Central High School. In her high school yearbook she was described as "the best the world has to offer."
Dorothy became a registered nurse upon her graduation from DePaul Hospital School of Nursing in St. Louis in 1945. After nurses training she lived in Albuquerque, N.M., Phoenix, Birmingham, Ala., and Monroe, La.
She had been a member of Shades Valley Lutheran Church since 1963. Dorothy was a talented painter, poet and writer who was known for her unique sense of humor. Her church family looked forward to seeing her pretty hats on Sunday mornings.
She was active in many organizations, including the following: Eleanor Hord Literary Club, Antiques and Allied Arts Association, Birmingham Opera Guild, Alabama Symphony Volunteer Council, Guild-Birmingham Music Club, Alabama State Poetry Society and Red Hat Society.
Her interests were not limited to the arts. She was an avid St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan, an excellent softball player for the Moons of the Cape Girardeau City League, and an accomplished tennis player.
The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at Ridout's Valley Chapel, 1800 Oxmoor Road, Homewood, Ala.
The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at Shades Valley Lutheran Church. Burial will be in Jefferson Memorial Gardens on Highway 150 in Hoover, Ala. Dan Dahl will officiate.
Memorials honoring Mrs. Dorothy Ruth Kaempfe Underwood may be directed to Shades Valley Lutheran Church, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation or to Lakeshore Foundation.