CAPE GIRARDEAU -- Nelda Frances Underwood Simpson, 87, of Cape Girardeau, Missouri died Monday, March 18, 2019 at Saint Francis Medical Center.

She was the oldest of seven children, born Dec. 28, 1931 in Stoddard County, Missouri to John Milford and Hallie Frances Gillespie Underwood.

She and Thomas Wilbur Simpson were married Aug. 8, 1953 at Bloomfield, Missouri. He preceded her in death on March 22, 2018.

She graduated as Valedictorian from Bloomfield High School in 1948. She graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 1954, Magna Cum Laude.

She moved to St. Louis, Missouri after college then to Mt. Carmel.

She taught for three years in a rural one-room school in Southeast Missouri, three years in Webster Groves, Missouri and as a substitute teacher for 11 years in Southern Illinois.

While in Mt. Carmel she was a member of First Christian Church, serving in several offices. She was named one of the 20 outstanding women nationwide in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in 2002.

She was a member of PEO Sisterhood, Girl Scout leader and 4-H leader for many years. She served for six years as President of Shagbark Girl Scout Council in Southern Illinois.

She is survived by two daughters, Judith Divan of San Juan Capistrano, California and Jane (Ralph) Smith of Smyrna, Tennessee; one son-in-law, David Vandenberg of Murrieta, California; four brothers, James W. Underwood of Columbia, Missouri, Dennis D. Underwood of Cape Girardeau, Doyle R. Underwood of Saint Louis, Missouri and Brian C. Underwood of Saint Louis, Missouri; sister, Alice C. Kofman of Leominster, Massachusetts; four grandchildren, Paul E. (Jennifer) Divan of Des Moines, Iowa, Nicholas J. (Jennifer) Divan of Saint Louis, Missouri, Benjamin D. (Shelley Bryant) Smith of Portland, Oregon and Jillian S. Smith of Saint Louis, Missouri; one great-grandchild, Theo Bryant Smith of Portland, Oregon; four step-grandchildren, Bastiaan (Alyssa) Vandenberg, Virginia Vandenberg, Nathaniel Vandenberg and Arie Vandenberg all of California.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband; one daughter, Jari Annette Simpson Vandenberg; and one brother, John M. Underwood.

Visitation will be held 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm on Saturday, March 30, 2019 at Abbey Road Christian Church in Cape Girardeau.

Memorial service will follow at 2 p.m. Saturday at the church with the Rev. Doug Job officiating.

Private inurnment will be at Missouri Veterans Cemetery in Bloomfield at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be given to Girl Scouts of America at girlscouts.org/en/adults/donate.html.

Online condolences may be made at www.fordandsonsfuneralhome.com.

Ford & Sons Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

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