A lady who has given many hours to Salem Days is Lorraine Underwood. Lorraine was born in her parent’s home in Payson, Utah on March 30, 1935. She just turned 81. Her parents were Byron and Edna Hill Gale. She was the second child born to them; the first was a baby boy who only lived for 4 hours. She has one other brother and two sisters. She was named Jennie Lorraine after her Grandmother Gale and Grandmother Hill.
When she was a 16-year-old teenager, Lorraine dated a cute boy from Salem. They went on a “triple date” one evening in her date’s 2-door Chevy car. That’s when she met Don who was with a girl from Payson that she knew. Later that summer he asked Lorraine out but she declined as she wasn’t interested. He kept coming back and a year later, July 18, 1952, they were married. They were sealed together with their 3-year-old daughter, 18 month-old son and 9-month-old baby girl, in the Salt Lake Temple on September 21, 1956. They are the parents of 4 boys and 2 girls: Judy (Richard) Brunson, Salem; Terry Underwood, Spanish Fork; DeeAnn (Bruce) Johnson, Spanish Fork; Scott Underwood, Spanish Fork; Andrew (Cristal), Girard, Pennsylvania; and Jason (Stacy) Underwood, Orem. They have 20 grandchildren and 26 great grandchildren with 3 more on the way.
When they were first married they lived in Grandpa and Grandma Underwood’s basement (Don’s parents, Charles and Hazel). Their first four children were born during the 9 years they lived there. Lorraine remembers learning to cook on a wood and coal kitchen range in that tiny basement apartment. She also recalls the “outhouse” at Grandma Underwood’s. In 1962-63, Don as able to build their existing home next door. A wonderful dream come true.
Lorraine belonged to the Utah Association of Women. They honored the traditional family by choosing different families each year for The Family of The Year Award. In 1983 she approached Mayor Harry Davis about creating a Family of the Year Award here in Salem. Cal and Kate Sheen and family were the first family chosen. The following year the award went to Jack and Helen Davis, with their 3 children and many foster children. In 1985, Gus and Lois Black and family were honored. The next year Lorraine nominated Gus and Lois’ family to the State Organization and they were chosen as Family of The Year for the State of Utah. Lorraine served on the Family of The Year Committee for Salem for 10 years and once again, for the past 4 years, she has helped this committee. She has helped with and participated in many Salem Day pageants. Don and Lorraine helped with the Salem Days breakfast for 8 years. Don helped build the foundation for the first section of the Library and served on the Library Board. He served on the Salem City Council from 1986 to 1994. When Don was on the City Council, Mayor Randy Brailsford asked them to begin the Salem Days Family Fireside. They chaired this event for 9 years. The first speaker they invited was LaVel and Pat Edwards. Others have been Paul Dunn and Bob Welty, who was Channel 5’s Weatherman.
Don provided for his family first working at the Illinois Powder Plant at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon. He then went to school and studied electronics. He worked for Haws Television Repair in Payson. In 1965 he began his career at Utah Valley Hospital. It was during the expansion of the hospital complex that he became the Director of the Engineering Department. He retired in 1995 after 30 years of service in the IHC Hospital system. Don passed away February 26, 2004. There were able to celebrate 51 years of marriage. Lorraine’s talents include writing, singing (with the Spanish Fork Senior Choir and Ward Choir) and Wood Burning. She is a member of the Salem Camp of the Daughter’s of the Utah Pioneers.
Lorraine is active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints having served in several callings. She loves being a Visiting Teacher most of all. She and Don served in the Provo Temple, a two-year Stake Mission, and a two-year Service Mission at the Employment Resource Center. They were also home teaching companions to elderly widows.
After Don’s passing, Lorraine served in the Recorder’s Office at the Provo LDS Temple for 9 years. She is currently serving in the Payson LDS Temple Recorder’s Office.
Lorraine said she doesn’t like asparagus, horseradish, or liver and onions. She loves chocolate and comfort food – home cooking learned from her mother. What she didn’t learn from her Mom, “Grandma Underwood” taught her. She is appreciative of the older sisters of the old Salem 1st Ward who taught her many things and was another Mom and Grandmother to her.
Speaking of Salem, Lorraine said it is still a small town with a big heart. She loves the volunteerism and kindness of the people. Lorraine said there are a lot of challenges in this life but the blessings outnumber the challenges, and even though she does everything in slow motion now, each new day is a gift. Her greatest blessing is her family.
Lorraine, thank you for your contributions to the citizens of Salem.