September 14, 2020
Kenneth A. Underwood, 91, of Glen Ridge, NJ passed away peacefully on June 16, 2020. A native of Glen Ridge, he lived his entire life there apart from his time at college and in the Navy. He was the son of the late Kenneth C. Underwood and Gertrude N. Underwood of Glen Ridge. Ken held a B.A. magna cum laude and M.F.A. in Architecture from Princeton University. During his academic career he won an NIAE award and was a finalist in the Paris Prize Competition.
Following graduate school, he served for three years (1953-1956) in the U.S. Navy Reserve, completing Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island, Navy Ground Operations Officer training in Pensacola, Florida and Intelligence School at the Naval Observatory in Washington, DC. He served as an Air Intelligence Officer attached first to the staff of Rear Admiral Charles Stanhope Ring and then to fighter squadron VF-193, where he served with Alan Shepard. He saw duty on three aircraft carriers in the Pacific Fleet: the USS Oriskany, USS Hornet and USS Boxer as our armed forces protected the DMZ between North and South Korea. He retired with the rank of Lieutenant.
Following his active service, he returned to Glen Ridge where he spent the rest of his life as an active member of the community. He was a charter member of the Glen Ridge Kiwanis Club, serving as its president in 1968, Young Republicans, Glen Ridge Borough Council, Chairman of the Glen Ridge Planning Board, Trustee of Mountainside Hospital, Trustee of Bonnie Brae Farm for Boys in Millington, President of the Newark and Suburban Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, member of the Princeton University Alumni Schools Committee, President of the Freeman Gardens Association and at the Glen Ridge Congregational Church as head of an ushering team and on that church’s Appropriations, Property and Personnel Committee.
In 1993 he was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects and also won the Herman C. Litwack Award for his service to the Newark and Suburban Chapter of the AIA. From 1974 to 1980 Ken served as member of the New Jersey State Board of Architects, as well as its vice president in 1976 and president in 1977. During this time he served the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards Intern Development Program Committee as they put the new IDP program in place to establish experience standards to be met by interns before they would be allowed to sit for their licensing examination. Following retirement he served on the Board of Trustees of his co-op and most recently as Treasurer.
His career began with Staab and Immen in Glen Ridge. In 1961 he sat for the four-day Architects’s Registration Examination and obtained his license that same year. He then worked for Moore and Hutchins in New York where he became an Associate, HLW in New York where he was an Associate, The Grad Partnership of Newark where he was an Associate Partner and finally as Director of Justice Facilities for the Vitetta Group of Philadelphia. His portfolio included a number of civic and institutional buildings such as the Pennsylvania Justice Center and the Goucher College Chapel as well as historic preservation projects such as the Krueger Mansion restoration in Newark and restoration of Richard Upjohn’s St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in West Orange.
He met his beloved wife Barbara after his Navy service and they married in 1959 settling in Glen Ridge. They remained deeply devoted to each other for 59 years until her death in 2018.
He is survived by his son, Kenneth C. Underwood of Glen Ridge, granddaughter, Elizabeth P. Underwood of Philadelphia and grandson, Garrett W. Underwood of Southern Pines, North Carolina.
A memorial service will be held at a future date yet to be determined.
If any colleagues wish to make a donation in Mr. Underwood’s name to the AIANJ Scholarship Foundation fund., checks can be sent to AIANJ care of Karen Reiser at 414 River View Plaza Trenton, NJ 08611-3420.
By Stacey Ruhle Kliesch, AIA, AIA NJ Advocacy Consultant | Posted in AIA Newark and Suburban, AIA-NJ News | Tagged: #AIAFellow, #AIANewarkandSuburban, #Architecture, #GlenRidgeNJ, #KennethAUnderwoodFAIA, #NJStateBoardofArchitects, #PrincetonUniversity, #USNavy, Architect | Comments (0)
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