WV Pays Tribute To Two-Term Gov. Underwood

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Charleston, W.Va. (AP) -- Former Governor Cecil Underwood was remembered Monday not just as a politician, but as a warm and loving father and grandfather.

Underwood's family and friends gathered at Christ Church United Methodist in Charleston to pay tribute to the man who holds the unique position of being both the state's youngest and oldest governor.

Underwood died last week at 86.

His son Craig Underwood remembered once thinking his father was finished in politics after a string of electoral defeats in the 1960s.

Craig Underwood said the fact that his father was elected governor again in 1996 shows the value of perseverance.

Underwood's family and friends told funny stories, and one of his daughters, Cecilia Baker, performed an interpretive dance in his memory.

State Republican and Democratic leaders alike came to pay tribute as well.

Governor Joe Manchin recalled Underwood's sense of humor on the campaign trail, and said the state has lost one of its favorite sons.

Instead of burial or cremation, Underwood asked that his body be donated to the medical school at Marshall University.

(Copyright 2008 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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