Sunday, May 26, 2013

John T. Underwood

John and his wife Jean
Photo courtesy of the Underwood family collection

John Thomas Underwood was born a twin on March 30, 1919, in Seoul, Korea.  His parents were Horace H. and Ethel Underwood.  John attended Seoul Foreign School and graduated in June 1937.  He earned a Bachelor's Degree from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, and graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1945.  

When John T. Underwood was ordained on March 1, 1944, the event was a triple ordination.  Three members of the same family were ordained as Presbyterian Ministers at the same time, John T., his father Horace H. and his brother James H.  This unusual event was covered in TIME magazine. 

After spending a year studying the Korean language at Yale University, John left for Korea on October 19, 1947.  He spent many years doing missionary work until the Korean war when he was involved with relief and refugee work.  John T. Underwood married Jean Welch on Septetmber 1954.  Jean was also a Presbyterian Church Missionary.

John continued working as a missionary until his retirement in 1989.   He and Jean left Korea in 1993 after Jean’s retirement.  He  passed away on March 22, 1994 at the age of 74 and is remembered for his dedication to Presbyterian missionary and the training of pastors for the church of Korea.   His memorial stone is at the Foreigners Cemetery, Yanghwajin, Hapjeong-dong, Seoul.

존 토마스 언더우드
존 토마스 언더우드는 1919330일 서울에서 쌍둥이로 태어났습니다. 존의 부모님은 호레이스 H 언더우드와 에델 언더우드였습니다. 존은 서울외국인학교를 다녔고 19376월 졸업했습니다. 존은 뉴욕 클링턴시 소재 해밀턴칼리지에서 학부를 마치고 1945년 프린스턴 신학대학을 졸업했습니다.
존은 19443 1일 특별하게도 아버지이신 호레이스 H 와 동생 제임스 H와 함께 장로교 목사안수를 받게됩니다. 이 특별한 사건은 타임지에 취재되기도 했습니다.
예일대학교에서 1년 동안 한국어공부를 마치고 난 뒤 존은 19471019일 한국으로 오게 되었습니다. 그는 선교활동을 하다가 한국전쟁 당시 피난민 구조활동을 하기도 했습니다.  존은 1954년 진 웰치와 결혼 했습니다. 진 또한 장로교 선교사 였습니다.
존은 1989년 퇴직시까지 선교활동을 했고 1994년 아내 진이 퇴직을 한 다음 한국을 떠나게 됐습니다. 그는 1994 32274세의 나이로 인생을 마감하게 됐습니다. 그는 장로교 선교활동과 목사교육에 헌정으로 많은 사람의 마음에 기억되고 있습니다. 그의 기념비는 서울 합정동 양화진 외국인 묘지에 있습니다.

Hall.  Yonsei Underwood Family. "John Underwood. "Http:// bf14.html. N.P.,2003.  Web. 2013.


  1. This wonderful man helped my mother by not only giving her a job in his house, but taught her English. This opened so many opportunities for her to better her life and eventually she found a job on an American army post, where she met my father. They fell in love and married and he brought her to America and raised 5 daughters. She had the highest regard for John and his family and my family will be forever grateful to the Underwoods. God bless them all!

  2. It's so wonderful to hear stories like this. Thanks for sharing your story!