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Mary Spann Underwood

Mary Spann Underwood 1

Mary Louise Swanson Spann Underwood, aged 95, passed away 3/13/2021 in Little Rock, AR. She was born 1/13/1926 in a small sawmill town, Hicksbaugh, Texas, to Annie Will Robertson Swanson and Benjamin Franklin Swanson. Mary instilled in her children a love of nature. She loved bird watching, hiking, camping, and nature photography. Mary was active in the Sierra Club and a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church.

She is survived by her children Henry Thompson Spann, Jr., and his wife Sue, Nita Margaret Spann, and Anna Spann Moses, and her husband James; her grandchildren Kate Moses, Valerie Lidona, Annette Spann Barton and her husband Bradley, and Anthony Spann; her great-grandchildren Blake, Brigham, and Bryce Barton; her nephews John Swanson and his wife Pat, William Casey Swanson, and Scott Swanson and his wife Betsy; and her niece Fran Swanson Sestak.

She is preceded in death by her parents, her five siblings–Clara Head, John Riley Swanson, Margaret Risinger, Frank J. Swanson, and William Swanson–and her nephew Don Spann Cogswell. She was also preceded in death by her first husband Henry Thompson Spann, Sr., and her second husband Howard Underwood.

Mary attended high school in Crockett, Texas, and graduated from Texas Woman’s University during World War II. She worked as a draftsman, a job reserved for men. When the war was over, the men reclaimed their jobs. Mary then began her career as a teacher. Her first position was at Logansport High School, but her career was spent at Stanley High School teaching math and science until retirement.

Mary lived the last few years of her life at Fox Ridge Little Rock. Many thanks to the wonderful staff there who made this time special and enriched her life greatly.

Graveside services for Mary Louise Swanson Spann Underwood will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, March 18, 2021 at Evergreen Memorial Park, James Moses officiating.

Due to Covid-19, we ask that everyone bring and wear their own mask while attending services.

Online condolences may be made at


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