The funeral of John Underdown was held at Slough Crematorium on Tuesday, 14th December, 2004 at 12.30.
The funeral was very well attended with every possible seat and standing place taken. As well as family and friends members of the Old Wellingtonian, Herschel, and other lodges were present at what was a solemn, moving, and Masonic celebration of John’s life.
After the opening hymn, “Praise my Soul the King of Heaven”, John’s son-in-law Robert Males gave an excellent eulogy. This was followed by his grandchildren Mikala and Liam who read a poem entitled simply “to Grandad”. Clearly distraught by the passing of their grandfather they read clearly but tearfully, and in turn brought tears to the eyes of many of those present. The Masonic closing ode was sung, and the priest ended with a solemn prayer in which he took as his central theme the immortal mansions of the Grand Lodge above.
John’s coffin bore a beautiful flower arrangement from his wife Pauline and the family, and the Hershel Master’s collar, which was removed by his grandchildren and entrusted to his son Nigel to be returned to Herschel Lodge. Nigel bid farewell to his father with the salute of an Installed Master.
The craft was very well represented as befitted a man of John’s standing, but more importantly as a friend to so many people. 7 members of the Old Wellingtonian Lodge were present, including John’s good friends Hew Dunn and his wife, and Tom Edwards also with his wife. Also present and representing the Lodge were James Milne, Nigel Birch, Bill Green, a Past-Master and Tom Hawley. All those present commented on how many friends and brethren had called in the days running up to the funeral to express their sorrow for John’s passing and regret at being unable to attend without detriment. Hew Dunn and his wife had arranged for a wreath to be sent on behalf of the Old Wellingtonian Lodge, in the yellow, orange and blue colours of College.
Family and friends were invited afterwards to Slough Masonic Centre where a fine spread awaited and there was an opportunity to pass on both individual condolences to Pauline, Nigel and the family, and those of the Lodge as a whole. The lunch provided an excellent opportunity to meet many of John’s family and friends and share some wonderful and humorous recollections of John’s varied life, as a man and a Mason.
He will be sorely missed by all.