Scotland County school board member James Underwood Jr. died suddenly today.
The cause of death is unclear, but friends believe Underwood had a heart attack. He was the recipient of a heart transplant.
"The Scotland County Schools' family is shocked and deeply saddened by Mr. Underwood's sudden passing," Superintendent Rick Stout said in statement. "Mr. Underwood was a tireless advocate for students in Scotland County and an asset to our community. He will be greatly missed."
Underwood was elected to the Scotland County Board of Education in 2010. He had campaigned as an advocate for children.
He was the assistant pastor at Galilee United Methodist Church in Laurinburg.
He was formerly employed with Scotland County Schools as a school counselor. During that time, he directed the Peer Mediation Program, Top Scots, and Advancement via Individual Determination, a college preparatory program focusing on the underrepresented and middle achieving student.
Underwood held a degree sociology and a master’s degree in school counseling from North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina. He had done post graduate studies at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
A native of Laurinburg, Underwood was the son of James Underwood Sr. and the late Betty Rainer Underwood.
He is survived by his wife Felicia Hall Underwood and two sons.