Vernon O. Underwood Sr., chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Hollywood Park for 13 years and head of Young's Market Co., has died.
Underwood, 83, died Monday of a heart attack at the Los Angeles Country Club, according to a spokesman for his company.
First elected to the board of directors of the Hollywood Turf Club in 1952, Underwood became head of the horse-racing complex in 1972. After he retired under doctor's orders in 1985, he was named to the newly created position of chairman emeritus.
Born in Egan, S.D., Underwood joined Young's as a salesman in 1935. Marrying the boss' daughter, Adrienne Young, he rose through the ranks of the Los Angeles-based wholesaler of wines and spirits which was founded in 1888.
Underwood became general manager and chief financial officer of the company in 1953, president in 1963, and chairman of the board, treasurer and chief executive officer in 1974. When he retired in 1988, he was named chairman emeritus.
In addition to his wife, Underwood is survived by a son, Vernon O. Underwood Jr.; a daughter, Janet Underwood Smith; a sister, Ruth Naughton, four grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
The family has asked that any memorial contributions be made to the Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA.