Editor's note: Throughout the week, the Tyler Morning Telegraph will be sharing the memories of where East Texans were when they found out about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.



Joe Germany, a 75-year-old retired lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy who lives in Tyler with his wife Barbara, said he was in the Navy when the president was killed.

"I was on a minesweeper, USS ENGAGE (MSO-433).

"We had just completed a minesweeping exercise with the Canadian Navy. We were traveling the inland waterway and had stopped at the Hudson Bay Trading Post. I heard the announcement over the radio. The Canadian Navy quickly setup a memorial service for the crews of the four American minesweepers in our group. Very touching."

Kenneth Dean



Retired Maj. Gen. John Furlow's father had just retired from the military and his family was living in Killeen, he said. His dad was one of the district managers for delivery of the now-closed San Antonio Light newspaper.

"The shooting took place while I was in school but once I got out my father told me and I watched and read intently for the next few days as I delivered the San Antonio Light — I had just turned 8 years old," he said.

Additionally, Furlow's father-in-law was a Dallas police officer who had called in to guard Oswald his first night in jail.

"As a result, I have been a Kennedy assassination researcher ever since," Furlow said.

Dayna Worchel



Sam Hopkins, a retired U.S. Army chaplain and retired psychologist from state hospitals and state prisons, was teaching math in Terrell when the news came on the classroom speaker.

"I remember some students cheered. There were some people who were greatly opposed to Kennedy," Hopkins said.

The 74-year-old was also a pastor at the time, and had a memorial service for the president. Hopkins said he thought it had to be "one of the most moving services I had ever been part of."

"We were put into an emotional crisis that I consider probably the most important event that's occurred in my lifetime that's probably changed American history," he said.

There have been other things, such as the falling of the Berlin Wall and the rise of the computer, he said, but Kennedy's assassination did not have to happen.

Hopkins' wife, who was his fiancée at the time, was working as a secretary at First National Bank on Main Street in Dallas.

Hopkins said she waved at the president minutes before he was shot.

Kelly Gooch



"I was a college freshmen sitting in my dorm room at McGill University in Montreal when the news flashed. Those were days before everyone had a TV or a radio in their dorm rooms. There were several hundred other Americans at McGill. The Student Association worked with the registrar and then organized teams to see to it that every American was given the news and to express the condolences of the university, the student body and the Canadian people," the Flint man said.

Faith Harper



Shirley McKellar, 66, an Army veteran, and candidate for U.S. Congress, said, "I was in my government class my sophomore year at Emmett Scott High School. My teacher was Mr. Anderson, the smartest government educator I have ever met.

"He provided comfort to us — and then gave us a history lesson to be remembered for life. There was really no more actual class that day. It was all history lessons; how appropriate was that for what was transpiring in America."

Coshandra Dillard



Lea Thomas is a Tyler resident who participates regularly at the Tyler Senior Center. She was teaching a class of second-graders at Griffin Elementary in Tyler the time that President Kennedy was shot.

"The principal came over the intercom and said he'd been shot. In the next few minutes he came over the intercom again and said he'd died. I started to cry. All my children, my students, started to cry, too — at that age, they do what the teacher does. One of my students came back later and remembered the whole class crying."

— Rebecca Hoeffner



"I was working as an engineer in Dallas in the Brook Hollow Industrial District off Stemsons Freeway," the Rusk man said. "We piped in music, and I was in one of the labs doing some prototype work when it came on over the speaker that the president had been shot. I (misunderstood and) thought someone had tried to spit on him, but in a few minutes I saw a few of the other engineers in the hallway, and that's when I found out the president had been shot. I had to ride by the hospital that afternoon, and by then we knew he was deceased."

Faith Harper



Glenn Bourque, 62, was in junior high in Denaham Spring, La., when President Kennedy was shot.

"There was an announcement over the loudspeaker, then they let school out," he said. "That's the part I liked. I didn't really understand who he was at that time."

— Rebecca Hoeffner



Don Blevins, 75, watched the news about Kennedy being shot in a grocery store in Tyler that is now closed.

"I lived in Springfield, Ill., at the time; I was visiting Tyler when he was killed. I had seen him just a few weeks before in Illinois."

— Rebecca Hoeffner



James Brady, owner of Brady's Coffeeshop in Tyler, was in second grade when Kennedy was killed.

"I remember people telling us, but I didn't understand the importance of it until I got home and saw my grandmother upset. That's when I realized how big it was."

— Rebecca Hoeffner




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