JFK Assassination: Officer J.D. Tippit’s Widow Recalls His Last Day

As the nation commemorates the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK on November 22, another family recalls the tragic day as a personal loss.

An often forgotten hero of that day, Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit was shot and killed after he tried to stop accused killer, Lee Harvey Oswald, as he walked the streets after allegedly shooting the President.

Tippit stopped to question Oswald, and when he got out of his patrol car, he was gunned down.

At the time of JFK’s assassination, Tippit was 39-years-old and had been married to his wife Marie for 17-years. The couple had three young children.

Marie Tippit, now 85, will be attending the commemorations of JFK’s assassination in Dallas this coming Friday. She recently spoke to the Los Angeles Times about the day that changed her life forever.

Mrs. Tippit said her sister-in-law called asking her if she had heard from her husband after her brother-in-law, who was also a police officer, heard the news over the radio.

She called the police department and found out her husband had been killed.

The 85-year-old great-grandmother recalls that it was a busy day because of Kennedy’s visit, but her husband came home for lunch and had a sandwich.

The widow mentioned the calls and letters she received following her husband’s death:

“Robert Kennedy called the following day. He called to express his sympathy toward me, and said if Jack had not come to Dallas, my husband would still be alive, and I agreed. And he said they were both doing their jobs.”

“Jackie wrote a letter and sent a photo of her family. She said she had lit a flame for Jack and that it would burn forever and it would burn for my husband, too. I thought it was so thoughtful and considerate of her to do that.”

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When asked how she would like Officer J.D. Tippit to be remembered, his widow said:

“He was a Christian man. He went to church with the family; we prayed together. He was a good police officer. He loved his children, and I always knew that I was loved. Had he not talked to Oswald as a suspicious person and Oswald shot him, he probably would have gotten away. He was killed just doing his job.”

The murder of J.D. Tippit led Dallas police on the chase that ended with the apprehension of Lee Harvey Oswald at the Texas Theater.

Mrs. Tippit says she will hold a candlelight vigil on the anniversary of JFK’s assassination in honor of her husband and hopes people honor those who put their lives on the line everyday to serve and protect their communities.