Today marks the 50th anniversary of the day President John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas, Texas on Friday, Nov. 22, 1963.
Appanoose County Supervisor Dean Kaster, of Moravia, said he can remember exactly where he was and what he was doing the day JFK was shot.
“I was working for the Centerville Iowegian in the composing room putting the front page together,” Kaster said. “And the guy that worked in the advertising department came up the stairs and he said, ‘President Kennedy has been shot.’ And I said, What? And he said, ‘Yes.’”
The man in advertising was Gary Pfannebecker, who pointed to his head when Kaster, then 29 years old and looking forward to a career in journalism, asked him how bad it was and if the president was still alive.
The terrible news JFK was killed was confirmed by Charles DePuy, a writer for the Daily Iowegian, who told Kaster to stop what he was doing because they were going to have to lay out a new front page.
“So I remember very, very well where I was at and what I was doing,” Kaster said. “So I thought it was kind of interesting where I was working and what I was doing at the time. And I remembered that for a long, long time.”
The publisher at the time was Bob Beck.
Virginia Padovan, of Centerville, recalled that she had just finished eating lunch at Burlington Community High School, where she worked as a counselor and had returned to her office when an announcement came over the P.A. system that the president had been shot.
“I went right back to the cafeteria and told the other teachers who were still eating there,” said Padovan. “It certainly brought sadness to us all.”
Some schools cancelled classes for the afternoon, but the principal at Burlington decided to keep school in session. He just asked that everybody be respectful to each other. As the day passed, they learned that the president had passed away.
“It was just unbelievable that something like that would happen,” said Padovan. “It was a very sad afternoon for teachers and students. It’s still sad. I cannot believe 50 years have gone by.”
When asked to recall how he found out that President Kennedy had been shot, Bob Greene, of Centerville, said that he was driving when he heard the news on the radio. Greene was returning home from a job in Cameron, Mo. that had been rained out when the news came across the radio.
At that time, the news was still brand new and not much was known, except that the president had been shot in Dallas. Greene stopped in Bethany, Mo. at a small restaurant and told the people inside what had happened.
“People didn’t believe until they turned on the TV,” said Greene.
There wasn’t much information available at that time, but the news was reporting that Kennedy had been taken to a Dallas hospital. Greene said he only stayed in Bethany for 5-10 minutes before continuing on towards Centerville. It took him about an hour to get home and by then the story had spread.
“We lost a good man that day,” said Greene.