New Castle News

November 22, 2013

Where Were You? Citizens recall the day JFK was shot

Mary Grzebieniak
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Where were you when John F. Kennedy was assassinated?

Most people aged 60 and older remember where they were when the terrible news came across that fateful day in 1963.

 Cynthia James of New Castle was at George Washington Junior High School when all the students were unexpectedly told to report to their homerooms. There they were informed over a loudspeaker that the president had been assassinated.

“We were all in shock,” she recalled. “Our homeroom teacher asked us to be calm.”

As the grim aftermath unfolded over the next few days, she said, “I watched TV a lot.”

Jim Conway of New Castle remembers watching it unfold on TV in the days following the assassination. He said he was shocked when he saw officials moving Lee Harvey Oswald with little security. He told his wife that it was “stupid” to move him under those circumstances, he said. “And then Jack Ruby came out and shot him.”

Frank Bloise was working the afternoon shift at Rockwell International when word spread among employees that the president had been killed.

“They all felt bad. It was really sad,” he said.

Carol Robertson of New Wilmington said she was leaving from a doctor’s visit when she turned on the radio and heard the news. She recalled “I stayed glued to the TV all week.”

Betty Berkebile of New Castle said school let school out early that day, but the students didn’t know why until they heard about the assassination on the bus from the driver’s transistor radio, a rarity at the time. After that, “you could have heard a pin drop,” she said.

Gladys Greeley of New Castle was working in the kitchen of a hotel restaurant in Potter County when she heard the news on her radio. She said she went to tell the boss, who accused her of lying.

Art Towne was at work when he heard the news of the assassination. And he remembers being in a car on the turnpike with his parents when he heard that Ruby had shot Oswald.

Carol Malizia of New Castle said she took the news especially hard because she was a “Kennedy girl,” having campaigned for him when he came through New Castle on a train. She was working at Liberty Mutual when she heard the news and said the atmosphere at the insurance company was one of shock and horror after the news. “We all left,” she said.

This week many people will be revisiting their memories and having a hard time believing that 50 years has passed since that dark day in Dallas.

(Email: grzebieniak@ncnewsonline.com)