On November 22, 1963, Aubrey Rike and Dennis “Peanuts” McGuire were among the few present when President John F. Kennedy received his last rites.
Aubrey and Peanuts were ambulance drivers in Dallas. Responding to a call, they found themselves at Parkland Hospital just as the President arrived.
Both men have passed away, but Aubrey’s wife, Glenda Rike, and son, Larry Rike, sat down to tell his story.
Click here for the transcript.
Larry Rike (LR): And while they were working on the President in Trauma Room One, Mrs. Kennedy was outside, right?
GR: Yes. Your dad sat right across the hall from her. And she asked him if he would give her a cigarette. Well, he had smoked his last one, but there were cigarette machines all over the place. So he went and got a pack and handed her a cigarette.
And when President Kennedy was pronounced dead, they asked your daddy and Peanuts to get his body ready to leave the hospital. A priest came in to do last rites and there wasn't anybody in the room but your daddy, Peanuts, Mrs. Kennedy and the priest.
And then Mrs. Kennedy took off her wedding ring and tried to put it on President Kennedy's finger, but it wouldn't go. So when he saw what she was trying to do, he helped her and she thanked him.
They had brought in a casket and a hearse. And your daddy took Mrs. Kennedy's arm to help her get in the hearse and the Secret Service knocked his arm down. But she told the agent, "Leave the young man alone."
Larry Rike (LR): What's your most vivid memory of that day?
GR: I received a phone call from a CIA or FBI agent and he said, "We have your husband," and he hung up the phone. I didn't know what was going on until your dad picked me up from work and then we were up almost all night, him telling me what all happened.
LR: As he got older, how do you think it affected him?
GR: Sometimes he could talk about it day and night. And then other times he couldn't. He said he felt very sad for her knowing, you know, she was alone. She was going to be alone other than her two small children. I just--It, it was unbelievable that something like that happened, and he was part of it.