FORT WORTH -- President John F. Kennedy spent 12 hours in Fort Worth. It would be the last night of his life.
But Lee Oswald spent nine years in Benbrook and Fort Worth. He still lies here.
More than a half-century after Kennedy was assassinated on Dallas’ Elm Street, the memory of both men is very much alive in Fort Worth, where an aging generation saw Kennedy’s spirited visit Nov. 21-22, 1963 and then whispered about their brawling school classmate who killed him.
“Fort Worth was as close to a home as he ever had,” said Stephen Fagin, curator of the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, the museum built around Oswald’s sniper’s perch.
“Benbrook is where we first see this pattern emerge of an emotionally disturbed little boy. And when he comes home years later [from the Soviet Union], Fort Worth is where we first see him being abusive to his wife.”
Oswald went to grade school here, and briefly, high school. He later worked at a welding company near downtown and lived with his Russian wife, Marina, and 6-month-old daughter, June, on Mercedes Avenue near today’s Montgomery Plaza. (The duplex was demolished in a 2000 tornado.)
A year after they moved to Dallas, the murdered Oswald came home late one night in a hearse to a funeral home in the busy Ridglea neighborhood, and lay there overnight awaiting a lonely graveside funeral in what is today Shannon Rose Hill Cemetery on East Lancaster Avenue.
“My dad came back with Oswald’s body, and told me to get to bed,” said Richard Miller, son of the family that owned Miller Funeral Home, no longer standing at 5805 Camp Bowie Blvd.
“He said, ‘You don’t realize it. But you’re part of history.’"
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