On Nov. 22, 1963, ambulance driver Aubrey Rike and his assistant, Dennis “Peanuts” McGuire, just happened to be on a call at Parkland Memorial Hospital when President John F. Kennedy was brought in.
“They brought in a priest to do last rites and there wasn’t anybody in there but your daddy, Peanuts, Mrs. Kennedy and the priest,” recounts Aubrey’s widow, Glenda, in a visit to StoryCorps with her son Larry.
“And then Mrs. Kennedy took off her wedding ring and tried to put it on President Kennedy’s finger, but it wouldn’t go,” Glenda continues. “So when he saw what she was trying to do, he helped her and she thanked him.”
After the president was pronounced dead, Aubrey and McGuire were asked to get his body ready to leave the hospital. “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,” Glenda says. “She told the agent, ‘Leave the young man alone.’ ”
Aubrey was very sad for Mrs. Kennedy, knowing “she was going to be alone, other than her two small children,” Glenda says. “Sometimes he could talk about it day and night. And then other times, he couldn’t. It was unbelievable that something like that happened, and he was part of it.”
Audio produced for Morning Edition by Jasmyn Belcher.