Valley residents recall how they got the news


Fifty years ago, before the advent of social media, people learned their president had been killed by listening to the radio, watching television or person-to person communication.

Several area residents tell how they got the news.

Barbara “Gehrlein” Mackey

Now 75, the Howland resident was 25, a senior typist in the sales department at The Halsey W. Taylor Co. in Warren, when the sales manager, who had a radio in his office, came in and said:

“Girls, President Kennedy has been shot.” A short time later he returned and said: “Girls, President Kennedy has died.”

Quote: “We were in shock. November 22, 1963, is a date I don’t forget. I felt like an arrow pierced my heart. The company gave the day off to everybody in the office and the plant who wanted to watch the funeral on television.

JoAnn “Danridge” Blunt

Blunt, then 24, now 74, was living on Youngstown’s North Side watching television, “probably a soap opera,” when the program was interrupted and it was broadcast that President Kennedy had been shot, and shortly thereafter, that he had died.

Blunt, a registered nurse who worked at Glenwood Nursing Home, owned by her family, is a member of the Youngstown City District Board of Health.

Quote: “It was a shock. I probably called my mother. I know I had on a green outfit and I was holding and feeding my baby, Leigh Greene-Colvin.”

Brenda “Tenney” Polas

Now 65, she was a 15-year-old sophomore at Austintown Fitch High School in the hallway changing classes when JFK’s assassination was announced over the public address (PA) system.

Polas, an Air Force veteran and now a Campbell resident, is an investigator and undergoing service officer training at the Mahoning County Veterans Service.

Quote: “My personal reaction was shock and disbelief ... some people were crying. At first, some thought why are they making that announcement, and wondered if it was a prank. It was unsettling. A lot of us wondered what is going to happen now.”

Source: The Vindicator.

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