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Friday, May 29, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

City Expresses ‘Profound Shock’

Spokane Daily Chronicle front page on Nov. 22, 1963 (Spokesman-Review archives)
Spokane Daily Chronicle front page on Nov. 22, 1963 (Spokesman-Review archives)
By From The Spokesman-Review, Nov. 23, 1963

The assassination of President Kennedy brought deep shock and grief to people of Spokane Friday. Businessmen, secretaries, shoppers, students – people from all walks of life express sorrow and amazement.

“It still doesn’t seem possible,” said Mrs. Jack R. Stanly, E1003 Twelfth, a legal secretary for the firm of Keith, Winston & Repsold.

“It came as a terrible shock to the nation and to the world. We have lost a man and leader who was undeniably a great force for peace. It even seems somewhat sad that a new President was sworn in so quickly after this tragic thing happened.”

Stunned disbelief was the reaction of George Tampourios, W2313 Gardner, sitting among a group listening to developments over the radio in a downtown shoe shine parlor.

“Act of Savagery”

“Such an act of savagery. I can’t believe it. I couldn’t even look at food today.

“In all the time since I came over from Greece many years ago, I have never seen anything so terrible happen in the United States,” Tampourios said, tears streaming down his face. “It couldn’t happen. It just can’t be true!”

In the midafternoon darkness which covered the city, a 13-year-old schoolgirl walked in a daze down South Post. Books in hand, her face was covered with tears. She made no attempt to wipe them away and looked at no one.

Roy Lewis, S2402 Park Drive, public relations director for General Telephone Co. said on his way downtown in the late afternoon he noticed people rushing out of their homes to display flags in tribute to the nation’s chief executive.

Met Several Times

A man who had met President Kennedy on several occasions, Joe M. Smith, of Smith-Nielsen, Inc., said the loss of Kennedy was one of the “greatest blows” ever to befall this nation.

“This is a personal loss – like losing a member of your very own family,” Smith said.

“He was truly a great leader and a man of wonderful personality. When you met him, he always displayed a warm and generous sense of humor and high regard for all people. You didn’t have to agree with him to like him. To meet him was to love him and his immense stature as a person.”

“Dismal Time”

John McReynolds, a co-owner of Northwestern Organ & Chime, said “this is too dismal a time in the world’s history” to conduct business as usual.

“As an expression of our profound sorrow, we are placing a black wreath on the front entrance of our establishment,” McReynolds said.

“The assassination of President Kennedy was almost unbelievable. When the news came, we stood looking at each other unable to speak. We could hardly comprehend what had happened.”

McReynolds and his partner, John A. Greif, closed their store Friday afternoon and said the doors would remain locked until Monday.

“It is impossible to express your feelings concerning such a tragedy,” said CPO D. E. Erickson of the Spokane Navy Recruiting Station.

“Dark Day”

“Regardless of one’s political affiliation, we all know this was indeed a dark day in our nation’s history,” he said.

“We always think of such a thing as happening years ago in some distant land where revolutions and barbaric acts were not uncommon.

“We must all mourn for the senseless and ruthless loss of a great man.”

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