Residents share JFK memories

MARSHALL – On Nov. 22, 1963, the Marshall High School Tigers were getting ready to defend their state basketball title. Southwest State was a new college and the state college board was meeting in Marshall that day.

Ed’s Pizza was the new restaurant in town.

However, Marshall residents were all affected, as was the nation and world, by the larger events of that day, the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.

Jim Muchlinski, the education coordinator for the Lyon County Museum, presided over a JFK roundtable Thursday afternoon at the museum to mark the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s death.

Muchlinski read from the Marshall Messenger that the Tigers had to cancel their first game and Ed’s Pizza owner Edward Taveirne took out a quarter-page ad saying his restaurant would be closed until after the burial. The front page headline read, “Assassination casts gloom over Marshall.”

Local residents were interviewed. “At first we thought there must be some mistake,” said one, “he was so youthful.” Another resident said, “We were having dinner at Schwan’s Cafe and we went home and watched TV.”

Helen Quist remembered that day 50 years ago. It was her 17th birthday and she was a senior in high school in Pipestone.

“I walked home for lunch,” she said. “A counselor was going to lunch, too, and told me.” She was supposed to attend a Gophers game later that day, but it was canceled.

Classes were canceled in Carbondale, Ill., where Mary Muchlinski was attending college.

“I heard it (the news of Kennedy’s assassination) on the car radio,” she said, her eyes tearing up. “You almost can’t drive.” Later, in class, the “dean came in and said ‘we’re not going to do anything here today.’ All I can remember is I went to church.”

Trudy Madetzke was at band rehearsal in Sun Prairie, Wis., she said. “The band director came in and told us. There was a lot of disbelief.”

Norma Sletten was teaching home economics that day, the beginning of fifth period.

“I can remember the room I was in and where I was standing,” she said. Someone handed her an index card to read the announcement from.

“We just read that he had been shot,” she said.

They didn’t know right away if Kennedy had died.

Ron Mosch was sick in bed with bronchitis on Nov. 22, 1963.

“When my wife at the time told me the news, I was a lot sicker,” he said. Mosch said he admired Kennedy then and still does.

Bonny Doyle was in her first year of teaching in Welcome in 1963. She said she and her husband, John, had plans to go to the Cities for the weekend to celebrate their first wedding anniversary.

“It was an awful drive to the Cities,” she said. “It was supposed to be fun, but it was quiet. We sat in the motel room and watched TV.”