Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Remembering the man who helped JFK's widow



Posted on April 27, 2010 at 7:19 PM

Updated today at 7:34 PM

McKINNEY — One of the last surviving witnesses to President Kennedy's assassination has died.

The story of Aubrey Rike of McKinney isn't well known, but he was part of an intensely personal moment between first lady Jacqueline Kennedy and her slain husband.

Rike's widow, Glenda, remembered getting a rather disturbing phone call from the FBI on that day in 1963. "He said, 'We have your husband.'"

It turned out that Aubrey Rike, who was an ambulance driver, did have a close connection to the case. He was at Parkland Memorial Hospital when JFK was rushed to the emergency room.

Rike sat with Jacqueline Kennedy outside the door, and he helped the first lady place her own wedding band on her dead husband's finger.

"And she couldn't get it on there," Glenda Rike said. "So Aubrey got that gel stuff and put it on his finger so she could get the ring so far up... and she kissed his hand."

It was Aubrey Rike who quickly arranged for a coffin and placed the president's body in it for transport back to Washington.

He helped Jackie into the hearse that left the hospital despite being shoved away by a Secret Service agent.

"She told him to leave the young man alone — that he was the most courteous person who had spoken to her since she arrived at Parkland," Rike's wife said.

It's a story Aubrey Rike only recently wrote about in a book published two years ago.

In death, his widow wants the world to know it was her husband that showed the president's wife kindness in her worst moment of need.

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