Nov. 22, 1963: Teachers remember JFK assassination

Bundy, Sr. Stewart said event defined their generation


Jake Langdon

English teacher Mrs. Melinda Bundy was in the eighth grade when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963.

Jake Langdon, Reporter/Videographer

Fifty-three years ago on Nov. 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas, Texas shook the world.  

Sr. Mary Ann Stewart remembers the tragic day during her sophomore year at Schlute High School in Terre Haute as if it was yesterday. She said, “I was actually across the street at my neighbor’s getting my hair cut. And she put me under the dryer, she went in to watch her favorite soap opera.” And as the news broke “they interrupted the TV show with the bulletin,” Sr. Stewart said. 

When asked about her reaction to the event, she said, “It was kind of a stunner to me because we all thought he was wonderful.” Sr. Stewart even went to the length of describing it “like somebody in your family had died very suddenly.” 

English teacher Mrs. Melinda Bundy was an eighth grader on that solemn day in 1963. She said, “This is before all of the kind of mass communication we have today” and there was much confusion over the news as it broke. She also said that her family “worshiped the Kennedy family” and held them in high regard. 

The primary fear from both Bundy and Sr. Stewart came from the looming idea that the Russians may had been involved in this assassination. Bundy said, “This was during the Cold Warn when we were terrified of the Russians” and feared a nuclear war. 

When asked if there was an event that compared to the death of President Kennedy, both Sr. Stewart and Bundy referred to the assassination of his brother, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, in 1968, as they both revered him as well. The younger Kennedy was seeking the Democratic nomination for President and had just won the California primary when he was shot and died the next day. 

The assassination of the nation’s first Catholic president is looked at as the seminal moment for their generation. Bundy said, “There is a defining event in every generation that people in that generation can tell you where (they were) when this happened. I don’t think your generation has had (such) a defining event yet.”