J. D. Tippit

J. D. Tippit
J. D. Tippit[1]

(1924-09-18)September 18, 1924
DiedNovember 22, 1963(1963-11-22) (aged 39)
Resting placeLaurel Land Memorial Park
Dallas, Texas
32°40′29.06″N 96°49′13.16″W / 32°40′29.06″N 96°49′13.16″W / 32.6747389; -96.8203222
Marie Frances (née Gasway) (m. 1946)
  • Charles Allen Tippit (son)
  • Brenda Kay Tippit (daughter)
  • Curtis Glenn Tippit (son)
AwardsCertificate of Merit (1957)
Medal of Valor †
Police Medal of Honor †
Police Cross †
Citizens Traffic Commission Award of Heroism †
† posthumously
Police career
DepartmentDallas Police Department
Badge number848
CountryUnited States United States of America
Allegiance Dallas, Texas
Years of service1952–63
Memorials • Historical marker on SH 37 at
CR 1280 southwest of Clarksville
(dedicated November 17, 2001)[2]
 • Historical marker on northeast corner of East 10th Street and South Patton Avenue in Dallas
(dedicated November 20, 2012)[3]

J. D. Tippit (September 18, 1924 – November 22, 1963) was an American police officer who was an 11-year veteran with the Dallas Police Department. About 45 minutes after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, Tippit was shot dead in a residential neighborhood in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas. Lee Harvey Oswald was initially arrested for the murder of Tippit and was subsequently arrested for the killing of President Kennedy. Oswald was charged with both crimes shortly after his arrest. However, Oswald denied involvement in either of the cases. Because Oswald was shot and killed by nightclub owner Jack Ruby two days after the killings, he could not be prosecuted for either.

Early life

Tippit was born near the town of Annona in Red River County, Texas.[4] He was the eldest of seven children[5] (two girls and five boys) to Edgar Lee Tippit (1902–2006),[6] a sharecropper cotton farmer,[6] and Lizzie Mae "May Bug" Tippit (née Rush; 1905–1990).[7][8][4][9] The Tippit and Rush families were of English ancestry, their ancestors having immigrated to Virginia from England by 1635.[10] It is sometimes reported that J.D. stood for "Jefferson Davis", but in fact, the letters did not stand for anything.[11] Tippit attended public schools through the tenth grade and was raised as a Baptist, a faith he practiced for the rest of his life.[9] In the fall of 1939, when he was 15, his family moved to Baker Lane, a stretch of dirt road six miles southwest from Clarksville.[7] He entered the United States Army on July 21, 1944, and was assigned to the 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the US 17th Airborne Division. He saw combat in Operation Varsity, the airborne crossing of the Rhine River in March 1945, earning a Bronze Star,[12][13] and remained on active duty until June 20, 1946.

Tippit married his high school sweetheart, Marie Frances Gasway, on December 26, 1946. The couple had three children: Charles Allan (born 1950), Brenda Kay (born 1953) and Curtis Glenn (born 1958).[9] That same year, he went to work for the Dearborn Stove Company. He next worked for Sears, Roebuck and Company in the installation department from March 1948 to September 1949 when he was laid off.[14] The couple moved to Lone Star, Texas, where Tippit attempted to farm and raise cattle.[4][9]

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