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Governor's widow last link to JFK limo

The last surviving member of the party who were travelling in President John F Kennedy's limousine when he was assassinated has died.

The last surviving member of the party who were travelling in President John F Kennedy's limousine when he was assassinated has died.

Nellie Connally, the former Texas first lady, died of natural causes at an assisted living centre in Austin, Texas. She was 87.

She was the widow of former Governor John Connally who was also injured in the shooting on November 22, 1963. Her death was announced by Julian Read, who served as the governor's press secretary in the 1960s.

As the limousine carrying the Connallys and the Kennedys wound its way through the friendly crowd in downtown Dallas, Nellie Connally turned to President Kennedy, who was in a seat behind her, and said: "Mr President, you can't say Dallas doesn't love you."

Almost immediately, she heard the first of what she later concluded were three gunshots in quick succession.

A wounded John Connally slumped after the second shot, and, "I never looked back again. I was just trying to take care of him," she said.

She later said the most enduring image of that day was the bloodstained roses.

"It's the image of yellow roses and red roses and blood all over the car ... all over us," she said in a 2003 interview. "I'll never forget it... It was so quick and so short, so potent."

In 2003, she published a photo-filled book - From Love Field: Our Final Hours with President John F Kennedy - based on 22 pages of handwritten notes she compiled about a week after the assassination and rediscovered in 1996.

Texas Governor Rick Perry called her "the epitome of graciousness".

"Long before she was propelled into the national spotlight from the assassination of President John F Kennedy, she was a Texas icon."

Connally, formerly Nellie Brill, met her husband at the University of Texas in Austin, and they married on December 21, 1940.

She served on the Board of Visitors of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center since 1984, and a fund in her name raised millions for research and patient programmes.

The Houston hospital's centre for breast cancer is also named for Connally, a survivor of the disease for more than 15 years.

About a year ago, Connally moved back to Austin after decades in Houston and remained active until her death. She is to be buried near her late husband in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.

 

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