Article Category: Funereal Friday

Aftermath of an Execution

Posted Friday, Oct 23

“. . . We are not here to judge him but to bury him. May God have mercy on his soul.”

Southern Calls, Vol. 21, September 2018

. . . We left to go to the funeral and were told that a minister was going to be in the chapel, where we were going to have services. Earlier after contacting three ministers that would not help us in our sorrow, or take the boy’s body into church, or even participate on the grounds, one minister had finally consented that we would have chapel services. 

Lee Harvey Oswald
October 18, 1939
— November 24, 1963

He refused to bring the body into the church, but finally consented, after much persuasion, that we would have chapel services at the cemetery. 

The body was brought into the chapel, at the cemetery, because the family did think that the minster was honest and was going to keep his word and this is what was going to happen.  However, when we went into the chapel, the chapel was empty. The body was not there.

Coffin containing the body of Lee Harvey Oswald is carried toward the Chapel at Rose Hill Cemetery in Fort Worth, Texas, by funeral director Paul J. Groody and Newsmen.

. . . So we left the chapel and went to the graveside.  As we got to the graveside, another very sad thing happened.  Mr. Groody, who was the funeral director from Miller’s Funeral Home, came and said, “Mrs. Oswald, I’m sorry, but we don’t have a minister.”

FAMILY LEAVING CHAPEL – Says Mrs. Oswald, “The family was told that the minister would be at the chapel to have private chapel services for the family.  When we arrived, the chapel was empty. The body remained in the chapel for about two hours and then upon orders, and I don’t know to this day by who, the body was removed and brought out to the gravesite. This was a sad time for the family…”

Then, Rev. Louis A. Saunders who is executive for the Ft. Worth Council of Churches, leaned over and said, “Mrs. Oswald, I will help out.” He had not preached a sermon for eight years. However, he is not a minister.  He is an executive of the Ft. Worth Council of Churches.

Rev. Louis Sanders joins family

But Rev. Saunders made a wonderful sermon, although he had left his Bible in the car.  He said “We have come here today to lay away the body of Lee Harvey Oswald.  We are not here to judge him but to bury him.  May God have mercy on his soul.”

FUNERAL BIER of Lee Harvey Oswald showing chairs in foreground provided for small family.

He then turned to the newsmen and security men and told them that I had asked his to say that Lee was a good son to her, a good husband to his wife, and a good father.

Excerpts & photo from Aftermath of an Execution,1965, by Mrs. Marguerite Oswald (Lee Harvey Oswald’s mother) 

Aftermath of An Execution by Mrs. Marguerite Oswald
Link to full magazine:
http://www.fortworthtexasarchives.org/digital/collection/p16084coll6/id/21

Copy of Original Funeral Statement – Miller Funeral Home, Fort Worth, Texas

Subscribe today, or order this highly collectible issue online in our Shop

***

Check back every Friday for another nugget of funereal miscellany!

Other Recent Articles

Jim Kurtz

Jim Kurtz

We probably have never met, but you may have seen me before. I was that little guy watching funerals from the steps of the Catholic school across the street from Galloway & Sons Funeral Home in Beeville, Texas. I especially loved seeing the big cars that led the...

read more
Bibber Memorial Chapel

Bibber Memorial Chapel

The air smells briny and gulls caw overhead. In the distance, against the backdrop of an iron-colored horizon, a few hearty lobstermen trawl the sea, braving the frigid temperatures. It’s snowing again, but that’s not newsworthy. It’s winter in Maine. Three miles up...

read more
Rhonda Keyes Pleasants

Rhonda Keyes Pleasants

Before reading any further, pause for a moment and reflect on your career, regardless of your age or your job title. Reminisce about opportunities that were afforded to you, both past and present. Consider equally decisions you made with the excitement of future...

read more
Issue 36 Available Now!

Issue 36 Available Now!

See the beauty and honor of the funeral profession reflected through a father’s eyes as he documents the passing of his beloved son – every funeral director should own this issue. Mitchell’s Journey is a moving tribute to unconditional love as a grieving family...

read more
Issue 35 Available Now!

Issue 35 Available Now!

It’s our first issue of 2022 and what a way to start the year – the inspirational story of Rhonda Keyes Pleasants details a fortuitous encounter that led her to the profession – our People article is compelling on many levels. Places visits the beautiful and historic...

read more
Jack Backer

Jack Backer

At first glance, John Willmott “Jack” Backer, III – age 16, tall, handsome, varsity tennis player and straight-A sophomore at Sayre School in Lexington, Kentucky – appears to be a typical teenager who enjoys tennis and playing guitar, especially Southern gospel and...

read more

Join Our Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter to periodically receive article updates, industry news, and details about new issues before they are released.

The Magazine