Tippit Family Makes First Visit Ever to the Memorial

J. D. Tippit may very well be one of the most famous law enforcement officers in American history. A Dallas Police Officer for 11 years, Patrolman Tippit took great pride in his work. He loved his beat, the people he met, the work he did to keep Dallas safe.

Never a man seeking fame or prestige, he acted as a true officer – always looking out for those in need. The events that would eventually put him in the national spotlight were thrust upon him; and the man who never sought to prove his significance would prove it anyway, as a true hero acting to protect his country.

The date was Novemeber 22, 1963. John F. Kennedy was making his infamous ride into Dallas. Officer Tippit left lunch with his wife, Marie, early; he was worried about trouble. His instincts would be right on that day. While riding in his patrol car, he received a call that President Kennedy had been shot. Officer Tippit was instructed to move closer to the center of the South Oak Cliff area, keeping his eyes peeled for the assailant.

At approximately 1 p.m., Officer Tippit stopped his car to question a young man. Something about him didn’t quite fit. As Officer Tippit walked around the vehicle, the assailant shot him four times and fled. The 39-year-old officer died on the way to the hospital.

Witnesses eventually saw the suspect run into a movie theater. The police were able to confront the man and, after a struggle, arrest him. Lee Harvey Oswald was booked for the murder of Officer Tippit. Later, subsequent evidence conclusively linked Mr. Oswald to the assassination of President Kennedy. Without Officer Tippit’s intervention that day, there’s no telling whether Mr. Oswald would have ever been brought to justice.

Officer Tippit left behind a wife, Marie, and three young children, Charles, Brenda and Curtis. Marie Tippit had never seen her heroic husband’s name engraved on the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial … until today.

With the help of Dallas Police officers, Marie Tippit and her son, Curtis, made their first visit to the Memorial on Monday morning, May 12. With rain falling heavily around them, Mrs. Tippit gazed at her husband’s name, tears mixing with a sad smile in an emotional moment for her and her family. NLEOMF Chairman and CEO Craig Floyd presented Mrs. Tippit with a framed picture of her husband and an etching of his name.

Memorial Fund staff were honored to meet Mrs. Tippit, and grateful for her long-awaited visit.