Marie Tippit Was A Second Mother To Me

Marie Tippit
Marie Tippit with writer's sister Kay Wiggs and niece at Marie's 91st birthday party in October 2019. Photo courtesy Kay Wiggs

Marie Tippit, 92, Widow of J.D. Tippit Passed Away-I Remember Her Fondly

DALLAS – The day after I received word Marie Tippit, the widow of J.D. Tippit, who was murdered by Lee Harvey Oswald the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, had died at the age of 92 my only thought was I wish I could have officially told her goodbye.

But you always think you have more time.

It’s okay, though, because I can hear her say my name in my ear just like it was yesterday. I can hear my name just like when I was in Jr. High and High School and her and my mom were best of friends, and she was at our house a lot.

Marie Tippit was a fixture in the Cook family life.

She and my mother became fast friends when I was very young. They sold jewelry together – Sarah Coventry – but more than anything, they liked to stay up late at night and talk and laugh.

They were what we call “besties” these days.

I never realized until later how strong Marie was – just like my mom – and that is why they were best friends.

My dad just shook his head at both of them.

The Bond of Widows

The two women had a lot in common too – because both had lost first husbands.

For Marie, I remember her talking about J.D. Tippit a lot, the love of her life.

During my childhood, she had been remarried to Dallas Police Lt. Harry Thomas from 1967 to 1982, when he died of cancer.

She had three children with J.D. I only met Allan, who had been born in 1950, and daughter Brenda, born in 1953, once. Her youngest son Curtis was born in 1958 had always been my secret crush. Marie and my mom surely just had a good laugh about that.

During the summer, my sisters and brother and I would head over to “Marie’s house” to go swimming as often as possible.

Sometimes she and my mom would go out of town.

Their friendship was strong. Marie was always a breath of beautiful, fresh air when she entered any room. Even now, I can see her smile and hear her voice so succinctly.

I’ve been a writer all my life, but only once before today did I ever write an article about her life and losing J.D.

My Interview With Marie On Kennedy Assassination Anniversary

That article was written for this paper – Focus Daily News – on the occasion of the Kennedy Assassination: 50 years later on November 13, 2013.

I remember Marie told me when I was writing that article that she was interviewed a lot. She said every time she was interviewed, she had to relive it and think about the pain. I cut my interview short, I didn’t want to make her have to relive that again.

“Maybe I was just not supposed to understand why he was taken from me,” she told me, pondering her thoughts.

Marie told me that day – but it was something I had known since childhood – that she had forgiven Oswald. She was just that type of person.

During that interview in 2013 she said very matter-of-factly “Someday I will see J.D. in heaven. He was only 39 and I was 35, but without him, my life became a nightmare for a time.”

On that day when I interviewed her, in typical Marie-style, she brought the story back to me because she was like that. She was full of grace, beauty and stoicism.

She Was Blessed & I Was Lucky To Have Her In My Life

In fact, she had been with me and my siblings when we took my mother off life support. She never forgot that day and said to me in 2013 when I interviewed her, “Your mother meant a lot to me and she encouraged me and I saw you kids grow up. The Lord has blessed me even though he did take J.D. away.”

When my sister called me earlier this week and told me Marie was in hospice and it was COVID-19 and other medical problems, I knew I would never have the chance to see her again.

But I also know now she had the chance to see J.D. again – like she said she was looking forward to doing. And, I hope as well, her and my mom are having a cup of coffee and chatting about old times.