Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Breaking News

Local News

November 22, 2013

Daughter of minister tasked with sharing tragic news speaks at CCL

Athens — The Rev. Luther Holcomb, the religious and civic leader from Dallas greeted President John F. Kennedy at Love Field Airport on Nov. 22, 1963.

He later announced to a waiting crowd gathered at Dallas Trade Mart to hear President Kennedy speak “The president had been shot.”

Holcomb, who had been invited by Governor John Connolly to meet Kennedy at Love Field, is the father of Mabank resident and retired educator Jan Flowers.

Flowers was at Aley United Methodist Church, west of Seven Points, Wednesday evening. She presented a slide show and memories of her father's infamous day with President John F. Kennedy.

When Rev. Holcomb was introduced to President Kennedy, Governor Connolly told the President Rev. Holcomb would be saying the invocation at the luncheon that day. The only thing the president said was, “Make it a good one.”

Holcomb, good friends with the Connolly family, sat with John Connolly's wife Nellie at Parkland Hospital waiting on word of Governor Connally's condition, who was shot the same time Kennedy was.

Fifty years ago, Holcomb led the stunned audience at the Trade Mart in a moving prayer, opening with a verse from Psalms in the Bible, “Lord lead us to a rock.”

Flowers said, “My dad's public and behind-the-scenes work in Dallas during the 1950s and early 1960s helped Dallas achieve peaceful racial integration of its public schools, restaurants and hotels and remove barriers to employment opportunities.”

Rev. Holcomb, a baptist minister, was referred to by the Dallas Morning News as a 'Pastor at large.' He was a fourth generation Baptist minister.

Rev. Holcomb rode in the fifth car in the procession of cars in downtown Dallas on that faithful day. Flowers said her father said he heard what he thought were gunshots. Former Dallas Mayor Earl Cabell, an avid hunter, rode in the car with Holcomb confirmed they were indeed shots being fired.

Cedar Creek Lake resident Lucille Quick was there to hear Flowers tell about Rev. Holcomb. Quick, who was working in downtown Dallas on Nov. 22,  said, “Some girlfriends and I went to watch the President. We waved at him and he waved back.”

She said by the time we got back to the office, we heard he had been shot.

Ralph Monroe, a retired realtor from Cedar Creek Lake, said, “I was working at Texas Instruments. The word spread throughout the shop. We couldn't believe it happened in Dallas. Everyone was in a state of shock.”

Kennedy had appointed Holcomb to represent Texas on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission in 1961. In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson named Holcomb vice chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Commission, then a new regulatory agency created to enforce the employment opportunity provisions of the Civil Right Act of 1964. In 1970, President Richard M. Nixon reappointed him to a second term.

Holcomb began his clergy career as a traveling evangelist, preaching at weeklong meetings called "youth revivals" in scores of cities throughout Texas and the south.

Flowers told the crowd, “It is important you talk to your grandparents and have your children talk to their grandparents, if we are going to remember historical moments in history.”

Flowers was an 18-year-old college student in Denton the day President Kennedy was assassinated. She said she regretted not being able to make it back to Dallas for Kennedy's visit.

Flowers said she was lucky a lot of her father’s life has been documented on the Internet.

Flowers said her father was also asked to make arrangements for Lee Harvey Oswald's funeral. Oswald is thought to be the lone gunman who killed President Kennedy. According to Flowers, her father worked with Oswald's brother, Robert, to work out the funeral arrangements.

Flowers said she is proud of her dad and the part he played in American history. She is thankful her father left pictures and stories she can pass along to the next generation.

Holcomb died at Cedar View House, an assisted-living center at Cedar Creek Lake, in 2003. He was a month shy of his 92nd birthday.

Text Only
Local News
  • 4-23 RODEO_03.JPG Rodeo time in Athens

    It's rodeo time in Athens as the 29th annual Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Stampede Rodeo is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, April 25-26.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Malakoff ISD adding school bus

    The Malakoff Independent School District approved the purchase of a new bus during Monday's school board meeting.
    By unanimous decision, the board approved the purchase of a bus for $94,199, with funds from the Henderson County Shared Services Agreement.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • dwayne garner003.jpg Support veterans

    The Cedar Creek Lake Veterans Foundation is gearing up for this year's air show — Thunder Over Cedar Creek Lake. This is the 11th annual event to be held on Saturday, July 5 at Cedar Creek Lake.
    The event will start with a benefit golf tournament on Monday, May 12 at Pinnacle Golf Club.

    April 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • Hensarling 0109.jpg Hensarling addresses residents’ concerns

    U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling was in Athens Tuesday for a town hall meeting to update the citizens of Henderson County on his continued efforts to hold Washington accountable to the American people.
    Held at the Henderson County Senior Citizens Center, more than 50 people attended with a plethora of questions for the congressman.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-23 Comm. court.JPG County commissioners openly appreciated

    The Henderson County Commissioners Court moved quickly through a routine agenda on Tuesday.
    First item of business not on the agenda, was for the Commissioners to accept a “Thank You” plaque for their donation to the 2014 Henderson County Livestock Show.
    The five commissioners each donated $500 of their personal money towards the gate fees for the show.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-22 BBR.JPG Black Beauty Ranch holds educational spring open house

    Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch and Doris Day Equine Center hosted their Spring Open House on April 12 and April 19.  Located in Murchison, these entities are both non-profit organizations that specialize in rescue, adoption and providing sanctuary to the unadoptable.

    April 22, 2014 10 Photos

  • 4-22 CROSS CARRIER.JPG Celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ

    Jeremiah Roberts portrays Jesus Christ as he carries a cross down Mill Run Road enroute to the Henderson County Square, to re-enact Christ’s resurrection.  Hitting him with instruments to illustrate the inhumanity of the day were Tramaine Jordan and C.J. Douglas.  Also helping in the effort were Joyce Coleman, Amanda Jordan and a child, Rychis Douglas.  All are members of Petersburg Baptist Church.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif In the voter’s hands

    Elections have come and gone for years without the Athens Municipal Water Authority getting much attention. But this year, the fate of the entity is in the balance.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif CCL Rotary offers non-profit grants

    The Rotary Club of Cedar Creek Lake offers a wide variety of grants to local non-profit organizations in Henderson County  and Kaufman County.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-22 Sharp arrest.jpg Man arrested near GBC for resisting

    The Henderson County Sheriff's Department responded to a disturbance involving an assault on Friday, April 18 at about 4:38 a.m. The assault occurred in the 100 block of Wedgewood Loop in the Oak Harbor Subdivision near Gun Barrel City.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo