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Sheboygan woman recalls encounter with Kennedys

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SHEBOYGAN (WITI) -- Many Americans reflected on Friday, November 22nd on where they were 50 years ago when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. But a Sheboygan woman is reflecting on a night three years earlier.

Jane Woepse remembered the night 53 years ago when she met Sen. Kennedy and the soon-to-be First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. Woepse's first husband, Clarence Mertz, helped arrange the visit. At the time, he was Chairman of the Sheboygan County Democrats.

"I was thrilled, you know, that he was able to get them here because this is a small town you know, Sheboygan. You just don't expect someone of that caliber to be coming here," said Woepse.

Woepse says she and her husband had a moment with the young presidential candidate before he address the crowd that had packed Standard Hall.

"We had a chance to talk to Jack and Jacqueline husband was actually talking to Jack more so I didn't hear their conversation but with Jacqueline we were kind of more talking girl talk...things like that, about clothing and about her attire and how I really emulated her," said Woepse.

It's a moment Woepse recalled whenever she watched the young president and First Lady. Like most other Americans, her world froze on November 22, 1963.

"I thought all the while when he was in the hospital I was hoping and I felt confident that the doctors would save him...and they didn't. And that was another shock, they didn't save him," said Woepse.

Woepse says she got both Jack and Jacqueline's autographs when they were in Sheboygan. However, sometime over the years, she lost the envelope they signed.


  • Cindy Long

    This was a great interview with my mother, I know where the autographed photo, not just an envelope is, with my step-mother now, and I hope to have it returned to our family in the future.

  • Mitchell

    I heard also that when JFK came to Sheboygan, he also gave an
    award to Thomas Ind on 14th and Illinois ave. They might
    still have it…

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