Memories of JFK's visit to Sioux City brought to life at museum - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Memories of JFK's visit to Sioux City brought to life at the Sioux City Public Museum



It's been almost 50 years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Three years earlier he campaigned in Sioux City and now the visit has been brought to life thanks to a donation to the Sioux City Public Museum.

"He called me Don and he knew who I was," Judge Donald O'Brien said.

Not everyone can say that about the president. But, O'Brien can because he campaigned with John F. Kennedy back in 1960.

"He was a charming fella and he was smiling all the time. And, he had a twinkle in his eye and when he was talking to you, you knew he was talking to you," O'Brien said. 

Judge O'Brien said he remembers the speech JFK gave in Sioux City and before he went on stage, O'Brien said he asked a lot of questions of everyone he was with.

"When he got out there to speak, he knew who this was and who that was and what their job was and so forth. He wasn't taking any notes, but he remembered all that," O'Brien said. 

O'Brien was running for Congress at the time then-Senator Kennedy stopped in Siouxland. O'Brien's not the only one who remembers JFK's visit vividly, so does one Sioux City centenarian. 

"We saw a little bit of the yards where I used to work and I kind of wanted to see that and I thought it was interesting what they showed," Gabrielle Perry, of Sioux City, said

Another former stockyards employee had video of JFK's visit and donated it to the Sioux City Public Museum.

"We hope that it's an education tool and also entertainment. I think we achieved our goals there," Sioux City Public Museum Director Steve Hansen said. 

This would not be their last encounter, the two met several times in Washington. On Sunday, O'Brien shared memories of those meetings.

"He was there firsthand, so it was great to hear him finally talk about it," Martha McMinn, of Sioux City, said.

A relationship that still influences O'Brien today.

"I hope that I was half as good as he was," O'Brien said.

O'Brien also worked closely with JFK's brother, Robert F. Kennedy and helped with his presidential campaign. 


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