Ida McKinley at William McKinley’s deathbed. Four Presidents of the United States have been assassinated, each leaving a widowed First Lady. The famous image of Vice President Johnson taking the oath of office with his wife and Mrs. Kennedy just after President Kennedy’s Dallas assassination. The most recent of these dark moments in history took place fifty years ago this month, when President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed almost immediately upon being hit while riding in an open car through the streets of Dallas. Jacqueline Kennedy at the President’s funeral. His thirty-three year old wife, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy determined to focus on raising her two young children with a strong sense of their father. She also carried out the work he would have done as a former President, of raising funds, planning and finally overseeing the dedication of his presidential library in 1979. She lived for thirty and a half years longer than him. Like Jacqueline Kennedy, Lucretia Garfield preserved the memory and fostered the legacy of her late husband, President James A. Garfield, who was shot in a Washington train station in July of 1881, just four months after being inaugurated. The widowed Lucretia Garfield He was actually on his way to join her at the New Jersey shore. Instead, they were rejoined when she made her way down to him, back at the White House where a medical care unit was created in a vain attempt to save him. Crete Garfield cooking for her husband in the White House kitchen. During that period, Mrs. Garfield diligently remained near his bedside, doting on him, attempting to do what she could in strengthening his overall system with nutrition, even going down into the White House kitchen to prepare some of his broths and other light foods. Garfield died two months later. Widowed at age forty-four, she lived until 1918, surviving him by a remarkable thirty-seven years. In later years, she spent winters and then increasingly longer periods in her Arts & Crafts style mansion in Pasadena, California. Like Jackie Kennedy, Lucretia Garfield worked hard to overcome the often overwhelming grief of her loss but never permitted herself to indulge in it to the point of it dominating her life alone. Mary Lincoln was depicted in black mourning veil at her husband’s bier in the White House East Room. In fact, she never appeared there. Like Jackie Kennedy,
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