By Sarah Hayner—
Sonny Fisher had a brush with history 55 years ago. The 83-year-old Granbury resident shook hands and spoke with John F. Kennedy in Fort Worth just hours before the nation’s 35th president was assassinated in Dallas.
Fisher was the deputy sheriff for Tarrant County at the time that he met the president outside the Hotel Texas on the morning of Nov. 22, 1963. He was an escort for JFK, and his main job was to make sure the president got to his car so he could get to the airport to fly to Dallas.
“He really was a neat man,” Fisher said.
Fisher recalled the president standing and talking with him and his team for a bit before he went to shake his hand before JFK left. The president wanted to ask him one more question.
“Is this your horse?” the president asked Fisher. “What’s his name?”
“Snuffy,” replied Fisher. He recalled the president dropping his hand and hugging Snuffy.
Fisher recalled Kennedy saying, “I’ve loved horses all my life. I’ve never had one, but I’ve loved them all my life. Thank you.”
Fisher escorted the president to his car and they said goodbye. Then he took Snuffy home and went with his dad to pick up his new Chevrolet convertible downtown. They were going back home, with Fisher driving his new car and following his father, when his dad pulled over to the side of the road.
“What’s the problem?” Fisher asked.
“Do you have your radio on? Your president just got shot,” his dad replied.
“You have got to be kidding,” Fisher said.
Fisher recalled the shock and the nation’s heartache for the president and his family.
“It was the most bizarre thing,” he said.
When asked if he believed the conspiracy theories surrounding JFK’s assassination or if Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone shooter, he pursed his lips.
“I’ve always thought about it because it always blew my mind, the fact that Oswald’s killer Jack Ruby was in the sheriff’s department that day. What was that sorry individual person who owned all the stripper joints doing in the sheriff’s department with a gun?” Fisher said.
“I think that Oswald had something to do with Jack Ruby. Ruby was not a nice person,” Fisher said of the nightclub owner.
Even though Fisher wasn’t in Dallas that day, he said people still want to hear his accounts about meeting JFK. They write him letters, asking him to send pictures with his signature. He still gets tickled about it because he doesn’t feel he should be treated as a celebrity.
Fisher has a room filled with JFK memorabilia in his Lake Granbury home. He said he will never forget President Kennedy’s graciousness the day they met.
“He was such a kind man,” he said.
The president thanked Fisher and his team for “taking care of him the way they do.” Then Kennedy left for Dallas and the rest is history.