Written by Mickey Brandt
Betsy Blowers, a Vineland, NJ, resident but an airline stewardess based in Dallas at the time, says she encountered Lee Harvey Oswald's assassin in a bar near her apartment on the night of Nov. 22, 1963. She was 24 and living along the motorcade route where she watched the president pass by minutes before he was shot.
Ruby killed Oswald two days later in the basement of the Dallas municipal building. He pushed through a crowd of reporters and shot Oswald once in the stomach.
Blowers said she knew Ruby mostly by his unsavory reputation.
“I just knew him because he came into that bar a few times, he wasn't a friend or anything,” she said. “We knew he was the strip club owner. He was a pisser, real cocky, fun, but I usually thought 'what a jerk.'”
That night, she said, “It was not a bar atmosphere; it wasn't fun, it was like a morgue.” Ruby stopped at the table where she sat with friends and talked for about ten minutes.
“He ranted about this guy killing the President,” Blowers related. “But he didn't come in like he was going to kill the SOB or anything.”
She said she was “in complete and utter shock” upon learning of JFK's death on Friday. Then, on Sunday, she watched as Ruby shot Oswald on live television.
“If it had been someone else, we still would have been staggered, this way...good God,” she said.
For 50 years, conspiracy theories have raged about the assassination and then the assassination of the assassin. The Warren Commission findings, the definitive official explanation of the critical events in the tragedy, did not acknowledge any plot. On who she thinks killed Kennedy, the older, but chatty and colorful Blowers replied, “Beats the hell out of me.”
During the chaos of the day, she got an important call. “Dad called me and said, get out of Dallas, they shoot people there,” she said during the wide-ranging and spirited interview last week. “I said, 'OK, Dad,' but thought 'never'—I loved Dallas.”
Blowers, a Newcastle, PA native, worked for Braniff International Airways from 1959 until 1965 and flew widely, including on charters for sports teams and celebrities. She then moved to Vineland and became a travel agent and a cocktail waitress in town and then a dealer at the Sands Casino Hotel.
Can she still enjoy such a lifestyle? “Yes, I still have fun and party,” she said. “I just can't drink like I used to because if I have a few drinks now, I'm so tired I have to go to bed for three days.”