Bethine Church Remembers JFK Friendship

On this 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination, Bethine Church, widow of former Sen. Frank Church, sat down for an interview with KIVI-TV, Channel 6 in Boise, to recall her friendship with JFK.

“The late Idaho senator Frank Church and his wife, Bethine, knew Kennedy well. And now, 50 years later, Bethine remembers the man and his legacy. “I remember calling it Camelot; it seemed like that,” Bethine said.

Remembering Camelot: Bethine Church Recalls Friendship with President John F. Kennedy

By Don Nelson; Channel 6 On Your Side News (Click to View Video)

The country will officially mark one of the darkest days in our history on November 22nd. That day, in 1963, President John F. Kennedy was shot while riding in his motorcade through the streets of Dallas… and many say our country never was the same again.

The late Idaho senator Frank Church and his wife, Bethine, knew Kennedy well. And now, 50 years later, Bethine remembers the man and his legacy. “I remember calling it Camelot; it seemed like that,” Bethine said.

Bethine Church remembers how her husband befriended Senator Kennedy in the late 1950’s. As a matter of fact, Senator Church gave the keynote address at the Democratic Convention in 1960, endorsing the young senator from Massachusetts.

“Both Kennedy and Johnson thought he was for them and so when it turned out he was for Jack Kennedy, it really threw Lyndon – he was furious,” remembers Bethine. Later that night Kennedy, having virtually locked up the nomination, ran out to the parking lot to thank Church. “He leaned over me and told Frank he did a great job,” recalls Bethine.

President Kennedy returned the favor by traveling to Idaho on Church’s behalf, only to get the scare of his life. “We got a plane for him and then the plane nearly crashed and the President said afterward, ‘Well, you nearly got me that time’,” said Bethine. When Don Nelson asked, “What was he like socially outside of the White House?” Bethine responded, “He was very relaxed, very relaxed. He didn’t take things very seriously.”

The country was flying high as many shared Kennedy’s optimism for the future. And then… “Driving and hearing he was shot and I had to drive over to the side for a minute and then I rushed home and turned on [the] TV,” said Bethine.

Just like that, it was over. All of it. “I still feel horrible about it,” Bethine said.

As far as any talk of a conspiracy, Bethine Church wants no part of that conversation. “I always thought it was silly… because it seemed so inappropriate and it just seemed… it seemed unbelievable that there was any conspiracy.”

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