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Boulder Developer Buys Hearse That Transported JFK’s Body

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1964 Cadillac HearseBoulder real estate developer Stephen Tebo is the new owner of the 1964 white Cadillac Miller-Meteor hearse that transported President John F. Kennedy’s body following his assassination on Nov. 22, 1963. Tebo, who collects classic cars, bought the hearse for $176,000 at auction on Saturday via Barrett-Jackson Auction Co. of Scottsdale, Arizona. He plans to display it in a museum he hopes to create in five to 10 years.

A CBS Denver article quotes Tebo as saying: “To be able to own this as a piece of history like that is very amazing for me.” The 67-year-old Tebo has loved cars since he was a boy, but wasn’t able to afford one in high school, reports Mitchell Byars in a Daily Camera article.

Tebo has about 400 cars in his collection in Longmont (just outside of Boulder), which is not open to the public, although he does open it up to four times a year to help various nonprofit groups. According to Jamie Stengle writing for Associated Press on sacbee.com, Tebo’s collection includes such vehicles as a 1965 Rolls Royce that was custom-made for John Lennon, a Batmobile, a jeep that Frank Sinatra used on his ranch, and a taxi used on the TV show “Seinfeld.”

Associated Press writes that the hearse had been on display in October 1963 at a Dallas, Texas, convention for funeral home directors, after which it was purchased by O’Neal Funeral Home of Dallas. On Nov. 22, 1963, O’Neal transported Kennedy’s body and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy from Parkland Memorial Hospital to Air Force One at Dallas’ Love Field for the flight back to Washington.

According to AP:

‘It was a solemn duty that it had taking him from the hospital where he was pronounced dead to Air Force One,’ said Craig Jackson, CEO and chairman of the auction company. ‘I think everybody in the world remembers watching the hearse leave the hospital, heading toward Air Force One. It just sort of sunk into everybody that he’s gone.’

A Texas man named Arrdeen Vaughan, who was in the funeral home and funeral vehicle business, bought the hearse in the late 1960s and kept it in a private collection for more than 40 years before selling it to the person who put it up for auction recently.

Associated Press reports that:

Tebo said he wanted the hearse because of its historical significance.

‘We remember specifically seeing the hearse leaving the hospital and driving very, very slowing to Air Force One and loading the casket on Air Force One. It was just an incredibly dramatic time in our lives,’ Tebo said.

Image by Barrett-Jackson, used under Fair Use: Reporting.

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