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Rochester Memories of President Kennedy

A Rochester politician is pictured with Sen. Kennedy at Rochester's Airport.

Standing outside their grandfather's old home in the 19th Ward, Abigail Freeman and Mitch Rowe, say they are proud of his legacy.

Al Rowe spent roughly 40 years as a 19th Ward Leader, responsible for helping his neighbors through the good and the bad.

Rowe was an active in the Democratic Party and when Senator John F Kennedy made a campaign stop in Rochester in 1960, he was there to greet him.

"As important as he was as a contemporary now I wonder if it would have been the same kind of deal at the tarmac at the airplane," said Mitch Rowe, grandson.

Lyndon B. Johnson sent a letter to Al Rowe thanking him for his support of Kennedy during the election.

"You know for us we kind of jokes that grandpa was the patriarch of the family business,” said Abigail Freeman, granddaughter.

After the election, Rowe was invited to the President's inauguration in Washington D.C.

Abby remembers the proud photos and memorabilia on her grandfather's wall.

"As a little child I just remember looking at those thinking, wow, my grandpa was this great guy," said Freeman.

Mitch Rowe was just a baby when the assassination took place. His mother, Carolee Conklin, who is a Rochester City Council member, had put him down for a nap.

"She said that she called my father to tell him that the President had been assassinated and as it turned out it was no joke," said Rowe.

And as America reflects on the assassination of President Kennedy, the Rowe family is remembering how a slice of Camelot became a part of their history.



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