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Some months ago, I read a curious article or chapter about how Kennedy was embalmed. But after this work, the body's wounds were opened up in a way that no one in the future could tell where the gunshots came from or made them all impossible to read. Next, Jackie and Bobby were believed to have had the brain given to them. One part of this account said they removed Kennedy's eyes. But secretly, Bobby and Jackie had the body cremated. When it was cremated the crematory kept names and dates of each person they had turned to ashes. In this record there was a cremation done in late November that had no name written in. I've been trying all over to find this account again, but haven't been successful. Does anyone know where I can find this article? The ashes were presumably placed in the coffin buried on Monday, Nov. 25. Thank you. The article below just adds to the confusion.





Nathan Scholes

For the Daily News [Altamont]


On Nov. 22, 1963, as the nation mourned the loss of President John F. Kennedy, morticians of Joseph Gawler's Son Inc were summoned to Bethesda (MD) Naval Hospital to embalm the body and prepare it for viewing. According to one embalmer, the nature of the president's wounds required that he use "all of my knowledge and acquired skill to make him presentable." This embalmer, Edwin Bates Stroble, was a native of Altamont and one-time apprentice at Kull Funeral Home.


Born May 22, 1921, to Edwin P. and Gladys G. Stroble, the younger Stroble began working for local businessman Woodrow Kull in high school before enlisting in the United States Navy. Following a stint of service that saw him fighting on Attu, he returned home. It was at this time that he began his apprenticeship under the supervision of Kull to learn the trade of embalming. In a letter to family friend Linda Frederick (nee Grobengieser) shortly after the assassination, Stroble credits Kull with teaching him "how to pose features naturally, and how to use a horse sense flair for make-up." He also referred to Kull as "one of the greatest embalmers I've ever watched."

According to Stroble's sister-in-law, Ruby Stroble, he eventually decided to move to the East Coast, a place he had lived during his time in the Navy. He then began working for Joseph Gawler's Sons Inc, a prestigious Washington, D.C., funeral home, as a mortician.


He did, however, make frequent trips home, visiting his family, Kull's Funeral Home and Frederick's father, Delbert Grobengieser.


"He would park his sports car in the driveway and make me drool over it," recalled Frederick.

Stroble was described as a "real likeable guy" by his sister-in-law and spent his time fishing and hunting. He writes that his main interest was music, in particular the works of Hoagy Carmichael.

Frederick credits Stroble with getting her into Shriner's Hospital for treatment of her polio, when her family was considering sending her to Chicago. Stroble objected, stating that she would be treated like a lab rat in the northern facility. Due to the care she received at Shriner's, Frederick states that "people don't even realize that I had polio."


As for the cause of his minor notoriety, it was, in part, Stroble's December 1963 home visit that alerted local residents to his connection with the Kennedy funeral. Lynn Kull, son of Stroble's mentor, recalls Stroble coming into the Kull embalming room and showing him the check he received for embalming the President. After a period of disbelief by Kull, Stroble mentioned that the President had been shot at the very top of the cranium and approximately the 7th vertebrae. He also mentioned that Kennedy's face was "not that marred."

Considering the extensive work done to restore Kennedy's body, Stroble was disappointed when Jacqueline Kennedy decided that the casket would be closed for services. She and the President's brothers viewed him in the East Room of the White House, along with select staffers, before she ordered the closure. He did, however, come to believe that "as things turned out, it was a wise decision on her part."


Kathy C


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