Former resident unveils Kennedy collection
SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Jim Zbick, retired associate editor of the TIMES NEWS, stands a podium during unveiling of his John F. Kennedy collection at the Southwest Florida Military Museum in Cape Coral, Fla., Friday. In the background, in front of cutout of the president, is a rocker that Zbick obtained. The rocker was donated by Kennedy to be sold at an auction to raise money for his presidential campaign.
The 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination was observed in a distinguished manner by a former Lehighton area resident Friday.
Jim Zbick, former TIMES NEWS associate editor, who remains a contributing opinion writer, unveiled a collection of President Kennedy memorabilia at the Southwest Florida Military Museum in Cape Coral, Fla.
Zbick moved to Florida last year and was the main influence in creating the military museum.
A serious collector of military and historical items most of his life, Zbick has a vast assortment of Kennedy items.
One of the signature pieces in the collection is a rocking chair, which was presented by Kennedy on July 24, 1960, nine days after receiving the Democratic nomination to run for president.
The rocker was sold at auction to raise money for the Kennedy campaign in 1960. At the exhibit, a cutout of JFK stands behind the rocker.
Also proving interest to attendees at the dedication were several items signed by Nick MacDonald, the Dallas police officer who fought with, and arrested, Lee Harvey Oswald in a Dallas theater. One framed document, under a bulls-eye target, is an invitation to attend the Trade Market luncheon, where JFK was headed and scheduled to speak before being shot down in Dealey Plaza in Dallas.
"It was a very successful JFK night," Zbick said of the opening. "We had a feature speaker Dr. William Smith who was working for a radio station that day in Dallas. I then described my collection."
Although the exhibit, which was organized by Zbick, was previewed Friday, it opened to the public officially on Saturday.
Another significant addition is a copy of JFK's terse homicide report from Dallas police, which chillingly reads: "Last name of person killed: Kennedy, John F. (President of U.S.)."
It adds that the offense as reported is "murder."
There is also a copy of Oswald's arrest report, a copy of his fingerprints taken at the Dallas police station, and his homicide report.
When he lived in Mahoning Township, Zbick had a substantial military collection, including uniforms, weapons, and even a World War II Jeep.
Upon moving to Florida, he helped to establish the Southwest Florida Military Museum, and form the Invest in America's Veterans Foundation, which administers the museum.
The president of the organization is Ralph Santillo.
The past weeks have been busy for Zbick, who is retired.
He visited several schools in Florida and displayed pieces of his military collection.