Julian Read, Who Briefed Press After JFK Assassination, Dies – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Julian Read, whose long career in public relations included briefing the press after the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, died in Texas. He was 93 years old.
Read died Saturday in an Austin senior community, his daughter Courtney Hoffman said Monday.
Read, who worked for Texas Governor John Connally, was sitting in a multi-vehicle media bus behind the limo, carrying Kennedy, Connally, and their wives when gunfire rang out on November 22, 1963.
“When I saw the limo drive away, I knew something terrible had happened. We didn’t know what,” Read told The Associated Press in 1998.
He followed the victims to Parkland Memorial Hospital, where he presented reports on the condition of the wounded Connally, coordinated a press conference for Connally’s wife, Nellie, and answered questions from reporters.
Read, who grew up in Fort Worth, went to work in 1945 at the age of 18 as a sports journalist and copywriter for the now defunct Fort Worth Press. His daughter said he had memories of the busy newsroom.
“Everyone was typing, so there was a lot of sound. And it was an exciting place,” Hoffman said.
Six years later, he opened an advertising and promotional business in an office apartment with one room, according to the obituary created by his daughters. Hoffman said he graduated from Texas Christian University with a degree in economics after opening the company.
His company, Read-Poland Associates, grew to include offices across Texas and Washington, DC. The company, which represented companies and politicians, merged in 2001 with what is now Burson Cohn & Wolfe, according to the obituary.
Long-time friend Larry Temple said Read was “a throwback to a time long gone.”
“He knew how to be a gentleman, he knew how to treat people with kindness. He knew how to treat people with decency. He was collegiate, he worked with people,” said Temple, an attorney who works for Connally worked and later served as special advisor to President Lyndon B. Johnson.
“John Connally had no closer or better adviser, strategist, than Julian,” said Temple.
Read also worked on presidential campaigns. According to his obituary, his first was for Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, and he continued to work for Presidents Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush.
“All of these people wanted his advice, his advice, his judgment, his support. And that’s probably the ultimate confirmation of who he was,” said Temple.
Read’s book “JFK’s Last Hours in Texas: An Eyewitness Recalls the Tragedy and Its Consequences” was published in 2013, the 50th anniversary of the assassination attempt.
“People would call him every anniversary year,” Hoffman said.
A memorial service for Read will be held Thursday during the funeral at Texas State Cemetery, Austin.
Read, who was preceded by his wife’s death, is survived by his daughters Hoffman and Ellen Read and three grandchildren.