J. D. Tippit, police officer, was born in Clarksville, Red River County, Texas, on September 18, 1924, to Edgar Lee and Lizzie Mae (Rush) Tippit. He attended public schools through the tenth grade and during World War II served as a volunteer in the Seventeenth Airborne Division of the United States Army from July 21, 1944, to June 30, 1946. On December 26, 1946, he married Marie Frances Gasaway in Clarksville, moved with her to Dallas, and went to work for the Dearborn Stove Company. He worked in the installation department at Sears, Roebuck and Company from March 1948 to September 1949, when he resigned and moved to the farming community of Lone Star, where he attempted to raise cattle. Listing "general farming" as his course of training, he attended a Veterans Administration vocational training program at Bogata, Texas, from January 1950 to June 1952, and then withdrew to move again to Dallas. After working for a while as a carpenter's helper and doing odd jobs for a steel company, Tippit joined the Dallas Police Department as a patrolman on July 28, 1952. His usual assignment was day patrol in Oak Cliff, and he did some off-duty work to supplement his income. In 1956 he was cited for bravery for his role in disarming a fugitive from justice. Tippit was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald, assassin of President John F. Kennedy, on November 22, 1963, after stopping Oswald for questioning on an Oak Cliff street (see KENNEDY ASSASSINATION). In January 1964 he was awarded posthumously the Medal of Valor from the National Police Hall of Fame and in June of that year was given the Police Medal of Honor, the Police Cross, and the Citizens Traffic Commission Award of Heroism. Tippet was a Baptist and the father of three children. He was buried in the memorial plot at Laurel Land Memorial Park, Dallas.
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Dallas Morning News, November 23, 25, 26, 1963, January 19, 1964. Hearings before the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, Vol. 26 (Washington: GPO, 1964). President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, Report (Washington: GPO, 1964).
Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
Dallas/Fort Worth Region
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Joan J. Perez,
“Tippit, J. D.,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 25, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
July 1, 1995
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: