"Today [July 15, 2015], The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza lost our very dear friend, highly esteemed colleague and brilliant co-worker, Gary Mack, after a prolonged illness. Gary spent the last three decades as one of the world’s premier resource specialists on the subject of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963.
Before officially joining The Sixth Floor Museum as Archivist in 1994, Gary held an established reputation as a subject matter expert and resource on Kennedy assassination history and details. Gary served as one of several consultants in the planning stages and development of the original museum exhibit that opened in February 1989, as “John F. Kennedy and the Memory of a Nation”, on the sixth floor of the former Texas School Book Depository Building (now The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza).
He joined The Sixth Floor’s regular staff in 1994, to oversee the early development and growth of the Museum’s archival collections and was named Curator in 2000 – a role he served even through his recent illness. His many curatorial responsibilities included identifying and acquiring artifacts, guiding the restoration and preservation of the museum's collection of films, photographs, video and audio tapes, and contributing his vast knowledge and subject matter expertise on the Kennedy assassination to all Museum initiatives—including many temporary exhibitions, updates to the permanent exhibit, public and educational programming, and several special productions.
Because of his often laser-focus on the Kennedy assassination, those of us who worked with him were sometimes surprised when he would share bits of his detailed knowledge on other subjects – like the history of rock n’roll. In typical Gary fashion, he would usually connect it back to the Kennedy story in some manner. Always quick with a pun, Gary, was without fail, a fascinating person to talk to, to laugh with, and from whom there was always something new and different to learn. Life was never dull around him.
Gary devoted almost all his professional work and a good portion of his personal time to assisting, advising and consulting with researchers, filmmakers, and press/media from around the globe.
Gary will be profoundly missed, but his spirit will live on at the Museum and in Dealey Plaza."
— The Sixth Floor Museum
at Dealey Plaza; July 15, 2015
DAVID VON PEIN SAID:
I can't believe this sad news. Just awful. Gary Mack was only 68. Way too young. :(
"Gary [Mack] is loaded with good and useful info about the JFK case. I doubt there's another person alive who has so much overall knowledge about this case. And I, for one, appreciate it when he takes the time to write to me by e-mail with all kinds of informative details." -- DVP; July 1, 2015
My last e-mail from Gary was just three days before his death. And I really feel bad when reading it again right now, because the last words he ever wrote to me were these --- "Will check it out."
Here's the full e-mail I received from Gary on July 12, 2015 (and "Jimmy D" is referring to James DiEugenio).....
Subject: Oswald picks up his new rifle
Date: 7/12/2015 3:56:06 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
From: Gary Mack
To: David Von Pein
Jimmy D seems to think that since Oswald had to work until 5pm, he could not have picked up his new rifle at the Ervay Street post office. Why is that? I'm pretty sure that, as the main post office in 1963, it was open late until 7pm, 10pm or later. The USPS scaled back operations at Ervay decades ago when a new main office opened west of downtown, and now Ervay closes at 5pm. Will check it out.
He was sick and yet still writing helpful e-mails to people he never met (like me), and was promising still more information that he wanted to "check out".
God bless you, Gary. And thanks (as always).
David Von Pein
July 15, 2015
DALE MYERS SAID:
I first met Gary Mack thirty years ago at KXAS-TV during one of my many trips to Dallas. He could be stubborn and opinionated at times, especially when defending the Badge Man image or the acoustics evidence, but no one ever questioned his passion for or his vast knowledge of a case he spent the better part of his life researching. He was a go-to source for all things JFK and will be sorely missed.
JOHN McADAMS SAID:
Regardless of whether one agreed with Gary on this or that issue, one has to recognize he was instinctively helpful, and would help people regardless of their view of the assassination.
I remember calling him in the late 1990s, asking about "Badgeman." He was quite upfront that he and Jack White tried to get the photo authenticated at MIT and Cal Tech. Experts at neither place could prove it was a shooter -- although they didn't debunk it either.
He just supplied a lot of information in an honest and straightforward way.
DAVID VON PEIN SAID:
I'd like to also add that Gary Mack's immense knowledge of small little JFK details helped me a lot when putting together a section of the JFK assassination book that I helped Mel Ayton write ("Beyond Reasonable Doubt"). I was able to use some of Gary's e-mails to me regarding Oswald's rifle purchase in a chapter of the book.
I will always be grateful to Gary for sharing so much information with me. And most of the stuff he e-mailed me was completely unsolicited too. He was doing it on his own because he wanted the truth to get out there to people. And he wanted a lot of the crazy conspiracy myths associated with President Kennedy's murder to stop too. And Gary probably did more along those lines (debunking unfounded conspiracy theories) than anybody else I can think of.
David Von Pein
July 16, 2015
DAVID VON PEIN SAID:
Thank you for this video, Sixth Floor Museum [also embedded below]. Just like one of the participants in that tribute video, I too already miss the e-mail chats that I would regularly have with Gary Mack. He would often write to me just to give me a tiny little piece of JFK-related information. And I know he did the same thing for many other people too. I always looked forward to seeing an e-mail message from Gary in my inbox.
And another thing I miss is seeing his name at the bottom of the page at The Education Forum (where he was a member). If I saw the name "Gary Mack" pop up at the bottom of the page, it always made me feel good, because it meant that Gary was, at that moment, looking through the posts on the forum. And it also meant that Gary would probably soon be reading something I had written at that forum too. Which often would also mean another e-mail chat might be coming up very soon too, pertaining perhaps to Lee Harvey Oswald's rifle purchase or the manner in which Jack Ruby was able to sneak into the police basement or the business hours at the Dallas post office in 1963 or any of dozens of other topics relating to the JFK assassination.
David Von Pein
August 29, 2015