Credit: Dale K. Myers

Oak Cliff, Dallas, Texas

A Long Overlooked Honor

Over almost five decades, much has changed near the intersection of Tenth and Patton streets in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas. Many of the wood frame homes that lined the streets in 1963 are gone, replaced by newer brick houses. And the expansion of Adamson High School now covers three corners.

Despite the changes, one thing had remained constant - there had never been an official recognition that Dallas police Officer J.D. Tippit had died in the line of duty there as he tried to stop Lee Harvey Oswald.

While other JFK assassination locations in Dallas, even the building where Oswald was shot, had been granted historical status by federal, state or city governments, there had been anything erected at Tenth and Patton.

That changed on the afternoon of November 20, 2012, when the Dallas Independent School District (ISD), Dallas Police Department and the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League dedicated a Texas Historical Commission marker to forever remember Tippit's sacrifice.
Credit: Dale K. Myers
Invite to the 2012 dedication ceremony

Two years earlier, WFAA television reporter Brad Watson pointed out the long lapse of attention paid to a Tippit marker in Oak Cliff. In response, the Oak Cliff
Conservation League, led by Michael Amonett, applied to the state for a marker. Former FBI analyst Farris Rookstool submitted a narrative of what happened and the Texas Historical Foundation, with the help of its then president Tom Doell, donated $5,000 for the approved marker.

Most important, the Dallas ISD and trustee Eric Cowan saw the educational and historical importance of the location right there at the edge of their new high school campus and set aside space on the northeast corner.
Credit: Dale K. Myers
Brad Watson

Dedication Ceremony - Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A crowd of about 200 people including Tippit's widow Marie; his children, Allen, Brenda and Curtis Tippit; his sister Joyce DeBord; brothers Don, Wayne, and Edward; and other family members; and police officers past and present were on hand for the dedication ceremony.

Credit: Dale K. Myers Credit: Tippit Family Collection
Allen Tippit
Marie Tippit
Standing and sitting under a cloudless sky, they watched members of the Adamson ROTC present the colors, heard the Dallas police choir sing God Bless America and listened while speakers praised the slain officer and his family.

"Officer Tippit did what hundreds of Dallas police
officers do and have done every day since this tragedy," said Dallas school trustee Eric Cowan. "He did his job, and as a result he gave the ultimate sacrifice and we as a community should - now thanks to this marker - never forget what happened on that day."

The Oak Cliff Conservation League's Mike Amonett reflected on the fact that for forty-nine years, the death of President Kennedy had been memorialized, while Tippit's sacrifice had been largely forgotten.

"We honor Officer Tippit here today to try in a small way to right that," Amonett
Credit: Dale K. Myers
The Dallas police choir performs
said. "This has been a long time coming. I hope this is a way to say we are grateful for your sacrifice and that we are sorry for your loss."

"We honor Officer Tippit here today to try in a small way to right that," Amonett said. "This has been a long time coming. I hope this is a way to say we are grateful for your sacrifice and that we are sorry for your loss."

Credit: Dale K. Myers
Adamson HS ROTC squad
Dallas police Chief David Brown told those gathered that "there is no greater love than this: That a man would lay down his life for his fellow man."

And after recounting details of the Tippit shooting and Oswald's arrest, he said, "May God's grace continue to bless and heal this family."

During her own brief remarks, Marie Tippit noted that her husband "died just a few steps from here, doing his job, enforcing the law. It's such an honor what they are doing for J.D. I appreciate it so much."

Curtis and Brenda Tippit said they were thankful for the public support and recognition of their father.
"It validates his service," Curtis said. And the marker "should remind people of what police officers go through every day."

Credit: Dale K. Myers
L to R: Joyce (Tippit) DeBord with Don, Marie, Edward, and Wayne Tippit

The marker was unveiled and Marie Tippit smiled.

At Tenth and Patton, applause split the air where forty-nine years earlier gunshots had torn away the life of one of the city's faithful public servants.

Lest anyone forget.  [1]

Credit: Dale K. Myers
State Historic plaque at Tenth & Patton

Texas State Marker Location - Oak Cliff, Dallas, TX

The Texas State Historical marker honoring J.D. Tippit is located in Oak Cliff at the intersection of Tenth and Patton. You'll find the marker on the northeast corner.

Credit: Dale K. Myers/USGS
Aerial photograph showing the location of the Texas State Historical Marker at Tenth &: Patton, Oak Cliff

View Larger Map
Use the interactive map above to explore the marker location and surrounding area.

Next: Dallas Police Memorial, Dallas, TX


  1. Compiled from: Watson, Brad, "Brad Watson: A long-overlooked honor for Officer J.D. Tippit," Dallas Morning News, Nov. 19, 2012; Appleton, Roy, "Historical marker for slain police officer J.D. Tippit unveiled in Oak Cliff ceremony," Dallas Morning News, Nov. 20, 2013] [RETURN]