GOSHEN — Former Goshen Mayor Mike Puro and current Goshen Mayor Allan Kauffman each remember where they were 50 years ago today when they received word that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated.
They were in the same room inside Goshen High School as freshmen in Fred Blosser’s math class. That afternoon Blosser’s wife, a secretary to the principal, entered the classroom and had a quick conversation with her husband.
“She was upset,” Puro remembers. “Mr. Blosser kept on teaching the class after saying an announcement would be made at the beginning of the next class. And just before the class ended, Mr. Blosser told us that because we were in an advanced math class, we were mature enough and he told us the president had been assassinated.”
Kauffman recalls the sense of shock the news had on the student body.
“I remember kids walking in the hallways, dumbfounded,” Kauffman said. “It was incredulous. Kids were passing in the hall saying, ‘It can’t be possible.’ It had never happened before (in their lifetimes). It wasn’t announced over the PA system. Each teacher told us in their class.”
It was a Friday, and Goshen was scheduled to host a basketball game that night with Fort Wayne North Side.
They played the game, but it was somber,” said Puro, who was a member of the GHS pep band. “(School officials) had said JFK would want us to play that game.”
Both Puro and Kauffman went on to graduate from Goshen High School in 1967 and later serve as Democrats on Goshen’s City Council. Puro was elected mayor in 1987 and served in office from 1988 to 1997 when he resigned with more than two years left on his final term. Kauffman was selected to complete Puro’s four-year term and has since been re-elected to office four times.