Gary Mack, the longtime curator of the Sixth Floor Museum and an expert on the President Kennedy assassination, died this morning. He was 68.
The museum posted on its Facebook page: “The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is immensely saddened by the death of curator Gary Mack. Gary spent the last three decades as one of the world’s premier resources on the subject of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and he will be sorely missed.”
He had been suffering a “rare and aggressive” form of cancer, according to his wife, Karin Strohbeck, with whom he lived in Arlington.
Mack joined the museum in 1994. He was a co-producer of the KERA-TV documentary “JFK: Breaking The News,” which offered a close-up look at how reporters covered the Kennedy assassination in Dallas in 1963.
The Sixth Floor Museum says a fund has been established in Mack’s honor. To make a donation, visit http://www.jfk.org/go/about/donate and indicate Gary Mack under tribute.
A JFK expert
Mack had an encyclopedic knowledge of just about everything related to the assassination and its aftermath.
In 2009, Mack talked with KERA’s Krys Boyd on "Think" about the documentary “The Lost JFK Tapes: The Assassination,” which used never-before-seen historical footage to tell the story of the assassination. Mack approached local TV stations to donate their assassination coverage to the Sixth Floor museum.
“What I understood, working in radio and TV in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for quite a while, was that this material needs to preserved, and it needs to be available to more than just the viewers and listeners in the Dallas Fort Worth area,” Mack said.
In a statement on its website, the Sixth Floor Museum said: "Aside from Gary serving as an invaluable research resource to press and researchers locally, nationally and internationally, Gary was a unique individual. No one knew this complicated historic material better than Gary. It was through him and the many long-standing relationships he built over the years that critical donations were secured that built the foundation of the Museum’s collections. None of this could have been achieved without his rapt attention to detail and constant sleuthing. Gary was always on the hunt for new material, new stories, new angles and dimensions."
Mack and conspiracy theories
The News reports that Mack "had long professed a belief, or at least a suspicion, that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone in killing the president. 'As conspiracy theorists like to say, you’re either a lone-nutter or you’re a CT – conspiracy theorist,'" Mack told the newspaper.
In 2009, on KERA's "Think," Mack said: "The reality is the public opinion surveys have shown that most people simply do not believe the lone gunman story of the Warren Commission. And they don’t really know what did happen and there are a lot of people who study it all the time. Part of my responsibility as curator at the museum is to be able to keep on top of all of this stuff and what’s going on and how that might change our exhibits or publications."
More on Mack
The Sixth Floor Museum says Mack worked in radio in Colorado, Arizona, Kansas and North Texas. From 1981-1993, he worked at KXAS-TV (NBC 5) as an announcer, camera operator and a producer. He also oversaw the station's news film archive.
Explore 22 Days In November, a JFK series
Throughout November 2013, KERA marked the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination with 22 Days In November, which took a closer look at that fateful day, what it meant to the country, how it affected Dallas, and more. Read installments from the series here.
A 2013 profile
Videos featuring Gary Mack
From C-SPAN: Mack gives a museum tour
From 2013: Mack reflects on 50th anniversary of JFK assassination
Mack talks about the JFK assassination