Gloversville native George Senator was Jack Ruby’s roommate in Dallas on Nov. 24, 1963, the day that Ruby shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald. Oswald was accused in the assassination two days earlier of President John F. Kennedy.
A commission headed by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren investigated the Kennedy assassination. The FBI interviewed Senator in December 1963. Investigators from the Warren Commission interviewed Senator extensively in April 1964.
Senator was born in Gloversville in 1913. He moved to New York City in 1929, where he lived with his sister and worked for a company that provided silk for women’s dresses. In 1932, he returned to Gloversville where he worked on and off in a restaurant called “Senator’s,” owned by his brother Jacob. The restaurant was located at 56 North Main St. and later at 8 Church St.
In 1941, George Senator enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving until 1945. Jacob Senator told the Leader Herald in 1963 that his brother George contracted malaria during the war in the South Pacific. After the war, George Senator worked for Denise Foods in New York City. He married, fathered a son named Bobby and divorced. He worked for a restaurant in Miami and later lived in Milwaukee and Chicago. He moved to Dallas in 1954.
In Dallas, Senator held various sales jobs — including selling picture post cards — plus doing work for nightclub owner Jack Ruby. Senator and Ruby shared an apartment in 1962 for about five months while Senator was unemployed. Senator moved out when he found work and had another roommate. Ruby moved to the same apartment building, 223 South Ewing. Senator had trouble making the rent when his new roommate moved out and again moved in with Ruby.
Senator said he and Ruby were very saddened by the assassination of the president on Friday, Nov. 22. Saturday night or Sunday morning, Senator said, Ruby received a call from Little Lynn, one of the dancers at his club, who needed money. According to Senator, Ruby left the apartment Sunday for two reasons — to pick up receipts from his Carousel Club and to wire money to the dancer, who was now in Fort Worth.
Ruby took his gun, which Senator said Ruby usually did when he was retrieving money from the club. He also took his dog Sheba in the car. Senator told investigators Ruby would not have taken his beloved dog if he had planned to kill Oswald.
Senator said he believed Ruby came up with the idea of shooting Oswald on the spur of the moment and said he did not think Ruby was involved in any “subversive organizations.”
Some assassination websites, however, state that Senator did tell Warren Commission investigator Arlen Specter, who went on to serve in the U.S. Senate, that Ruby did say he planned to kill Oswald before leaving the apartment.
Ruby ended up at Dallas police headquarters where Oswald was being escorted to a car for transport to the county jail. Ruby stepped out of a crowd to shoot and fatally wound Oswald. The shooting was broadcast live on national television.
Senator met that night in the apartment he and Ruby had shared with Ruby’s lawyer, Tom Howard, and two journalists. The three men who met with Senator died within 16 months. That fact has been seized upon by conspiracy theorists. However, Howard apparently died of a heart attack.
Ruby died after contracting pneumonia in 1967 while awaiting a new trial. Jacob Senator died in Gloversville in 1969 and George Senator was listed then as living in Las Vegas. George Senator died in 1992 according to the Spartacus Educational website.
Bob Cudmore is a freelance columnist. Opinions expressed in his column are his own and not necessarily the newspaper’s. Reach him at 346-6657 or firstname.lastname@example.org.