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Utah business displays JFK memorabilia

WEST JORDAN, Utah (ABC 4 News) – Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Throughout the years, a Utah company has had a piece of memorabilia from his visit to Utah tucked away in a back room.
WEST JORDAN, Utah (ABC 4 News) – Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

Throughout the years, a Utah company has had a piece of memorabilia from his visit to Utah tucked away in a back room.

“When the president was assassinated I knew it was something we'd want to keep for ever,” said Roger Richards, owner of Granite Furniture.

Granite Furniture, once a competitive chain, sold countless couches, sofas and chairs to Utahns since its opening in 1910.

But one piece was never for sale. “It's called a Boston rocker, kind of fitting for President Kennedy you know?” said Richards. It was fitting for a president with back pain. “Severe, he was always I think in a lot of pain, used to not show it when he was in the public arena,” said Richards.

Richards was just 16 when his dad, the owner of Granite Furniture, delivered a black and gold rocker to Hotel Utah. He believes the president appreciated it during his two-day stay in 1963.

“I guess it just gave him a lot of comfort,” he said.

After President Kennedy left town his staff returned the chair with a note engraved.

“This rocker was used by John F Kennedy, President of the United States during his stay at the Hotel Utah, September 26 and 27, 1963,” Richards read. “I immediately knew this was a keepsake.”

Two months later, President Kennedy was assassinated. “Everybody felt the pain of that assassination,” Richards said.

It was dark moment in the nation's history. In the years that followed all Granite stores eventually went dark too except for one in West Jordan that still holds on to one heck of a talker.

“For us to have this I felt we were pretty fortunate,” said Richards.

The chair will be on display at Granite Furniture in West Jordan through the holiday.

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