DALLAS, Nov. 23, 1963 (UPI) - Texas Gov. John Connally, recovering from a sniper's bullet after four hours of surgery, was told by his wife today that his friend John F. Kennedy had died of his wounds.
"It was pretty well resolved in his own mind that the president was dead," said Connally's administrative assistant, Bill Stinson.
Connally rested well during the night.
President Johnson called to check on his condition.
A medical bulletin issued at 3 p.m. EST said Gov. Connally "is in control of his faculties. His vital signs (pulse, respiration, blood pressure) are stable. The last X-rays of his chest are good. Doctors are pleased with his continuing progress. He is mentally clear."
Dr. Tom Shires had said earlier "all vital signs are good."
The governor facing the president in the White House limousine yesterday swiveled in horror when the first two bullets struck Kennedy. The quick movement probably saved his life.
The next bullet struck Connally and sped downward from the collarbone through the right side of his chest. It smashed three ribs, punctured his lung, shattered his right wrist, and lodged in his left leg just above the knee.
"If he had not turned," said Shires, "the bullet would have gone through the middle of his back and probably would have punctured his heart."
Connally, 46, was a close personal friend of President Kennedy. Connally resigned in 1961 as Kennedy's first secretary of Navy to run successfully for the governor's post.
Bill Stinson, the governor's administrative assistant, said Connally would stay at Parkland Memorial Hospital for "an indefinite time." Stinson praised the facilities and staff at the hospital.
A team of three surgeons removed Connally's fifth rib and repaired the damaged lung. Shires said there probably would be no permanent damage.
Julian Read, the governor's press aide, said:
"The governor's most discomforting problem at present is that his right arm is in suspension and it is in a heavy cast from his right elbow to his wrist. This makes resting difficult."
Family members at the bedside today besides Mrs. Connally were four brothers, Merrill, Stamford, Wayne and Golfrey; a sister, Mrs. Blanche Kline, Dallas; his mother, Mrs. J.B. Connally and son, Johnny, 17. The governor's two children, Sharron, 13, and Mark, 11, were in school in Austin when their father was shot. An aide brought them to the governor's mansion.
The governor had but one thought when he came out of the anesthesia - his wife.
"Where is Nellie?" he asked.
She came into the room and he said: "How are the kids?"