Connally also worked with President Richard Nixon, and after after changed political parties. He expired on June 15, 1993, in Houston, Texas. One of eight children, John Connally came from small means. For much of his youth, Connally lived in Harlandale, just outside of San Antonio, Texas. He earned both his undergraduate and law degrees in the University of Texas. There, he became interested in politics in addition to public speaking, and was elected president of the UT Student Association. His time in school additionally introduced Connally to Idanell (Nellie) Brill, whom he married in 1940. The couple would continue to have four kids together.
During World War II, Connally leveraged his qualifications as a lawyer to earn employment as a legal assistant to the Secretary of the Navy, James V. Forrestal. Connally was given a Bronze Star because of his wartime service. Military work did nothing to dampen Connally’s interest in politics. It was the beginning of a long and profitable and occasionally tumultuous partnership between the two Texans. In 1948, Connally handled Johnson’s successful election campaign for the U.S. Senate.
Unafraid of mudslinging, Connally helped make it understood that Kennedy had a health state, Addison’s disease, that could leave him dead without appropriate medicine. (The charge was accurate, but was denied by the Kennedy team.) Regardless of the bad blood between both campaigns, Connally worked to elect Kennedy after Johnson joined the ticket. In return, the new president delegated Connally to be Secretary of the Navy in 1961.
When shots were fired, Connally was hit with a bullet that passed through Kennedy. The governor was wounded on his back, chest, wrist and thigh, and wandered in and out of consciousness for days. He eventually became alert as he saw television coverage of Kennedy’s funeral.
To get a time, Connally was convinced that Kennedy’s alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, had meant to kill him instead. The reason, he explained, was that Oswald had once petitioned Connally, when he was Secretary of the Navy, to update his dismissal in the Marines. Connally had never reacted to the request. Connally served as governor of Texas until 1969. Connally formally became an associate of the Republican Party in 1973.
The past two decades of Connally’s life were a small roller coaster. In 1974, he was indicted for taking a $10,000 bribe (he was acquitted of the charges). Several years after, he spent a significant amount of money in a venture to ensure the Republican presidential nomination, but lost to Ronald Reagan. Connally was made to declare bankruptcy in 1988 after dropping $93 million into debt as an outcome of lousy real estate and petroleum investments.
At age 76, Connally expired on June 15, 1993, in the Methodist Hospital of Houston, Texas. His departure was the consequence of complications in the pulmonary fibrosis that his bullet wound had left him with. He was survived by his three remaining kids his oldest child, Kathleen, had died in 1958 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and his wife, Nellie.