With the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination barely three months away, the New York Times appears to have solved one lingering question: the provenance of a curious gravestone that appeared next to Lee Harvey Oswald’s final resting place in Ft. Worth’s Shannon Rose Hill Cemetery about 15 years ago.
The stone, in the same shape and size as Oswald’s, says only “Nick Beef.” According to the Times, the gravestone’s mysterious appearance spurred much heated speculation in the JFK assassination community.
Turns out “Nick Beef” is the nom de guerre of Patric Abedin, a Ft. Worth native who, as a 6-year-old, actually saw Kennedy when he landed in Ft. Worth the day before the assassination.
Later, young Abedin often visited the cemetery with his mother. As they gazed down at Oswald’s grave, Abedin’s mom would tell him never to forget that he’d seen the president the day before his death.
Abedin/Beef actually purchased the plot when he was 18 after reading an article that said it remained unclaimed. He didn’t put a stone there until 1997, years after he had moved to New York City and joined comedy troupe.
The motivation for Abedin/Beef’s cemetery plot purchase is not entirely clear, even to himself. Given his profession, it might appear at first to have been an exercise in black comedic performance art, but he says there were more personal reasons involved — a reminder of the fragility of life and the sense of peace he felt when visiting the location.
As for the rest of the story, the Times story offers no ambiguity on one central issue: that Oswald, a “slight, sallow” man, “killed President John F. Kennedy.”