Big George

Big George was what you call upper class.  He was born in the Russian Empire, now Belarus.  His name was von Mohrenschildt back in Europe.  He changed it after coming to the United States.  His brother, Dimitri,  who worked at Dartmouth, still used the original family name.  

George completed much of his education in Europe, of course, finally attaining a doctor of science degree in international commerce from the University of Liege, Belgium in 1938.  He came to the United States shortly thereafter .  He arrived in Dallas in the early 1950s.  Perhaps he should have stayed in Europe.  In the United States he was always going to be under suspicion even though he eventually worked with the CIA.  Despite the usual denials, George was an intelligence man.  

His close friend, Sam Ballen, called him Mischka.  Mischka means bear in Russian, and that is what George was, a big Russian, barrel-chested bear.  He was hail-fellow-well-met, and I don’t mean that in a pejorative way.  He was gregarious and outgoing and, well, the life of the party.  He made you feel good. In his mannerisms he was Bohemian.  He spoke his mind freely and often with crudeness.   He was contrarian.  He and his wife would walk around in tennis shorts and bathing suits to the most formal of affairs.  Once, Sam Ballen invited him to listen to his rabbi speak at the Temple, and George showed up in tennis shorts.  His wife wore a bathing suit. 

Everyone liked George. That’s what makes an intelligence operative so effective.  You couldn’t not like him.  Consequently, George was able to ingratiate himself into any group.  He could go uptown, and he could go downtown.  When he was living on the East Coast, he knew the Bouviers and even bounced young Jackie on his knee.  He had also met young George Herbert Walker Bush through his step-nephew, Edward Hooker, while Hooker was a student at Phillips Academy in Andover.  Hooker and Bush were room-mates.  

When George came to Dallas, he was a natural for working his way into important circles.  He soon joined the Dallas Petroleum Club and then the Dallas Council on World Affairs, a group put together by Neil Mallon, a mentor and friend to GHWB.  His important friends included  Clint Murchison, H.L. Hunt, John W. Mecom, Sr., and Sid Richardson. George also joined the right-wing Texas Crusade for Freedom, whose members included Earle Cabell, Everette DeGolyer, Harold Byrd and Ted Dealey.

Ted Dealey?  Ted Dealey was  the guy who said this to JFK at a luncheon:

“The general opinion of the grassroots thinking in this country is that you and your administration are weak sisters. If we stand firm, there will be no war. The Russians will back down. We need a man on horseback to lead this nation, and many people in Texas and the Southwest think that you are riding Caroline’s tricycle.”

This is the environment in which George found himself even if he may not have agreed politically with his friends.  On some occasions he could be heard to voice support for the communists.  Perhaps this kind of banter ingratiated himself to Lee Oswald.  Lee liked George, and George liked Lee.  They were a team of sorts.  George’s job, it seems, was to look after Lee, to offer support when needed.  

Did George D know what Oswald was up to?  I doubt it.  Successful missions are compartmentalized.  Loose lips sink ships.

After the deed was done and JFK was dead, George slowly went down hill.  His life had been tough enough before the assassination.  He had never been a great geologist; consequently he suffered economically.  That’s why he and Jeanne were living in an apartment.  George  was more of a ladies man than a geologist.  He constantly talked about women.  According to Everett Glover, he was an adolescent.  

“Mr. JENNER. Would you say he really had somewhat adolescent tendencies and had never grown up?
Mr. GLOVER. I would say that he was very much so; yes.
Mr. JENNER. In your time and my time, we talked about “Joe College.” Is that expression familiar to you? 
Mr. GLOVER. Yes.
Mr. JENNER. Was he that kind of a person, breezy?
Mr. GLOVER. Yes; very much so. Very outspoken. His language sometimes wasn’t very nice. He said anything he wanted to say.
Mr. JENNER. Was he, in his conversation, somewhat of a braggart?
Mr. GLOVER. Yes; he was.
Mr. JENNER. Talked about himself a great deal and what his accomplishments were and so forth?
Mr. GLOVER. Yes; he did. He was somewhat of a braggart. He did, like many, many people, he embroidered things. I had the feeling one could never place full stock in exactly all the things he said. He was like a lot of people, he embroidered things. Not so much a braggart exactly as just one who just talked a lot about everything. I think, yes; he was sort of a braggart in a way.
Mr. JENNER. What would you say were his attitudes and his relationships, first, with the male sex, and second with the ladies? 
Mr. GLOVER. Female sex?
Mr. JENNER. Overall attitude.
Mr. GLOVER. His overall attitude, one of his preoccupations was sex, seemingly, the female sex. He used to talk about every female he saw go by. He would ride along in his car and blow the horn at any female he saw going down the street. And his attitude toward males, as far as I know, there was no particular, nothing particular to be said on that subject.”

At any rate, George married four times and divorced four times. He had one child, Alexandra, from his first marriage.  He had two other children from his third marriage to Dede Sharples.  Both children had cystic fibrosis and died. 

Everybody only sees the bad in George.  Nobody sees the good.  George did a lot of volunteer work for CF, collected a lot of money for the cause.  He was a good person, a good person who got wrapped up in a bad deed.  And so in the moments before he was to testify before the HSCA in 1977, he pulled out a gun and shot himself.  Why would he do that?  He had been depressed, sure, but why not testify and then do yourself in?  What would be the harm?  What could they do to him? 

​I think the powers-that-be threatened to kill his daughter should he testify.  Why wouldn’t they; they killed the President of the United States. 

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