Ruth Hyde Paine

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Ruth Avery Paine (Hyde)

Immediate Family:

Daughter of William A. Hyde and Private
Wife of Michael Ralph Paine

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Ruth Hyde Paine

Ruth Paine was born in 1932. She was educated at Swarthmore College. A committed Quaker, she was an active member of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Ruth married and settled in Irving, Texas. Her husband, Michael Paine, found employment as a research engineer with the Bell Helicopter Company, whereas Ruth was employed as a part-time teacher of the Russian language at St. Marks School in Dallas.

In 1963 Michael Paine left the family home. According to the author Jim Bishop (The Day Kennedy Was Shot), it was a "friendly estrangement". Ruth continued to live in Irving and at a party in February, 1963 she was introduced to Marina Oswald and Lee Harvey Oswald by George De Mohrenschildt. On 24th April, 1963, Marina and her daughter went to live with Ruth Paine. Lee Harvey Oswald rented a room in Dallas but stored some of his possessions in Ruth Paine’s garage. Ruth also helped Oswald to get a job at the Texas School Book Depository.

On 31st October, 1963, an FBI agent, James Hosty visited Paine's home to discover where Oswald was living. He spoke to both Paine and Marina Oswald about Lee Harvey Oswald. When Oswald heard about the visit he went to the FBI office in Dallas. When told that Hosty was at lunch Oswald left him a message in an envelope.

The contents of the envelope has remained a mystery. A receptionist working at the Dallas office claimed it included a threat to "blow up the FBI and the Dallas Police Department if you don't stop bothering my wife." Hosty later claimed it said: "If you have anything you want to learn about me, come talk to me directly. If you don't cease bothering my wife, I will take appropriate action and report this to the proper authorities."

According to fellow worker, Dave Noel, Michael Paine discussed the "character of assassins" a few hours before President John F. Kennedy was killed. He also returned to his home in Irving at 3.00 p.m. to find Dallas police officers searching the premises. He told the police: "As soon as I found out about it, I hurried over to see if I could help."

Anthony Summers reported in his book, The Kennedy Conspiracy that Michael Paine was overheard talking to his wife on the phone. He said that he was sure that Lee Harvey Oswald had killed John F. Kennedy. He added: "We both know who is responsible."


Ruth Hyde Paine (born September 3, 1932) was a friend of Marina Oswald, who was living with her at the time of the JFK assassination. Lee Harvey Oswald stored the 6.5 mm caliber Carcano rifle he allegedly used to assassinate US President John F. Kennedy in her garage, unbeknownst to her and her husband, Michael Paine.


Paine was born Ruth Avery Hyde. She went to Antioch College and became a Quaker. Through her interest in folk dancing and music she met her future husband Michael Paine. Though strictly speaking not a Quaker, Michael attended meetings with Ruth. They married on December 28, 1957.

In 1959 Michael Paine got a job with Bell Helicopter in Fort Worth, Texas and the Paines moved into a house in the suburb of Irving. As liberals in Dallas the Paines were isolated and Ruth Paine was quite lonely.

Ruth Paine had been studying Russian since 1957. In the late 1950s she participated in Quaker pen pal programs and the East-West Contact Committee, which sponsored visits by three Soviets to the US. In 1963 she signed up to teach a summer class in Russian at St. Mark's School in Dallas, but only one student signed up (William Hootkins, who became an actor and had a minor role in the movie Star Wars as X-Wing pilot Jek Porkins).

She met the Oswalds through her interest in Russian. A friend from a singing group, Everett Glover, invited her to a party on February 22, 1963 because he thought she would be interested in meeting people who spoke Russian. The Paines and Oswalds spent much time together after the party. Ruth befriended Marina though Lee was more distant, despite Ruth and Michael's efforts (and the Paines did not care for him much).

JFK Assassination

Ruth Paine drove Marina Oswald to New Orleans when the Oswalds moved there and back to Dallas when they moved again. When the Oswalds resettled in Dallas, Marina and the Oswald child moved in with Ruth Paine while Lee stayed in a boarding house under the name O.H. Lee. The second Oswald child was born after Marina moved in. Marina helped with the housework and Ruth’s Russian studies while Lee visited on weekends. By this time Michael and Ruth had separated, though their divorce was amicable and Michael was a frequent visitor. At the suggestion of a neighbor, Ruth Paine told Lee Oswald about a job opportunity at the Texas School Book Depository.

After the assassination Marina and Lee Oswald's mother Marguerite briefly stayed with Ruth Paine until Marina was taken into custody by the Secret Service. Marguerite and Lee's brother Robert did not like Ruth Paine, which may have influenced Marina Oswald. They thought Paine sought attention for herself, an opinion Marina would later express before the Warren Commission. Ruth wrote to Marina incessantly, with letters that took an almost desperate tone, but received no response except for a Christmas card. They met briefly in 1964 but afterwards they would never see each other again. Paine heard news about Marina through author Priscilla Johnson McMillan until McMillan’s relationship with Marina broke off in the early 1980s.

Paine was indirectly responsible for the discovery that Lee Oswald had attempted to assassinate General Edwin Walker in early 1963. Along with letters, Paine repeatedly sent Marina pictures and other items, one of which was a thick book of household advice in Russian, in which Marina had earlier concealed the note left by Lee for Marina the day he attempted to kill Walker. Previously, no one knew who Walker’s would-be assassin was and Marina had not volunteered the information.

Ruth Paine testified before the Warren Commission and has been interviewed by a number of authors, including Johnson, William Manchester and Gerald Posner. She has appeared in numerous documentaries and even a mock trial of Lee Harvey Oswald. She also testified in Jim Garrison's trial of Clay Shaw. Paine was not called to testify before the House Select Committee on Assassinations, although the HSCA tracked down a number of less significant witnesses like the Umbrella Man.

While discussions of her in mainstream press and publications have generally been kind, conspiracy theorists often depict the Paines in a negative light, attempting to connect them to various conspiracies going back generations since Michael Paine’s relatives and ancestors held important government and business positions. In Oliver Stone's JFK the Paines are depicted as Bill and Janet Williams, played by Gary Carter and Gail Cronauer. While most names in the movie have not been changed it has been suggested the Paines were renamed to avoid potential legal action. (The name Janet Williams was used again in the 1993 TV movie Fatal Deception: Mrs. Lee Harvey Oswald, in which the role was played by Quenby Bakke.)

Ruth Paine returned to Pennsylvania and became principal of a Quaker school. She soon moved to St. Petersburg, Florida and got a master’s degree in psychology at the University of South Florida. After working for the school system in Franklin County in the Florida Panhandle she returned to St. Petersburg and worked for the Hillsborough County, Florida school system until her retirement. She is active in Quaker and liberal charities and organizations and lives in Santa Rosa, California.

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Ruth Hyde Paine's Timeline