Michael Paine

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Michael Ralph Paine
BornJune 25, 1928
DiedMarch 1, 2018(2018-03-01) (aged 89)
EducationHarvard University
Swarthmore College
Spouse(s)Ruth Avery Hyde (m. 1957-1970)
ChildrenLynn Paine (b. 1959)
Christopher Paine (b. 1961)
Parent(s)Lyman Paine
Ruth Forbes Paine Young

Michael Ralph Paine (June 25, 1928 – March 1, 2018) was an engineer. He became notable after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, because he was an acquaintance of the President's assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. His wife, Ruth Hyde Paine, housed Lee's estranged wife, Marina Oswald, in her home for several months before the assassination until the day after it.

Early life[edit]

Paine was born in New York, New York. His father was Lyman Paine, an architect and activist. His mother was Ruth Forbes Young financial backer of International Peace Academy and daughter of Elise Cabot Forbes, a scion of the Cabot family. He had one sibling: Cameron Paine.[1]

Paine graduated from high school in New York in 1947. He attended Harvard University for two years in 1947-1949 and Swarthmore College for a year, but did not graduate.[1]


After serving in the U.S. Army, Paine worked a few months for Griswold Manufacturing Co. After that, Paine worked at the Bartol Research Foundation in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania for about a year. He then worked for his mother's third husband Arthur M. Young, making helicopter models in Pennsylvania.[1]

In 1958, Paine became employed at Bell Helicopter[1] through Young, his stepfather and designer of the first commercial helicopter, Bell 47.

Personal life[edit]

In 1957, he married Ruth Avery Hyde in Pennsylvania. They had two children:[1] Lynn (b. 1959) and Christopher (b. 1961).[2] In 1959, they relocated to 2525 West Fifth Street in Irving, Texas, a suburb of Dallas.[2] when Paine began work at a Bell Helicopter facility in Fort Worth. One issue is whether the Minox camera found in the Paine garage belonged to Lee Oswald or to Michael Paine. Another issue is what activities Lee Oswald and Michael Paine had in common, given Michael Paine's statement to Frontline (Who Was Lee Harvey Oswald?, PBS) that he and Lee Oswald shared unspecified interests.

In late September 1962, Paine and his wife Ruth separated, Ruth asked him to have his personal belongings moved out of the house by the time she got back home from traveling around the United States that summer. According to Michael, it was not he, but Ruth who pushed to legally end their marriage. As their divorce made its way through the legal system until it ended in 1970, the Paines continued to see films at the theater together, and their Madrigal singing as a couple continued. Michael kept his own apartment in Arington, Texas, while Ruth remained with Lynn and Christopher in the Irving home. In the end, the divorce was amicable, and Michael kept a very favorable view of Ruth.[3]

On February 22, 1963, Ruth Paine attended a party held at the home of her fellow madrigal singer, Everett Glover, who knew Ruth spoke Russian and thought she would be interested in meeting a couple he knew, Marina and Lee Harvey Oswald.[4] Lee had defected to Russia after serving in the Marine Corps, and Marina was Russian-born.[5] They had recently returned to the United States with their young daughter, June.[5]

Michael met the Oswalds for the first time on April 2, 1963. when he picked up Lee, Marina, and their baby daughter, June at their apartment at 214 West Neely Street in Dallas so that they could join with him in the small meet and greet dinner Mrs. Paine had cooked for them. From the start, Michael took an immediate dislike toward Lee when he picked the couple and June up. Oswald's demeaning words directed at his wife, Marina, whom Michael told author Thomas Mallon, was "having to take these whiplashes meekly and quietly and obediently," deeply offended him. Over the next seven months, Paine was upset by the fact that he refused to let Marina learn to read, speak, or write in English.[6]

Lee Harvey Oswald rented a room in Dallas but stored some of his possessions in Paine's garage, including a supposed rifle wrapped in a blanket which Paine thought to be camping equipment.[1] Paine's wife helped Oswald get a job at the Texas School Book Depository. Paine's testimony would later become a central feature of the Warren Commission's investigation of the assassination, particularly in regard to the presence of the purported assassination rifle in the garage of his family home.

Paine and his wife were portrayed in Oliver Stone's JFK as characters called "Bill and Janet Williams," presumably to avoid legal action.[7]

In 1964, Paine testified that he was a member of the American Civil Liberties Union.[1]

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported that Paine died March 1, 2018, in Sebastopol, California.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Testimony Of Michael R. Paine". Marquette University, reproduced from Warren Commission. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
  2. ^ a b Mallon, Thomas (December 3, 2001). "Marina and Ruth: The Assassin's Wife and the Quaker Who Took Her In". Marquette University, reproduced from The New Yorker. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
  3. ^ Mallon, Thomas (2002). Mrs. Paine's Garage and the Murder of President John F. Kennedy. New York, New York: Pantheon Books. pp. 22. ISBN 978-0-375-42117-4.
  4. ^ Mallon, Thomas (2002). Mrs. Paine's Garage and the Murder of John F. Kennedy. New York, New York: Pantheon Books. pp. 2, . ISBN 978-0-375-42117-4.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  5. ^ a b Mallon, Thomas (2002). Mrs. Paine's Garage and the Murder of President John F. Kennedy. New York, New York: Pantheon Books. pp. 25. ISBN 978-0-375-42117-4.
  6. ^ Mallon, Thomas (2002). Mrs. Paine's Garage and the Murder of President John F. Kennedy. New York, New York: Pantheon Books. pp. 28. ISBN 978-0-375-42117-4.
  7. ^ Reitzes, David (2001). "The JFK 100: "Bill and Janet Williams"". jfk-online.com. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
  8. ^ Smith, Chris (March 15, 2018). "Michael Paine, debated politics with JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, dies at 89". Santa Rosa Press Democrat. Santa Rosa, California. Retrieved March 17, 2018.