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His moment with JFK caught forever on film

July 09, 2005|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

Retired after a long and distinguished career with the Maryland State Police, Hugh Everline has many memories of those years. But there is one moment that stands out - a moment captured in a photograph that hangs on the wall of Everline's Hagerstown home.

The picture shows Everline standing shoulder to shoulder with John F. Kennedy as the late U.S. president attended the dedication of the John F. Kennedy Highway at the Maryland-Delaware state lines.

Chillingly, the picture was snapped on Nov. 15, 1963, just seven days before the president was assassinated in Dallas.

"I was in my office a week later when I heard the news," Everline said. "It was hard to believe ... him the president of the United States."

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A lieutenant then, Everline had been assigned to that road - previously known as the Northeast Expressway - which had its own barrack assigned to the 40-mile length of road spanning three counties.

At that time, the barrack's 35 personnel and four clerks were housed in the Maryland State Highway Administration building.

"On the dedication day, the road wasn't actually open yet," Everline said. "There was a rope across it with traffic waiting to flow right after the ceremony."

The highway administration had set up the dedication ceremony and in fact, it was one of their employees who snapped the picture of Everline with the president. "There was such a crowd there he had to hold the camera over his head, shoot and hope he got something," Everline said.

Later Everline learned the picture had been taken of him and the president and he managed to get a copy of it.

Now 84, Everline recalls having a newspaper route in Hagerstown when he was 12. "I paid a penny a paper and I sold each paper for two cents," he said. In high school, he learned auto mechanics and worked at Fleigh Motors for a while.

He also worked with his dad in Baltimore and around Maryland in sales and collections but was looking around for something else when a poker game changed his life. "I played poker with a state police motorcycle cop and he recruited me," Everline said.

He made the grade to be in the state police, working for two years as a trooper before World War II interrupted his career and Everline went into the Marines. He married his wife, Judy, in 1942 and their son was born while Everline was on active duty in the Pacific.

He and Judy had another child and when Judy passed away in May, the Everlines had one grandchild and one great-grandchild.

After his discharge in 1946, Everline checked in at Pikesville, Md., and resumed his career as a trooper, rising through the ranks and the barracks, retiring in 1973 with the rank of major as planning officer and chief inspector based in Pikesville.

Along the way, Everline earned his bachelor's and law degrees. He taught at Harford Community College for four years after he retired from the state police. Later, he and Judy moved to Georgia, where they owned and operated a chicken farm for eight years before returning to Hagerstown.

There were many memorable events in Everline's life and career, but he said he will always remember that day so long ago when for one brief moment, his path crossed with the 35th president of the United States.

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