passed away this weekend.... http://www.news8austin.com/content/top_stories/default.asp?ArID=169863 Former Texas first lady Nellie Connally dead at 87 Updated: 9/2/2006 10:54 PM By: Associated Press <!-- //===== START BODY =====\\ --> Nellie Connally, the widow of former Gov. John Connally and the last remaining survivor who rode in President Kennedy's limousine when he was assassinated, has died, a longtime family friend said Saturday. She was 87. She died late Friday at Westminster Manor in Austin, an assisted living center where she was living for about a year after moving from Houston, said Julian Read, who was press secretary to John Connally in the 1960s. "Total surprise. She has been extremely active and vital the past few days and weeks," Read said. "It's a shock to all of us." Her death was from natural causes, though the exact cause was not yet known. She was at her desk writing thank-you notes when she died, Read said. The most enduring image she had of the day Kennedy was shot in November 1963 in Dallas was of a mixture of blood and roses, Mrs. Connally had said. "It's the image of yellow roses and red roses and blood all over the car ... all over us," she said in a 2003 interview with The Associated Press. "I'll never forget it. ... It was so quick and so short, so potent." As the limousine carrying the Connallys and the Kennedys wound its way through the friendly crowd in downtown Dallas, Nellie Connally turned to President Kennedy, who was in a seat behind her, and said, "Mr. President, you can't say Dallas doesn't love you." Almost immediately, she heard the first of what she later concluded were three gunshots in quick succession. Connally slumped after the second shot, and, "I never looked back again. I was just trying to take care of him," she said. Her book, From Love Field: Our Final Hours with President John F. Kennedy, was published in 2003. The photo-filled volume was based on 22 pages of handwritten notes she compiled back in the Governor's Mansion about a week or so after Kennedy was killed. After putting the notes in a filing cabinet, she forgot about them and didn't rediscover them until 1996. "I was going through the file and I saw this stack of yellow tablet paper and I thought, 'What in heaven's name is that?'" she told the AP when the book was published. "And I read it, and I thought it was pretty good." Anniversaries and inevitable media interviews followed the Connallys for decades after the tragedy in Dallas. "Former Texas first lady Nellie Connally holds a special place in Texans' hearts. Long before she was propelled into the national spotlight from the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, she was a Texas icon," Texas Gov. Rick Perry said in a prepared statement Saturday. Perry said Nellie Connally was "the epitome of graciousness" and that she and her late husband leave a long legacy of service to the people of Texas.