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Warren Commission Report: Page 786« Previous | Next »

(APPENDIX XVI - A Biography of Jack Ruby)

was fully capable of defending himself.109 Another friend described Ruby as quick tempered and, though unlikely to pick fights, willing to accept any challenge without regard to the odds against him.110 Young Jack also interfered in fights, particularly when the person he was aiding appeared to be taking a severe beating or in a disadvantageous position.111 Others reported that he had the reputation of being a good street brawler.112 One school friend recalled that when Jack argued vehemently about sports, he occasionally used a stick or other available weapon. He reported, however, that after Ruby's anger subsided, he reverted to his normal, likable character.113


From early childhood, Jack Ruby was called "Sparky" by those who knew him.114 According to his sister Eva Grant, the nickname derived from the way Jack wobbled when he walked. He was thought to resemble the slow-moving horse called "Sparky" or "Sparkplug" depicted in a contemporary comic strip. Mrs. Grant testified that her brother became incensed when called "Sparky" and that from the time he was about 8 years old he would strike anyone calling him by that name.115 A childhood friend also recalled that Jack hated the nickname and would fight when called by it.116 Mrs. Grant was unsure whether the nickname "Sparky" did not also result from his quick reaction to the taunts of young friends.117 Hyman Rubenstein thought that the nickname derived from Jack's speed, aggressiveness, and quick thinking. The many accounts of Ruby's lightninglike temper lend credence to the theory, widely held, that his nickname was connected with his volatility.118

YOUNG MANHOOD (1933-43)

San Francisco (1933-37)

Jack Ruby reported that in about 1933, he and several Chicago friends went to Los Angeles and, shortly thereafter, to San Francisco.119 Although there is evidence that he stayed there until 1938, 1939, or 1940,120 Ruby stated that he returned to Chicago in about 1937,121 and this appears to have been the case.122 Eva Grant testified that Ruby went to the west coast because he believed employment would be available there.123


Eva, who married Hyman Magid in Chicago in 1930,124 was divorced in early 1934, and in about June of that year joined her brother Jack in San Francisco. She and her son, Ronald, shared an apartment with him. In 1936, Eva married Frank Granovsky, also known as Frank Grant, in San Francisco, and Ruby shared a four- room apartment with them and Ronald for a short while.125

Occupations and Activities

Ruby stated that when he and his friends arrived in Los Angeles, they sold a handicapper's tip sheet for horseraces at Santa Anita race-
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