Category: Archive

Eunice Kennedy Shriver praised as inspirational

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Shriver, who was best known as the founder of the Special Olympics, was the fifth-born of the nine children of Joseph P. and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy.
U.S. News and World Report 1993 cover story about her said: “When the full judgment of the Kennedy legacy is made – including J.F.K.’s Peace Corps and Alliance for Progress, Robert Kennedy’s passion for civil rights and Ted Kennedy’s efforts on health care, workplace reform and refugees – the changes wrought by Eunice Shriver may well be seen as the most consequential,”
Shriver was particularly close to her sister Rosemary, who was developmentally disabled and was later committed to an institution, and she cited this as the reason for her activism in this area. She once said: “If I never met Rosemary, never knew anything about handicapped children, how would I have ever found out? Because nobody accepted them anyplace. So where would you find out? Unless you had one in your own family.”
She is survived by her husband Robert Sargent Shriver, the former ambassador and the Democratic vice-presidential candidate in 1972, whom she married in 1953, and her five children. Sen. Edward Kennedy, who is battling cancer, and former Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith are the last surviving siblings of President Kennedy.
President Obama issued a statement after hearing of the death: “Michelle and I were deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Eunice was many things to many people: a mother who inspired her children to serve others; a wife who supported her husband Sargent in the Peace Corps and in politics; and a sister to her siblings, including brothers John, Robert, and Edward. But above all, she will be remembered as the founder of the Special Olympics, as a champion for people with intellectual disabilities, and as an extraordinary woman who, as much as anyone, taught our nation – and our world – that no physical or mental barrier can restrain the power of the human spirit.
“Her leadership greatly enriched the lives of Special Olympians throughout the world, who have experienced the pride and joy of competition and achievement thanks to her vision. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sargent; their children Robert, Maria, Timothy, Mark, and Anthony; and the entire Kennedy family.”
Congressman Richard E. Neal of Massaschusetts said: “As a friend and supporter of the Kennedy family for more than 40 years, I am deeply saddened to learn that Eunice Kennedy Shriver has passed away. Having met her on many occasions, she was a remarkably bright and energetic woman who lived a life dedicated to improving the lives of others. I fondly remember her visits western Massachusetts either campaigning for her brother Ted, or for her tireless support of those with intellectual disabilities.”
Neal continued: “Through her groundbreaking work in the Special Olympics, she brought the Kennedy family’s well known commitment to public service to a challenging and different endeavor. But one that was deeply personal. Inspired by her sister Rosemary, she began to raise awareness of the developmentally disabled in the early 1960’s, and continued to champion that cause for the rest of her life.
“I can say emphatically that Eunice Kennedy Shriver singlehandedly made the Special Olympics the great success it is today. For her efforts, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It was a fitting tribute to an extraordinary woman.”
Vice President Biden said: “Jill and I are deeply saddened by the news of Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s passing. Eunice was one of those rare individuals whose energy and spirit were contagious. She inspired everyone around her to be better, to see beyond themselves, and to experience joy in life through service.
Not long after her brother John became President in 1961, Eunice convinced him and their siblings to reveal a closely guarded family secret: that their sister Rosemary had an intellectual disability. I will never forget the groundbreaking and personal story she wrote about Rosemary for The Saturday Evening Post, in which Eunice brought to light the hidden lives, and the amazing untapped potential, of people with intellectual disabilities.”

Other Articles You Might Like

Sign up to our Daily Newsletter

Click to access the login or register cheese