Remembering Eunice Kennedy Shriver

By Sadie Bass

Aug 11, 2009 10:38am

Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics and sister of former President John F. Kennedy and Sen. Ted Kennedy, died this morning at the age of 88.  "She was the light of our lives, a mother, wife, grandmother, sister and aunt who taught us by example and with passion what it means to live a faith-driven life of love and service to others," the Shriver family said in a written statement.  "For each of us, she often seemed to stop time itself — to run another Special Olympics games, to visit us in our homes, to attend to her own mother, her sisters and brothers, and to sail, tell stories, and laugh and serve her friends."   Shriver was the fifth of nine children born to Joseph Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy.  Born July 10, 1921, she was inspired by her older sister, Rosemary Kennedy, who was mentally handicapped.  In June 1962, she began working at a day camp for the handicapped in Rockville, Md, and from that camp the idea for the Special Olympics emerged.  In December 1968, she helped establish the charitable organization. Shriver is survived by two siblings, her husband, five children including California first lady Maria Shriver, and 19 grandchildren. Her son, Timothy Shriver, now serves as chairman and CEO of the Special Olympics. "She believed that people with intellectual disabilities could – individually and collectively – achieve more than anyone thought possible," he said in a written statement.  "This much she knew with unbridled faith and certainty.   And this faith in turn gave her hope that their future might be radically different." 

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