Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Eunice Kennedy Shriver, 88
by Dick Mac
Born Eunice Mary Kennedy, in Brookline, Massachusetts, on July 10, 1921, Eunice Shriver lived a life of community service and activism that few Americans, rich or poor, young or old, would ever consider.
The consummate middle-child, Shriver was the fifth of nine children and over-achieved at every opportunity.
She founded the Special Olympics in 1968, after years of hosting a summer camp for mentally retarded children and adults at her home in Maryland. Forty years later, the Special Olympics continues to provide advocacy, education, training, and activities for the mentally retarded.
She was active in the political campaigns of all her brothers, including the successful 1960 campaign of her older brother, John, for the Presidency.
Shriver was a founder of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) in 1962.
Her husband, Sargent Shriver, was a member of JFK's administration, including a stint as Ambassador to France, and is credited with formation of the Peace Corps, and was a vice-presidential candidate on the 1972 ticket.
Although a long-time opponent of abortion, Eunice Shriver maintained her connection to the Democratic Party, continued to endorse candidates who did not share her position on the issue, and was present when her brother, Ted Kennedy, endorsed Barack Obama prior to his successful run for the Presidency.
Her legacy of activism and involvement continues with her children:
Bobby, co-founder of DATA (Debt AIDS Trade Africa), Product (RED), and the ONE Campaign.
Maria, the current First Lady of California, is a former broadcast journalist and television personality.
Timothy, a Connecticut school teacher, and advocate for the mentally retarded.
Mark, a two-term member of the Maryland House of Delegates, and vice-president of Save The Children.
Anthony, a founder of the Best Buddies program.
As a member of one of America's most active, public, tragic, and wealthiest families, Eunice Shriver maintained a dignity and purpose that serves as an example for all of us.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Center for Community of Caring