Eunice (Kennedy) Shriver

Eunice Mary (Kennedy) Shriver (1921 - 2009)

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Eunice Mary Shriver formerly Kennedy
Born in Brookline, Massachusetts, United States of Americamap
Ancestors ancestors
Wife of [private husband (1910s - 2010s)]
Descendants descendants
Mother of [private son (1950s - unknown)], [private daughter (1950s - unknown)] and [private son (1950s - unknown)]
Died in Hyannis, Massachusetts, USAmap
Profile last modified | Created 27 Mar 2011 | Last significant change: 13 Dec 2018
06:33: Vicki Norman added US Presidents Project WikiTree as manager for profile of Eunice Mary (Kennedy) Shriver (1921-2009). [Thank Vicki for this]
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Categories: Siblings of US Presidents | Presidential Medal of Freedom.



Eunice Mary Kennedy was born on July 10, 1921 in Brookline, Massachusetts, the fifth of nine children of Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald Kenedy[1]

She dedicated her life to helping the disabled. Her source of inspiration was her sister Rosemary Kennedy who was developmentally disabled and institutionalized most of her life.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver died on August 11, 2009. Her husband, Sargent Shriver, died January 18, 2011. They are survived by their five children: Robert Sargent Shriver III, Maria Owings Shriver Schwarzenegger, Timothy Perry Shriver, Mark Kennedy Shriver and Anthony Paul Kennedy Shriver.[2]

Her life is characterized by this quote from her:

"I think that really the only way you change people's attitudes or behavior is to work with them," she told an interviewer. "Not write papers or serve on committees. Who's going to work with the child to change him -- with the juvenile delinquent and the retarded? Who's going to teach them to swim? To catch a ball? You have to work with the person. It's quite simple, actually."


Eunice Mary Kennedy received a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

Honorary Degrees

Her honorary degrees included: Yale University, the College of the Holy Cross, Princeton University, Regis College, Manhattanville College, Newton College, Brescia College, Central Michigan University, Loyola College, University of Vermont, Albertus Magnus College, Cardinal Strich University, Georgetown University and Marymount University.


On May 23, 1953, she and R. Sargent Shriver were married at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York. The bride’s father gave her away and the marriage ceremony was performed by Francis Cardinal .

Their wedding reception was held at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, May 23, 1953. The couple's wedding and reception was one of the highlights of the New York social season.[3]

They settled in Chicago, where her husband was manager of the Merchandise Mart, a Kennedy interest.


Following graduation, she worked for the U.S. State Department in the Special War Problems Division. In 1950, she became a social worker at the Penitentiary for Women in Alderson, West Virginia, and the following year she moved to Chicago to work with the House of the Good Shepherd and the Chicago Juvenile Court. In 1957, Shriver took over the direction of the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation.

The Foundation, established in 1946 as a memorial to Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.--the family's eldest son, who was killed in World War II--has two major objectives: to seek the prevention of intellectual disabilities by identifying its causes, and to improve the means by which society deals with citizens who have intellectual disabilities.

Under Shriver's leadership, the Foundation has helped achieve many significant advances, including the establishment by President Kennedy of The President's Committee on Mental Retardation in 1961, development of the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development in 1962, the establishment of a network of university-affiliated facilities and mental retardation research centers at major medical schools across the United States in 1967, the establishment of Special Olympics in 1968, the creation of major centers for the study of medical ethics at Harvard and Georgetown Universities in 1971, the creation of the "Community of Caring" concept for the reduction of intellectual disabilities among babies of teenagers in 1981, the institution of 16 "Community of Caring" Model Centers in 1982, and the establishment of "Community of Caring" programs in 1200 public and private schools from 1990-2006.

In 1950, she became a social worker at the federal penitentiary for women in Alderson, W.Va. In 1951, she moved to Chicago and worked at the House of the Good Shepherd, a youth shelter, and with the city's juvenile court system.[4]

Special Olympics

She was the founder and honorary chairperson of Special Olympics and executive vice president of the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation, Eunice Kennedy Shriver was a leader in the worldwide struggle to improve and enhance the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities for more than five decades.

Shriver organized the Special Olympics in 1968. The first competition, a two-day affair at Soldier Field in Chicago, attracted 1,000 contestants from 26 states and Canada. Although a number of famous athletes heeded her request to attend, the spectator turnout was minuscule, and most of the media declined to cover it.

The Special Olympics has become the world's largest year-round sports program for mentally disabled children and adults. More than 2.5 million athletes in 180 countries take part in competitions each year. Contestants work through local and regional meets toward the World Special Olympics, held every two years


Recognized throughout the world for her efforts on behalf of persons with intellectual disabilities, Shriver received many honors and awards, including: the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Legion of Honor, the Priz de la Couronne Francaise, the Mary Lasker Award, the Philip Murray-William Green Award (presented to Eunice and Sargent Shriver by the AFL-CIO), the AAMD Humanitarian Award, the NRPAS National Volunteer Service Award, the Laetare Medal of the University of Notre Dame, the Order of the Smile of Polish Children, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Freedom from Want Award, The National Women's Hall of Fame, the Laureus Sports Award, the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Theodore Roosevelt Award, and the International Olympic Committee Award.

24 March 1984: US Presidential Medal of Freedom: She was awarded the nation's highest civilian award, the (U.S.) Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 1984 by U.S. President Ronald Reagan, because of her work on behalf of those with intellectual disability.[5]
1992: Award for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged,
 ?  : Civitan International World Citizenship Award[6]
1990: Eagle Award from the United States Sports Academy. The Eagle Award is the Academy's highest international honor and was awarded to Shriver for her significant contributions to international sport.[7]
.2002: Theodore Roosevelt Award Award given to collegiate athletes who become
2005: Medallion on The Extra Mile Point of Light Pathway in Washington D.C. She was honored for her work with Special Olympics as one of the first recipients of this award.
2006: Received a papal knighthood from Pope Benedict XVI, being made a Dame of the Order of St. Gregory the Great (DSG).
December 2008: Sportsman of the Year Legacy Award. The first recipient of the Sports Illustrated Award.

Death and Burial

Eunice Kennedy Shriver, 88, a member of a political dynasty who devoted her life to improving the welfare of mentally disabled people and founded the Special Olympics to showcase their abilities, died Tuesday, August 11, 2009, at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, Mass. She had had strokes during the past year, a family spokesman said.[8]

In addition to her husband, Sargen Shriver, of Hyannis Port, Mass., survivors include the couple's five children, Maria Shriver, a former NBC television journalist and the wife of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R); R. Sargent "Bobby" Shriver III, a lawyer who co-founded an anti-poverty group, DATA (Debt AIDS Trade Africa) with U2 lead singer Bono; Mark K. Shriver, a former member of the Maryland House of Delegates and an official with Save the Children; Timothy P. Shriver, chairman of the Special Olympics board; and Anthony K. Shriver, founder of Best Buddies International, a program that encourages students to work with mentally disabled children.

On August 14, 2009, an invitation-only Requiem Mass was celebrated for Shriver at St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church in Hyannis. Following the Requiem Mass, she was buried at the St. Francis Xavier parish cemetery in nearby Centerville.[9] Pope Benedict XVI sent a letter of condolence to her family


Cemetery: Saint Francis Xavier Cemetery

Place: Centerville, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, USA

FindAGrave: Eunice Kennedy Shriver: Memorial ID:480538920



  1. Entered by Gilly Wood, Sunday, September 8, 2013.
  3. Wood TV Weedings Through Time: Eunice Kennedy & Robert Shriver
  4. Washington Post [ Eunice Kennedy Shriver
  5. "Remarks at the Presentation Ceremony for the Presidential Medal of Freedom", Archives – Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. March 26, 1984. Accessed May 28, 2008.
  6. Armbrester, Margaret E. (1992). The Civitan Story. Birmingham, AL: Ebsco Media. p. 95
  7. "News 21/01/08 - FISU President Receives USSA Award". 2008-01-21. Retrieved 2011-05-26.
  8. J.Y. Smith. Special to The Washington Post. Wednesday, August 12, 2009
  9. Staff writer (August 14, 2009). "Special Olympians, Family Celebrate Eunice Kennedy Shriver". The Associated Press (at WJAR television's website

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Eunice Mary Kennedy Shriver

Robert sargent Shriver and Eunice Mary Kennedy
Robert sargent Shriver and Eunice Mary Kennedy

The Kennedy Children
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On 13 Dec 2018 at 01:38 GMT Robin Lee wrote:

Project Accounts act as the Profile Managers for protected profiles. Either the PPP needs to be removed, or a project added as the manager.

On 15 Nov 2014 at 03:55 GMT Doug Lockwood wrote:

Eunice (Kennedy) Shriver is notable.
Join: Notables Project
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On 3 Nov 2013 at 16:29 GMT Maggie N. wrote:

Can you please put me on the trusted list for all your Kennedy ones. We would like to clean up President John's family in time for his memorial on November 22 2013 !

Thanks for the help ! Maggie US Presidents Project

On 3 Nov 2013 at 16:01 GMT Maggie N. wrote:

Hi ~ Can you add me the the trusted list ?


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On 11 Oct 2013 at 15:20 GMT Michelle (Gerard) Hartley wrote:

Pending merge

Eunice is 28 degrees from Rosa Parks, 19 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 11 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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