Jean Kennedy Smith, last sibling of JFK, dies


Smith, who married Kennedy household monetary adviser and future White House chief of employees Stephen Edward Smith in 1956, was considered for a lot of her life as a quiet sister who shunned the highlight. In her memoir “The Nine of Us,” revealed in 2016, she wrote that for a lot of the time her childhood appeared “unexceptional.”

“It is hard for me to fully comprehend that I was growing up with brothers who eventually occupy the highest offices of our nation, including president of the United States,” she defined. “At the time, they were simply my playmates. They were the source of my amusement and the objects of my admiration.”

Though she by no means ran for workplace, she campaigned for her brothers, touring the nation for then-Sen. John F. Kennedy as he sought the presidency in 1960. In 1963, she stepped in for a touring Jacqueline Kennedy and co-hosted a state dinner for Ireland’s president. The identical 12 months, she accompanied her brother — the primary Irish Catholic president — on his well-known go to to Ireland. Their great-grandfather, Patrick Kennedy, was from Dunganstown in County Wexford in southeastern Ireland.

Three a long time later, she was appointed ambassador to Ireland by President Bill Clinton, who referred to as her “as Irish as an American can be.”

During her affirmation listening to, she recalled the journey along with her brother, describing it as “one of the most moving experiences of my own life.”

As ambassador, she performed a task within the Northern Ireland peace course of. She helped persuade Clinton to grant a controversial visa in 1994 to Gerry Adams, chief of the Irish Republican Army-linked Sinn Fein celebration. The transfer defied the British authorities, which branded Adams as a terrorist.

Patrick Kennedy highlighted her function within the Irish peace course of because the crux of her “monumental legacy.”

“She knew it was crucial to bring everybody in in order for there to be lasting peace,” Patrick Kennedy informed the AP. “She took an enormous risk to her own reputation and stature as an ambassador.”

She later referred to as criticism of her actions towards the IRA “unfortunate” and stated she thought historical past would credit score the Clinton administration with serving to the peace course of in Northern Ireland.

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern stated in 1998 that “it is not an understatement to say that if (the visa for Adams) didn’t happen at the time, perhaps other events may not have fallen into place.”

In 1996, although, Smith had been reprimanded by Secretary of State Warren Christopher for punishing two of her officers who objected to the visa for Adams.

In December 1998, Smith once more risked controversy by taking communion in a Protestant cathedral in Dublin, going in opposition to the bishops of her Roman Catholic church.

Her determination was a robust private gesture of assist for Irish President Mary McAleese, a fellow Catholic who had been criticized by Irish bishops for becoming a member of within the Protestant communion service.

“Religion, after all, is about bringing people together,” Smith informed The Irish Times. “We all have our own way of going to God.”

Patrick Kennedy, recalled his aunt’s recognition, accessibility and fixed journey round Ireland when he visited there with a delegation of Irish Americans from his state of Rhode Island. The publish, he stated, allowed her to faucet into her political aspect.

“It was like, all of the hidden, or pent-up need to be a politician, which, of course ran by way of her as with each one of her siblings, she acquired to stay that out,” he stated.

When she stepped down as ambassador in 1998, she acquired Irish citizenship for “distinguished service to the nation.”

Diplomacy, together with politics, additionally ran within the Kennedy household. Her father was ambassador to the United Kingdom from 1938 to 1940. Niece Caroline Kennedy served as ambassador to Japan in the course of the Obama administration.

“We’re the first father-daughter ambassadors,” Smith informed The Irish Times in 1997. “So I can’t remember a time when we were not an actively political family.”

In 1974, Smith based Very Special Arts, an training program that helps artists with bodily or psychological disabilities. Her 1993 e-book with George Plimpton, “Chronicles of Courage: Very Special Artists,” options interviews with disabled artists. The program adopted within the footsteps of her sister Eunice’s creation of the Special Olympics for disabled athletes.

Smith and her husband had 4 kids, Stephen Jr., William, Amanda and Kym. Her husband died in 1990.

Her son, Dr. William Kennedy Smith, made headlines in 1991, when he was charged with rape on the Kennedy property in Palm Beach, Florida. He was acquitted after a extremely publicized trial that included testimony from his uncle, Sen. Edward Kennedy, who had roused his nephew and son to go to some nightclubs that Easter weekend.

Among Smith’s different siblings, Rosemary died in 2005; and Patricia in 2006.

“Certainly a distinct characteristic of our family was its size,” Smith wrote in her memoir. “A child in a big family constantly feels surrounded and supported. For me, there was always someone to play with or someone to talk to just around the corner, out on the porch, or in the next bedroom. I never felt alone.”


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