Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of John F. Kennedy, died Tuesday at the age of 88 in Hyannis, Massachusettes. Shriver was born in Brookline, Massachusettes July 10, 1921 and was the 5th of 9 children. Her siblings include political figures John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Sen. Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy. Shriver continued her family’s legacy by founding the Special Olympics in her own backyard in 1962.
In a statement released Tuesday, Shriver’s family said, “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. 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.”
Born into American royalty, Shriver used her status to be a champion for those in difficult circumstances. She recieved a degree in sociology from Stanford University in 1944. She worked for the Department of Justice as the executive secretary for the National Conference on Prevention and Control of Juvenile Delinquency. Shriver was also a social worker in a West Virginia women’s prison and a Chicago juvenile court. She established the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Center for Community of Caring at the University of Utah.
In 1953 Shriver married World War II veteran Robert Sargent Shriver Jr., and together they had 5 children. Her second child, Maria Shriver, is the wife of California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Eunice and Robert have 19 grandchildren, second only to her late brother Senator Robert F. Kennedy.
Over the years, Shriver received many awards and recongnitions for her social outreach initiatives. She was given the Civitan International World Citizenship Award, the Congressional Medal of Honor, the Theodore Roosevelt Award, and received honorary degrees from several universities.
A source close to the family said that funeral arrangements have yet to be made. Shriver is survived by her husband, daughter, and sons Robert Sargent Shriver III, Timothy Perry Shriver, Mark Kennedy Shriver and Anthony Paul Kennedy Shriver.