Eunice Kennedy Shriver Remembered

August 11, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The sister of President John F. Kennedy and the mother-in-law of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is being remembered this as a woman who touched many lives and a champion for the disabled.Eunice Kennedy Shriver died Tuesday morning at the age of 88.

Three of her brothers ran for president but, it was Eunice Kennedy Shriver's mentally challenged sister Rosemary who inspired her. "She taught us all that adversity meant almost nothing, and that it could always be fun, for all of us to be together," said Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

A nephew once described Kennedy Shriver as the most impressive figure in the family. But she realized early on, she didn't have to serve as president in order to carry on the family's public service tradition.

She founded the Special Olympics in 1968. "You special Olympians have thrilled us from the playing fields of the world. You have taught us that what is the courageous spirit and the generous heart," said Shriver.

A courageous spirit and a generous heart is how Shriver is being remembered. The 88-year-old's work is now her legacy. She had suffered a series of strokes in recent years and died at Cape Cod hospital early Tuesday morning.

Her daughter Maria Shriver said, "My mother has been a key leader in the field of intellectual disabilities, I think she's done more than any single human being alive."

Her sole surviving brother, Senator Edward Kennedy, is battling brain cancer that was diagnosed last year.

Her husband, her five children and all 19 of her grandchildren were by her side according to a family statement. It went on to say she "Taught us by example and with passion what it means to live a faith-driven life of love and service to others."

Senator Kennedy said his earliest memory of his sister was as a young girl "With great humor, sharp wit, and a boundless passion to make a difference."

Governor Schwarzengger released a statement Tuesday morning about his mother in law's death. It said in part, "Eunice was the devoted mother of five children, including my dear wife, Maria. My mother-in-law changed my life by raising such a fantastic daughter. I will miss her every day, but I know her spirit endures through her amazing children and grandchildren, and through the many lives she changed."

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