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Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy

Rose holding Joe Jr, circa 1918
Born July 22, 1890
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died January 22, 1995 (aged 104)
Hyannis, Massachusetts, U.S.
Other names Mrs. Joseph Patrick Kennedy
Countess Rose Kennedy
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Joseph P. Kennedy
Children Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.
John F. Kennedy
Rosemary Kennedy
Kathleen Kennedy
Eunice Kennedy Shriver
Patricia Kennedy
Robert F. Kennedy
Jean Kennedy
Ted Kennedy
Parents John F. Fitzgerald
Mary Josephine Hannon
Signature

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy (July 22, 1890January 22, 1995) was the wife of Joseph Kennedy and the mother of President John F. Kennedy as well as eight other children.

Contents

Birth

Born Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald in the North End neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, she was the eldest child of John F. "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald and his wife, as well as second cousin[1], Mary Josephine Hannon. "Honey Fitz" was a prominent figure in Boston politics and served one term as a member of United States Congress and two terms as the Mayor of Boston.

As a young child, Rose lived in an Italianate/Mansard-style home in the Ashmont Hill section of Dorchester, Massachusetts and attended the local Girl's Latin School. The home later burned down, but a plaque at Welles Avenue and Harley Street proclaims "Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Square". The plaque was dedicated by her son, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, on Rose's 102nd birthday in 1992.

Rose studied at the convent school Kasteel Bloemendal in Vaals, The Netherlands, and graduated from Dorchester High School in 1906. She also attended the New England Conservatory in Boston where she studied piano.[2] After being refused permission by her father to attend Wellesley College, Rose enrolled at the Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart (as it was known at that time). In 1908, Rose and her father embarked on a tour of Europe. She and "Honey Fitz" had a private audience with Pope Pius X at the Vatican.

Marriage and children

On October 7, 1914, she married Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. after a courtship of more than seven years. They first lived in a home in Brookline that is now the John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site. Rose and Joseph had the following nine children:

Name Birth Death Brief Biography Marriage Cause of death
Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Jr. July 25, 1915 August 12, 1944 United States Navy aviator Naval airplane crash on August 12, 1944 over the English Channel
John Fitzgerald Kennedy May 29, 1917 November 22, 1963 United States Representative (1947–1953)
United States Senator (1953–1960)
President of the United States (1961–1963)
September 12, 1953 to Jacqueline Lee Bouvier. Assassinated on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas.
Rosemary Kennedy September 13, 1918 January 7, 2005 Underwent a lobotomy in 1941 which left her incapacitated; she was institutionalized from 1949 until her death. Natural causes
Kathleen Agnes Kennedy February 20, 1920 May 13, 1948 Marchioness of Hartington Married on May 6, 1944 to William Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington. Airplane crash over Saint-Bauzile, Ardèche, France.
Eunice Mary Kennedy July 10, 1921 August 11, 2009 International advocate for the developmentally disabled. Founded the Special Olympics. Married on May 23, 1953 to Robert Sargent Shriver. Natural causes
Patricia Kennedy May 6, 1924 September 17, 2006 Married on April 24, 1954 to British actor Peter Lawford; divorced in 1966. Complications from pneumonia
Robert Francis Kennedy November 20, 1925 June 6, 1968 United States Attorney General (1961–1964), United States Senator (1965–1968) Married on June 17, 1950 to Ethel Skakel. Assassinated in 1968 in Los Angeles, California by Sirhan Sirhan.
Jean Ann Kennedy February 20, 1928 United States Ambassador to Ireland (1993–1998) Married on May 19, 1956 to Stephen Edward Smith.
Edward Moore Kennedy February 22, 1932 August 25, 2009 United States Senator (1962–2009) Married on November 29, 1958 to Joan Bennett; divorced on December 6, 1982. Remarried in 1992 to Victoria Reggie. Brain cancer

Rose was predeceased by her husband, Joseph, in 1969, and four of her nine children: Joseph Jr. in 1944, Kathleen in 1948, John F. in 1963 and Robert in 1968. Just eight months after John F. was assassinated, Rose's mother, Mary, died at the age of 98.

Her husband Joseph provided well for Rose and their family, but was not a faithful husband. While eight months pregnant with their fourth child, Rose had had enough. She walked out on him and went back to her parents. When she got home her father clearly reminded her that she was Catholic and that they didn't believe in divorce, so she was just going to have to live with her choice of Joseph P. Kennedy for a husband. She went back to him, and presented a stoic outlook to one and all, in spite of Joe's dalliances, one of which involved film star Gloria Swanson, and was obvious to one and all. Swanson once said, "that Rose must be a saint, a fool, or just a better actress than me."

Rose Kennedy's strict Roman Catholic religion often placed her at odds with her children, most notably daughter Kathleen. She refused to attended Kathleen's wedding to William John Robert Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington, an Anglican and the eldest son and heir of the 10th Duke of Devonshire on May 6, 1944. Normal relations eventually resumed, particularly given the deaths of both Cavendish and Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., during WWII. When Kathleen herself died in a plane crash in 1948 (in which her new fiance, Lord Peter Fitzwilliam, a divorced Anglican, was also killed), only her father attended her funeral and burial at the Devonshire family seat, as he had already been in Europe planning to meet Kathleen and her new beau.

Rosemary Kennedy died on January 7, 2005 at the age of 86, Patricia Kennedy Lawford died on September 17, 2006 at the age of 82, Eunice Kennedy Shriver died on August 11, 2009, aged 88, and Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy died on August 25, 2009, aged 77. As of October 2009, only one child is still living, 81-year old Jean Kennedy Smith.

Death

In 1984, at the age of 94, Rose suffered a severe stroke and had to use a wheelchair for the rest of her life.

She maintained her residence at the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts and was cared for by private nurses and staff. On January 22, 1995, Rose died from complications from pneumonia at the age of 104, outliving four of her nine children, and one grandson, David Anthony Kennedy. She continues to be the longest-lived presidential relative in history.[citation needed] Her father died in 1950 at age 87 and her mother died in 1964 at age 98.

Legacy

Well-known for her philanthropic efforts and for leading the Grandparents' Parade at age 90 at the Special Olympics, Rose's life and work are documented in the Oscar-nominated short documentary Rose Kennedy: A Life to Remember.

Rose is also one of several women from the United States to have the noble papal title countess bestowed upon her in 1951 by Pope Pius XII in recognition of her "exemplary motherhood and many charitable works."

Miscellaneous

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Ida Elizabeth Stover
Mother of the President of the United States
January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963
Succeeded by
Rebekah Baines Johnson

References

  1. ^ Goodwin, Doris Kearns (2001). The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys: An American Saga. Simon and Schuster. pp.88-89.
  2. ^ http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0920652.html

External links

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