Jean Kennedy Smith was a former ambassador to Ireland, an author, an activist, and a humanitarian.
President John F. Kennedy's last surviving sibling has passed away. Jean Kennedy Smith, who was the eighth of Joseph P. and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy's nine children, died at her home in Manhattan on Wednesday night, June 17. The cause of her death is currently unknown. She was 92.
Smith, like many of her family members, led an interesting life, though she managed to largely stay out of the public eye. She worked on her older brother John's presidential campaign and was the founder of Very Special Arts (VSA), which provides arts and education programming for youth and adults with disabilities. At President Bill Clinton's appointment, Smith served as the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland from 1993 to 1998, contributing toward peace efforts in Northern Ireland.
Jean Kennedy Smith
Married to New York businessman Stephen Edward Smith from 1956 until his death in 1990, Smith was also the mother of four children—two boys and two girls.
In her book The Nine of Us: Growing Up Kennedy, which was published in 2016, she wrote:
“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. At the time, they were simply my playmates. They were the source of my amusement and the objects of my admiration.”
Smith outlived all of the siblings in her politically famous family. They included Joseph Kennedy Jr. (killed during World War II), Kathleen Kennedy (perished in a 1948 plane crash), President John F. Kennedy (assassinated in 1963), Senator Robert F. Kennedy (killed in 1968), Rosemary Kennedy (died in 2005), Patricia Kennedy (died in 2006), Eunice Kennedy Shriver (died in August 2009), and Senator Edward Kennedy (died in August 2009).
The Kennedy Family
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times in 1995, Smith was asked how she wanted to be remembered:
“What did Lincoln say to that question? ‘I have planted a rose where only thistles grew.’ Isn’t that good? Let’s see: that I helped the peace process.”
Jean Kennedy Smith
May she rest in peace.