August 14th, 2009
12:47 PM ET
5 years ago

Funeral mass to be held for Eunice Shriver

 Shriver, a champion of the disabled who founded the Special Olympics, died Tuesday at age 88.
Shriver, a champion of the disabled who founded the Special Olympics, died Tuesday at age 88.

HYANNIS, Massachusetts (CNN) - Family and close friends of Eunice Kennedy Shriver will attend a Friday morning funeral for the late sister of President John F. Kennedy.

Shriver, a champion of the disabled who founded the Special Olympics, died Tuesday at age 88.

An invitation-only funeral Mass will be held at Saint Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church here, according to a statement from the family's spokesman Stephen Rivers.

Vice President Joe Biden is expected to attend Friday's service.

Before the Mass begins at 10 a.m. ET, Special Olympians will carry the Special Olympics torch into the church, the statement said. They will take part in a procession toward the church, followed by the hearse and the Shriver family who will be walking behind.

The funeral follows a public wake and prayer service on Thursday at Our Lady of Victory Roman Catholic Church in Centerville, Massachusetts.

Details about her private burial will not released until after Shriver is laid to rest.

Born on July 10, 1921, in Brookline, Massachusetts, Shriver was the fifth of nine children of Joseph P. and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. She emerged from the long shadow of siblings John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Sen. Edward Kennedy as the founder of the Special Olympics, which started as a summer day camp in her back yard in 1962.

Today, 3.1 million people with mental disabilities participate in 228 programs in 170 nations, according to the Special Olympics.

"Eunice is now with God in heaven. My sister Jean and I, and our entire family, will miss her with all our hearts," Edward Kennedy, who is battling brain cancer, said on his Web site. "I know that our parents and brothers and sisters who have gone before are filled with joy to have her by their side again."

Her health began to fail in recent years, landing her in the hospital in 2005 after a minor stroke and hip fracture. She was hospitalized again in 2007 for an undisclosed ailment.

She is survived by her husband, R. Sargent Shriver Jr., who ran President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty in the 1960s and was Democrat George McGovern's running mate in the 1972 presidential election.

Other survivors include her daughter, Maria Shriver, California's first lady; and sons Robert Sargent Shriver III, Timothy Perry Shriver, Mark Kennedy Shriver, and Anthony Paul Kennedy Shriver.


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soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Susan

    Eunice Shriver was a true humanitarian, who changed this country for the better. Some people talk about helping the disabled; she made it happen.
    She will be missed, as I see no one following in her footsteps.

    August 14, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  2. DEB

    Maria,
    May god carry you through this difficult time.

    August 14, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  3. makesUwonder

    Rest in peace Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

    August 14, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  4. sunshine

    you have so many beautiful memories of this outstanding lady, be blessed.

    August 14, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  5. S Callahan

    I'm so glad they are making a big deal of her life...she deserves the alcolaes ....see even the rich can have heart...those in poisition or money could learn much from her.

    August 14, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  6. Rani McBride

    Eunice Shriver devoted her life to working on behalf of the disabled and for civil rights of all people. She will be greatly missed!

    I also find it so disturbing that as Sarah Palin is so outspoken on criticizing everything and everyone that does not agree with her point of view, even spreading lies if it benefits her politically, that she has not taken the opportunity to publicly thank Eunice Shriver for her leadership and compassion on this issue. After all she should know what Mrs Shriver's work has meant to children like her son. This just proves that Sarah Palin is a self absorbed individual that only has time for people who agree with her politically. She has no idea of how to be a leader. Heaven help us if she even gets close to being elected in any capacity again.

    August 14, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  7. Tom Paine

    A truly remarkable person who helped countless disadvantaged people and their families live a better life. It is remarkable how the public perception of developmentally disabled citizens has changed for the better, in just the last forty years. I also respect her style. She could have spent her life shopping and prancing around in a ballroom gown but she chose to give to others. And she was not the center of attention, the special olympians were, nor did she christen her movement the Eunice Shriver Special Olympics. Lots of lessons to be learned here, especially when the news is filled with the words and actions of silly, selfish people.

    August 14, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  8. Nancy - Houston

    During my lifetime I've observed a few people of "means" who live their lives for others. I truly believe Eunice Kennedy Shriver was one of those people. Apparently she believed in the scripture "to those who have been given much, much is expected." I know she was a joy to her family and those handicapped folks she cared so much about, and she will be missed.

    August 14, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  9. William, from Cali!!!

    She "stayed the course and fought the good fight" for those that were not as privileged as she , for that I give her great props! May she rest in peace...

    August 14, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  10. LIP

    Born at a time when women were not generally found to be acceptable politicians, Eunice Kennedy Shriver did the best she could and through philanthropic work and eventual founder of Special Olympics, she found her nitch and fame.
    May she rest in peace knowing she did her best in contributing to a worthy cause and bringing so much happiness to those most deserving.
    It seems strange that Sarah Palin could be vilified for meeting those standards that Eunice set for those same unfortunates by accepting responsibility for her child born with disabilities.

    August 14, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  11. Health Care reform pleez

    RIP Eunice, God will say "well done" to you and the tremendous work you've done.

    August 14, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  12. Claudia in Houson

    Gone but never forgotten. May God bless and keep this family safe during their time of grief.

    August 14, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  13. Wake-me-when-it's-over

    I am inspired as I read more about the accomplishments of this Great Lady. We should strive to serve our country and humanity with the same selfless-spirit that she did.

    August 14, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  14. dominican mama 4 Obama

    The Kennedy's are our version of royalty. This family has suffered tremendous tragedies in the public eye. Yet they've never forgotten to be 'men for others through public service'. They have weathered many a crushing storm, and have always held their head high, not dwelled on the hand that life has dealt them, always bearing in mind the great needs of others less fortunate than they.

    May you rest in peace Eunice, my condolences to the family.

    August 14, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  15. Kyle Muncie, Indiana

    Rest in peace

    August 14, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  16. Doug, New Jersey

    A true American hero and great person. The special olympics provides hope, challenges, and fun to a segment of our society that has it bad as it is, adding on to their disability with the hate and mean spirited comments makes it so much worse. Just read the comments from all the Democrats about Palin's son, it is sad that we have such people in our society, there is no way to cure their heart, these liberals don't have one.

    August 14, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  17. rachel

    RIP Eunice.

    August 14, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  18. Aunt Bea and Opie

    Eunice was a great American and should be honored as such.Where are all those wonderful rightwingers that say we should just let them die because its survival of the fittest?How Christian of them.

    August 14, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  19. Ted Tartaglia

    What a grand lady! Eunice Shriver was a positive influence and champion for the disabled for many years. She was a beacon of light in a world filled with darkness. It's too bad there are not many more like her in this land of MEism. If you want a lesson in humanity, you need look no further than the example set forth by this great lady.

    August 14, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  20. Look Forward

    This board should be a place to commemorate the life of a selfless, caring humanitarian who should be an example to all, regardless of political background and beliefs. Please show some respect and intelligence and leave political agendas out of this.

    August 14, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  21. Shari, NY

    RIP! Condolences to her family!

    August 14, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  22. They call me "Tater Salad"

    Farewell and RIP, to a great person who did great things for this world!

    August 14, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  23. Lynda/Minnesota

    There are the "talkers" and there are the "doers" - Ms. Shriver accepted her higher calling with grace, dignity, and determination and in doing so enriched the lifes of so very many for the better.

    She will be truly missed.

    August 14, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  24. Dorothy

    Eunice Kennedy Shriver was a perfect example of a person who although had a life of priviledge and celebrity, put that aside and gave her life to help others. She is my idea of a true hero. She leaves a legacy that will never be forgotten and left the world a better place by her being in it.
    My heart and condolences go out to the entire Kennedy family.

    I read one the following; what we are......is God's gift to us.............what we become.......is our gift to God. What a gift to God she gave.
    Rest in Peace.

    August 14, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  25. Jackie in Dallas

    Susan,

    In the words of her brother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver has "passed the torch to a new generation" but not just Americans, but truly internationally, through her work with the Special Olympics and her other humanitarian causes. These causes will not wither and disappear; she has inspired thousands to follow in her footsteps to help the disadvantaged. Her selfless work, her compassion, and her committment to bring the mentally handicapped out of the dark and into the light of day and life will continue.

    August 14, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
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