August 14th, 2009
12:47 PM ET
11 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. Julie

    A gem of a human heart. We will forever see her mark on our collective. We gratefully received the gift of her presence. Thank you Lord.

    August 14, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  2. MommaM

    What a wonderful legacy and example she has left her family and the nation.

    August 14, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  3. Donnasw

    What a Great Lady, She accomplshed so many extradonary things. for extra ordinary people. May the Lord Bless and keep her famiy.

    August 14, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  4. Heather King - Toronto, Canada

    God Bless the Shriver-Kennedy Family.

    Eunice Shriver is an inspiration to us all. May she rest in peace.

    August 14, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  5. Steve

    Each of us should strive to make even a fraction of the contribution Mrs. Shriver made to the common good.

    August 14, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  6. Dina

    May you rest in peace, Mrs. Eunice Shriver. Well done, good and faithful servant. Your family should be proud!!!

    August 14, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  7. Dan S

    Dang. Eight pallbearers including Arnold. How much did this casket weigh?

    On a serious note, Mrs. Shriver was a wonderful caring woman who touched countless lives. She will be missed.

    August 14, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  8. Beulah

    To the Shiver and the Kennedy,
    She was a true humanitarian, who change the way people think about,
    any one with disability. Mrs Eunice Shriver is welcome in heaven with all the ANGEL cheering her home. Rest in peace!

    August 14, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  9. babs reinard

    People born into wealth have a lot to account for when they die. The kennedys were taught from the time they were small to help unfortunate and disabled people. Even Rose and Joe's grandchildren are educated and are not afraid to help people.What a great Catholic and American family.

    August 14, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  10. John, Brooklyn, New York

    In these days of tweets, sound bites, "staying on message", and viral e-mails....its great to be reminded that there are people out there like Eunice Shriver who are complex, thoughtful, passionate, idealistic, and genuinely good.

    Thank you Eunice Shriver for being an inspiration and a role model for all of us.

    August 14, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  11. Beulah

    To Shriver and the Kennedy,
    Mrs Shriver was a true humanitarian, who change the way people think about any one that had a disability. Mrs Eunice was a trooper,
    the angle in heaven is welcoming her home. May her smile, love joy,
    and warm heart lye's forever reat in peace my dear. You might not be with us on earth but I know that you are telling the FATHER to continue to look out for what you beleave in.

    August 14, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  12. Mark L.

    GOD BLESS YOU ALWAYS and May You Rest in Everlasting, Eternal Heavenly Peace Eunice Kennedy Shriver. You were truly, without a doubt, a remarkably courageous and compassionate woman who's memory shall live on forevermore. My Deepest Condolences go out to Maria Shriver and the rest of the Kennedy Family.

    August 14, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  13. Delegate from California CD 10th

    Dear Eunice,

    Thank you for all that you did for people with intelectual disabilities, because of you there would have not been Special Olympics.

    I was honor to have met you, you were my role model and though me compassion and we all are equal. I worked for Special Olympics Northern California for almost 3.5 years and it was the best job I have had and loved, I am a volunteer now.

    Your legacy will live forever , my thoughs and prayers are with your family, friends and the Special Olympics Community.

    "Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."
    Special Olympics Oath

    In The Spirit of Special Olympics.

    Robert Camacho

    August 14, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  14. nea-nea

    At leastt she contribute towards the less fortunate! Wish there was more people like her.

    August 14, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  15. joe


    August 14, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  16. sensible Cape Coral Fl

    Thjis is the first blog I have ever read about any subject that did not contain even one nasty, negative comment. Eunice Shriver was truly a classy lady. God bless her and her family.

    August 14, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  17. Trade Freedom for Security, Lose Both

    May God bless Mrs. Shriver. We have lost one of the greatest Americans of our time.

    August 14, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  18. VB Lincoln Park NJ

    In his inauguration speech, John Kennedy said, "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."

    Eunice Kennedy Shriver lived that axiom for over forty years.

    We all can take a lesson on how we should live our lives for the short time we have.

    August 14, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  19. Stephanie, Silver Sprg

    May Our LORD strengthen the Shriver family with HIS Loving Grace.

    August 14, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  20. Bedtime for Obonzo

    RIP Eunice. America has a lost a rare pro-life liberal Catholic.

    August 14, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  21. ~~ July ~~ ( Working HARD to make TX Blue )

    RIP ....

    August 14, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  22. Steve (the real one)

    Great humanitarian! We could all learn from her love and care for all humans, regardless of politics, economics, and capacity! What she did in her lifetime was absolutely huge! One person can make an unmeasureable difference when motivated by love!

    August 14, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
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