Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics, sister of former President John F. Kennedy and wife of Peace Corps founding director Sargent Shriver, passed away early Tuesday morning, August 11 at the age of 88. Eunice Shriver was a life-long advocate for the disabled and disadvantaged. Inspired by her sister, Rosemary Kennedy, Shriver formed the Special Olympics in 1968. Today the Special Olympics includes participants from 160 countries. Shriver enlisted the support of world leaders to ensure that the intellectually disabled live “salvaged lives” worldwide. For her tireless advocacy on behalf of the intellectually disabled, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian award for public service, by President Ronald Reagan in 1984.
She married Robert Sargent Shriver in 1953. Both Sarge and Eunice worked to make the world a better place through peace, understanding and service worldwide. Together they instilled the value of public service in their five children who carry on their legacy. Bobby Shriver co-founded global poverty reduction campaigns through DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa), the ONE Campaign and Product (RED). Maria Shriver, First Lady of California, is honorary chair of California Volunteers and organized a variety of service, cultural and civic initiatives through her WE Program. Tim Shriver is Chairman and CEO of the Special Olympics. Mark Shriver is Vice President and Managing Director of U.S. Programs for Save the Children. Anthony Shriver founded Best Buddies International, a mentoring program for individuals with disabilities.
You can learn more about the life of Eunice Shriver, share your own remembrances about her, and read the remembrances of others at a website that was recently established to honor her legacy, www.EuniceKennedyShriver.org.