John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK), the 35th President of the United States, was the second oldest child in his family. He had eight siblings: three brothers and five sisters. He was born on May 29, 1917 and lived until November 22, 1963.
JFK's Brothers and Sisters
Joseph and Rose Kennedy were married in 1914 and had nine children. JFK was the couple's second child after Joseph. The following are a list of JFK's siblings ranging in age from oldest to youngest.
- Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Jr. was born on July 25, 1915. Joe was a Lieutenant in the United States Navy. From an early age, his father planned for him to become president. Joe had planned to run for Massachusetts's 11th congressional district in 1946, but in 1941 he left Harvard Law School before his last year and joined the Navy. He was killed on August 12, 1944 during a World War II mission when his bomber was blown up over the English Channel.
- Rose Marie Kennedy was born on September 13, 1918. As a child, Rosemary displayed some behavioral difficulties as well as some developmental delays. At the age of 23, her father had a lobotomy performed on her that failed and resulted in diminished mental capacity. Rosemary was then institutionalized in Jefferson, Wisconsin in an institution called “St. Coletta School for Exceptional Children.” She died at age 86 on January 7, 2005 of natural causes.
- Kathleen Agnes Kennedy was born on February 20, 1920. She had many close friends in London, England and was named debutante of 1938 when her father was made the US Ambassador to the United Kingdom. Kathleen worked with the Red Cross in both New York and London. She married Lord Hartington and was given the title Marchioness of Hartington. Her husband was called up for duty and killed in Belgium in 1944, just four months after they married. Kathleen laer had a relationship with the 8th Earl Fitzwilliam who was still married. They died together while flying to the South of France in a plane crash on May 13, 1948.
- Eunice Mary Kennedy, the fifth-born Kennedy child, was born on July 10, 1921. As she was close to her sister Rosemary, Eunice became an advocate for children's health and disability issues. She married Robert Sargent Shriver Jr. on May 23, 1953. Together the couple had five children, one being well-known TV journalist Maria Shriver. Eunice founded Camp Shriver in 1962 for people with intellectual disabilities, which grew and later became the Special Olympics in 1968. She died of a stroke at age 88 on August 11, 2005.
- Patricia Kennedy was born on May 6, 1924. Pat had dreams of being a film producer and had a strong interest in Hollywood and travel. She married English actor Peter Lawford on April 24, 1954. Together the couple had four children, but divorced in 1966.
After the divorce, Pat battled alcoholism as well as tongue cancer. Pat was involved with the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum and the National Center on Addiction. She founded the National Committee for the Literary Arts. She died on September 17, 2006 from pneumonia.
- Robert Francis Kennedy was born on November 20, 1925. He joined the United States Navy and was an apprentice seaman. Bobby attended Harvard College and graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1951. He worked as a lawyer for the United States Department of Justice. Bobby married Ethel Skakel on June 17, 1950. The couple had 11 children. He was appointed the 64th United States Attorney General, by his brother John when he was president, and served from 1961 to 1964. He was the Senator for New York and went on to campaign for the presidential election in 1968. He was assassinated in Los Angeles by Sirhan Sirhan on June 6, 1968.
- Jean Ann Kennedy was born on February 20, 1928. She is the longest living of the Kennedy children. Jean is an American diplomat and was the former ambassador to Ireland. On May 19, 1956, she married Stephen Edward Smith. They had four children. Jean founded Very Special Arts, a non-profit that is dedicated to creating a society where disabled people can engage in the arts. Jean was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011 by President Obama for her work with her nonprofit.
- Edward Moore Kennedy was born on February 22, 1932. During his time at Harvard, Ted was caught cheating and expelled but later reinstated. He went on to join the Army and served two years. He was not accepted into Harvard Law so attended the University of Virginia School of Law. He married Virginia Joan Bennet in 1958 and had three children. Ted became Senator of Massachusetts in 1962. He was injured in a plane crash in 1964 and was involved in a car crash in 1969 that killed his passenger Mary Jo Kopachne, his campaign aid. Ted ran for President in 1980 but lost. He and Virginia divorced in 1984 and he went on to marry Victoria Reggie in 1992. Ted was the fourth longest-serving continuously-serving Senator in United States history. He was also the second-most senior Senate member. Ted died from brain cancer on August 25, 2009.
The Kennedy Legacy
The Kennedy clan made a huge impact on the history of the United States. The family was prominent not only in politics, but also in business and in public service, and future Kennedy generations have carried on that tradition. Each of John F Kennedy's siblings were as unique and notable as the most famous Kennedy of all.