Jean Kennedy Smith, the last surviving sibling of President John F. Kennedy and a former ambassador to Ireland, died Wednesday, her daughter confirmed to The New York Times. She was 92.
Smith died at her dwelling in Manhattan, her daughter Kym advised the Times.
Smith was the eighth of 9 kids born to Joseph P. and Rose Kennedy, and she or he tragically outlived a number of of them by a long time. Her siblings included older brother Joseph Kennedy Jr., killed in motion throughout the Second World War; Kathleen Kennedy, who died in a 1948 aircraft crash; the president, assassinated in 1963; and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, slain in 1968.
Sen. Edward Kennedy, the youngest of the Kennedy siblings, died of mind most cancers in August 2009, the identical month their sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver died.
Smith, who married Kennedy household monetary adviser and future White House chief of workers Stephen Edward Smith in 1956, was considered for a lot of her life as a quiet sister who shunned the highlight. In her memoir The Nine of Us, printed in 2016, she wrote that for a lot of the time her childhood appeared “unexceptional.”
“It is difficult for me to completely comprehend that I used to be rising up with brothers who ultimately occupy the best places of work of our nation, together with president of the United States,” she defined. “At the time, they have been merely my playmates. They have been the supply of my amusement and the objects of my admiration.”
Though she by no means ran for workplace, she campaigned for her brothers, travelling the nation for then-Sen. John F. Kennedy as he sought the presidency in 1960. In 1963, she stepped in for a travelling Jacqueline Kennedy and co-hosted a state dinner for Ireland’s president. The similar yr, she accompanied her brother — the primary Irish Catholic president — on his well-known go to to Ireland. Their great-grandfather, Patrick Kennedy, was from Dunganstown in County Wexford in southeastern Ireland.
Appointed to Irish put up by Clinton
Three a long time later, she was appointed ambassador to Ireland by President Bill Clinton, who known as her “as Irish as an American might be.”
During her affirmation listening to, she recalled the journey with her brother, describing it as “one of probably the most transferring experiences of my very own life.”
As ambassador, she performed a job within the Northern Ireland peace course of. She helped persuade Clinton to grant a controversial visa in 1994 to Gerry Adams, chief of the Irish Republican Army-linked Sinn Fein get together. The transfer defied the British authorities, which branded Adams as a terrorist.
She later known as criticism of her actions towards the IRA “unlucky,” and stated she thought historical past would credit score the Clinton administration with serving to the peace course of in Northern Ireland.
Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern stated in 1998 that. “It is just not an understatement to say that if [the visa for Adams] did not occur at the time, maybe different occasions could not have fallen into place.”
In 1996, although, Smith had been reprimanded by Secretary of State Warren Christopher for punishing two of her officers who objected to the visa for Adams.
In December 1998, Smith once more risked controversy by taking communion in a Protestant cathedral in Dublin, going towards the bishops of her Roman Catholic church.
Statement from U.S. Embassy Dublin on the passing of former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, Jean Kennedy Smith. <a href=”https://t.co/XNhtqj1L7s”>pic.twitter.com/XNhtqj1L7s</a>
Her resolution was a powerful private gesture of help for Irish President Mary McAleese, a fellow Catholic who had been criticized by Irish bishops for becoming a member of within the Protestant communion service.
“Religion, in spite of everything, is about bringing folks collectively,” Smith advised The Irish Times. “We all have our personal method of going to God.”
When she stepped down as ambassador in 1998, she obtained Irish citizenship for “distinguished service to the nation.”
In 2011, President Barack Obama honoured her with the Medal of Freedom.
Diplomacy, together with politics, additionally ran within the Kennedy household. Her father was ambassador to the United Kingdom from 1938 to 1940. Niece Caroline Kennedy served as ambassador to Japan throughout the Obama administration.
“We’re the primary father-daughter ambassadors,” Smith advised The Irish Times in 1997. “So I am unable to bear in mind a time once we weren’t an actively political household.”
In 1974, Smith based Very Special Arts, an schooling program that helps artists with bodily or psychological disabilities. Her 1993 guide with George Plimpton, Chronicles of Courage: Very Special Artists, options interviews with artists with disabilities. The program adopted within the footsteps of her sister Eunice’s creation of the Special Olympics for athletes with disabilities.
Son acquitted in sensational trial
Smith and her husband had 4 kids: Stephen Jr., William, Amanda and Kym. Her husband died in 1990.
Her son, Dr. William Kennedy Smith, made headlines in 1991, when he was charged with rape at the Kennedy property in Palm Beach, Florida. He was acquitted after a extremely publicized trial that included testimony from his uncle, Sen. Edward Kennedy, who had roused his nephew and son to go to some nightclubs that Easter weekend.
Among Kennedy Smith’s different siblings, Rosemary died in 2005; and Patricia in 2006.
“Certainly a definite attribute of our household was its dimension,” Smith wrote in her memoir. “A baby in an enormous household always feels surrounded and supported. For me, there was all the time somebody to play with or somebody to speak to simply across the nook, out on the porch, or within the subsequent bed room. I by no means felt alone.”